Posted in Music, Wow!

Second Act

I’m going through a nostalgic phase, thanks to Amazon Prime and their free collection of Beatles music from the 1960s. I have the originals, of course, on vinyl and probably worth a mint by now. However, I listen to music online these days and it’s pretty difficult to fit a vinyl record into that teeny CD slot. With my current Amazon subscription I’ve been rocking out to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour, Revolver and more. It takes me back to days when homework was all I had to worry about. Mom and dad housed, fed and clothed me and I was happy and at one with my Buffalo, NY world.

I won’t say that life was simpler back then. It wasn’t. We were dealing with an undeclared war in Southeast Asia, pollution, popular protest, police violence and more. Sounds like we’re still there, actually, only this time in the Middle East. The Democrats and the Republicans have since switched places too, at least to some degree. President Johnson’s War on Poverty and civil rights legislation gave the south away to the Republican Party and now Donald Trump is giving it back. The Republicans started a war in the Middle East and the Democrats seem to be hanging onto it. In some cases, they’re making it worse. Drones are not anybody’s friend.

But that (the 1960s) was then and this is now. Getting back to music, I often wonder how the Fab 4’s progeny turned out. Fortunately, YouTube has some good answers to that. I first learned about George Harrison’s son, Dhani, when I tuned into the Concert for George put together by Eric Clapton and company. I must say that George had some very famous and incredibly talented groups of friends. Billy Preston did the best cover of “My Sweet Lord” that I’ve ever heard. In fact, I think it was better than the original, and for me that’s saying a lot:

For you George Harrison fans, get out the hankies. It’ll bring tears to your eyes. Anyway, between the swaying, clapping and banner waving was the kid. He really looked like George reincarnated up there on that stage with all those aging rockers.

So, I wondered (after drifting around some more and discovering the Traveling Wilburys, Harrison’s Cloud 9 album, etc., etc.), did The Kid decide to follow in his dad’s footsteps? Turns out kinda’ yes, although all I could really find online were his rendition of his father’s songs. Pretty amazing covers, though. Dhani’s a dead ringer for his dad, in both face as well as voice.

Dhani-Harrison
Dead Ringer

Okay, then. I rambled around a little bit more and came across Julian Lennon, son of the late John Lennon. I don’t have the same fuzzy, happy feeling about John Lennon, despite his tragic death. John was a real bastard, according to what I’ve heard. Angry, arrogant and violent. His love and peace songs were, by his own admission, an attempt to compensate for his earlier behavior. His life was cut off before I could really gauge his progress on that. He was the face and voice of the peace movement in the 1970s, but I would want more time to see what really became of all that.

John had two sons, Julian (by his first wife, Cynthia) and Sean (by his second wife, Yoko Ono). Their father was by far the better songwriter, although neither of them are slouches in their own right.

Speaking of shoes to fill, I’ve recently come across James McCartney, the rather strange-looking son of el famoso Paul McCartney. Dull-faced and pudgy, I thought he looked more like a banker than anything else. I ignored that family for a while then, somehow, came upon it again. I don’t know what prompted me, but I decided to listen to McCartney, Jr.’s song “Glisten.” The intro came up, with Junior holding an electric guitar and finger-picking it like an acoustic (which was interesting). The band behind him was good, really good, as rock music goes. They played the intro, then seemed to go into another intro. James honestly looked like he totally missed the first intro, but that was his expression, not his intention. His face was totally flat and I couldn’t make out what the heck was going on in his mind with this really, really good rock band behind him.

Then, he began to sing.

A shiver went down my spine. Really, it did. An actual shiver. The  melody did that, and then the words. They carried me right into his head and into his heart. He sang about love, longing and loneliness (and maybe a father’s disappointment) with an intimacy I’ve never heard from anyone before. This was despite a rocked up beat that, although extremely competent and full of energy, was still an assault on my own musical sensibilities. His face remained deadpan throughout most of the video, except at the end when he closed his eyes.

Um, I think I found my favorite junior. I listened to another song of his on YouTube (Angel. Go find it), also extremely intimate and melodically complex. I bought the mp3 of the album both songs came from (Available Light). The album is short, only six songs, but they were six great songs.

The last song on that truncated album – Old Man – answered the question I originally asked myself: “how do you follow an act that basically created the genre in which you’re playing? How do you step out from underneath a shadow that big?”

There’s no decent YouTube video of this song, so I’m just going to give you the words:

Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.

Old man look at my life,
Twenty four
and there’s so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two.

Love lost, such a cost,
Give me things
that don’t get lost.
Like a coin that won’t get tossed
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that’s true.

Lullabies, look in your eyes,
Run around the same old town.
Doesn’t mean that much to me
To mean that much to you.

I’ve been first and last
Look at how the time goes past.
But I’m all alone at last.
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that’s true.

Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.

It’s a lot more powerful with music. So go listen to it and then buy it. I’d just play it off the album if I could, but I’d probably get into trouble and then you wouldn’t be able to read this post at all.

Nostalgia has its rewards. It’s transported me to a different, easier place and it’s led me to new discoveries I otherwise wouldn’t have made. Thank you, John, Paul, George and Ringo. You’re all fine lads, even though two of you are already gone. I’ll keep looking and listening for the traces you’ve left behind.

 

Author:

Writer, Walker, Entrepreneur, baby-boomer

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