A couple #bestsongallweek‘s ago, I shared a few of my favorite Beatles tunes with you guys. It was the week after their Grammy special aired, and I couldn’t get their music out of my head. From the early pop hits to the later experimental sounds, it all whirled round and round on the turntable in my head to create a beautiful soundtrack for the week.
So a few weeks later when Jennifer from vegas.com reached out about a Beatles Tribute project she’s working on in celebration of the band’s first show in the illustrious Las Vegas (seeing a band I love in Vegas is totally on my musical bucket list) and asked me to share my favorite Beatles memory, I was excited to revisit one of the songs I mentioned more in-depth.
As a Beach Boys devotee since age 8, I’ve always been very aware of the importance of The Beatles in music history. These two bands are so intertwined in how their music influenced the other that you can’t be a fan of one without having, at the very least, appreciation for the other.
And I always did have that appreciation for The Beatles. I knew all the words to their songs played by the oldies station I listened to growing up. In high school I could casually converse with the classmate who was a Beatles die-hard. (Band T-shirts for every day of the week, Yellow Submarine lunch box, the works. People thought she was strange, but I found her – and her love for a band no longer together – fascinating.) Even after spending a month on The Beatles in my college “History of Rock ‘n’ Roll” class, I managed to maintain that general love and appreciation for their music – no more, no less.
It wasn’t until I made an emotional connection with two of their songs that I was won over as a true fan instead of just a casual listener. (A connection that, according to Psychology of Music, makes all the difference…)
It was late September 2004 in Tulsa, Okla. I’d just moved to a new city and state where I knew no one to attend college after spending two miserable years at a state school in Texas. College always felt like it should be this big adventure where you go somewhere you’ve never been and use those unfamiliar surroundings to figure out who you really are.
Instead, I’d opted for a school just 2.5 hours from home that resulted in me usually being home on weekends and befriending people who had zero business being in my life at a time when I needed to explore and discover.
In more ways than I realized at the time, moving to Tulsa for school was my way to break free and get that quintessential “finding yourself” adventure I so desperately craved.
So it was late September. The weather was cool and sunny – perfect for sitting on the front steps of the school library with a birds-eye view of downtown Tulsa. I had time between lunch and my afternoon classes, so I found a spot, plugged in my iPod and queued up my self-made “One Winter” playlist taken from “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” as I opened one of my literature books and began reading to get a jump on homework.
And then “Dear Prudence” came on. I didn’t really pay attention to it at first, but as John Lennon told me that “the sun is up, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful and so are you…” the lyrics caught my ear and everything changed. EVERYTHING. I looked up, looked around at the beautiful day, gazed off at downtown Tulsa in the distance…and that was the exact moment when I realized I’d done it.
Here I was in a strange city and state, at a school where I knew no one, sitting on some library steps realizing that this was the beginning of my adventure of finding myself, and there was no turning back. What I experienced, learned and discovered from that point forward was going to help me figure out who I wanted to be in this world, what I wanted to do with my life and how I was going to do it.
And The Beatles are the band that made me realize everything was right there in front of me (and really, it always had been) – all I needed to do was open my eyes, see the sunny skies and let myself become a part of everything.
Before the song had even ended properly, I hit the back button to start it again. I probably sat there for 15 minutes straight listening to “Dear Prudence” over and over again until I realized I was going to be late for class.
I squeezed in one more listen as I walked to class, grateful for music like this: the kind that plays at just the right moment, that changes your perspective, that knows all the right things to say directly to you even though it was written by a guy you’ll never meet 16 years before you were even born. It’s music and moments like that which make me grateful to be the kind of fan who lets it be more than chords and melodies and words. It’s magic.
And that’s how I fell in love with The Beatles.
What’s your favorite Beatles memory?
I’d love to hear if a certain song had an impact on you like “Dear Prudence” did on me. Or maybe you were raised by a couple of Beatles nuts who always had them playing. Whatever the case, share it with me in the comments, over on Facebook or on Twitter.