CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE STUMBLED INTO "THE SHALLOW ZONE." WATCH OUT FOR THE ROCKS. SOME OF THEM ARE SHARP.
If you're looking for a blog with meaningful content on the important issues of the day, you've come to the wrong place. This is the shallows, my friend. Nothing but shallowness as far as the eye can see. Let someone else make sense of things. I like it here.

About Me

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I love my grown children, miss all the dogs I ever had, and I cry at the drop of a hat, I believe in true love, destiny, fairness, and compassion. If I could be anywhere right now, it would be the ocean. My favorite city is New York, but I am always longing for London and craving more time in Copenhagen. I'm drawn to desolate places, deserted buildings, and unknown byways. I don't care how society perceives me as long as my gut tells me that what I'm doing is right. I am interested in paranormal things, spiritual things, historical things, and things that glow at night. I like to drink, I smoke when I write, I can't stand small talk, and despite my quick temper, I would rather kiss than fight. I'm selfish with my writing time, a spendthrift with my love. My heart has been broken so many times that it's held together with super glue and duct tape. The upside is that, next time, I won't be tempted to give away what I no longer have to give. But I will let you buy me a Pink Squirrel.
MY SHALLOW MISSION STATEMENT

MY SHALLOW MISSION STATEMENT

MY SHALLOW MISSION STATEMENT
Not that there's any weight to it...
IN A WORLD FILLED WITH COMPLEX POLITICAL ISSUES, SOCIAL INEQUALITY, AND FINANCIAL UNCERTAINTY, I CONSIDER IT MY GIFT TO YOU, MY READER, TO OFFER THIS SHALLOW LITTLE HAVEN, WHERE NOTHING IS TOO SHALLOW, TOO INSIGNIFICANT, OR TOO RIDICULOUS TO JUSTIFY OUR ATTENTION. IN OTHER WORDS, IF IT'S NOT IMPORTANT....SO WHAT? NEITHER WAS MARILYN MONROE'S BRA SIZE. AND THAT STILL SELLS MAGAZINES, DOESN'T IT?
VIDEO OF THE MONTH

Thursday, June 21, 2012

ROCK AND ROLL LOVE STORIES


Last post, I mentioned, briefly, the epic love story that was Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, two iconic figures of country music, who died within months of one another. And it got me to thinking about other love stories connected to the music world, most specifically, the part of that world dedicated to one of my great loves...rock and roll. (Yes, I still call it "rock and roll", and if you have to ask why, I would suggest, in a completely non-judgemental way, that you listen to a few Buddy Holly songs). But back to the subject of this post. Great loves. In rock and roll. What comes to mind for you? Depends on your age, I guess. If you're in your 30s or younger, you're probably picturing Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, or, possibly, Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown (although not in an approving way, one would hope). If you're my age...53...or somewhere around there, the images that come to mind are more than likely those of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman, Bob Dylan and Sarah (Whatever-her-last-name-was), and, possibly, Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo. To name but a few anyway. But love isn't always rooted in the romantic. Sometimes it's based on something completely non-sexual, but, yet, every bit as strong and all-encompassing. Which brings us to the real subject of this post. And what's that? Well...scroll on.

FROM LIVERPOOL WITH LOVE: WHEN THE NOWHERE MAN MET THE WALRUS


Long before John Winston "Ono" Lennon met "Oh, Yoko!" Ono, and James Paul McCartney fell head-over-heels for "Lovely Linda" Eastman, they were just a couple of fag-smokin', pint-swiggin' lads from Liverpool who happened to stumble into one another's lives, and decided to make music together. That's the short version of the story anyway. Obviously, there was something almost fated at play when the two future founders of the Beatles first met and felt whatever it was they felt that drew them together in what was to become one of the most important and influential partnerships in the history of popular music. Of course, as any Beatles geek can tell you, it was hardly a walk in the park, even in those early days of their friendship. On first meeting Paul, John was arrogant and dismissive. Paul was a few years younger and a little too much on the clean-cut side for John's taste. And John's naturally acerbic nature was a bit off-putting for Paul, especially when Paul started bringing his even younger friend, George Harrison around and touting him as a potential addition to their band. But as we all know, John eventually accepted George as a bandmate, and after ditching hearthrob drummer Pete Best and replacing him with heartbeat drummer Richard Starkey (aka Ringo Starr), the two icons-in-the-making were on their way to becoming the musical pulse behind the band that would change the face of rock and roll forever.


But that's the weighty subject of someone else's much less shallow post. What concerns me in this one is the nature of the complicated relationship between John and Paul. Yeah, sure, they were good mates (at first anyway), but how the hell did they go from being such good mates to what they were at the end? I mean, by the time the Beatles broke up, John and Paul were behaving more like a divorced couple than two guys who used to be in a band together. It's like that song by Hole that says, "I love you so much it turns to hate." The sort of acrimony that existed between John and Paul toward the end of John's life only occurs between two people who once truly loved one another. Paul, who was always the musical sugar to John's lyrical salt, pretty much always wore his heart on his sleeve when it came to John, as well as the rest of the band. When John wanted to quit the Beatles (for good) in 1969, it was Paul who implored him to continue. True, Paul left a short time later, thus becoming, technically, the first Beatle to leave the band, but, then, if you want to get really technical, Ringo had actually tried to leave a couple of years before, (citing his feeling that he wasn't a very good drummer and was not appreicated by the other band members), but was lured back by (I assume) the sincere entreaties of the other three, especially John, who sent him cards and flowers and accompanying "words of love." So, who really left who, and exactly when, and why are all matters up for grabs. Bottom line, according to almost everything I've ever read on the break-up of the Beatles, which is probably enough books and articles to fill the Albert Hall, Paul seems to have been the die-hard when it came to wanting to keep "the lads" together. The grandson of an old-school music hall performer, he had the old show biz motto "the show must go on" hardwired into his DNA, and coupled with his naturally sentimental sensibilities, he just couldn't bear the thought of no longer being part of the band that had been his de facto family since his teen-age years. But, of course, for John, it was a different matter altogether.


As youths in Liverpool, one of the things that must have drawn the two musicians together was the fact that both had lost their mothers during their formative years. Julia Lennon was famously run down by a car only minutes after leaving her sister Mimi's house where she had been visiting John. Mary McCartney had succumbed to breast cancer a few years before. The parallel in personal tragedy could only have forged an even deeper bond between two young men already "in love" with each other's musical creativity. But where Paul eventually channeled his grief into the classic songs, "Yesterday" and, allegedly, "Let It Be", John's pain surfaced only in glimpses, in the quietly personal "Julia", and years later, in the raw, aching, tear-sodden "Mother", which he recorded with the Plastic Ono Band. If Paul was sometimes too overtly sentimental, John was almost always too maddeningly cryptic. As the Beatles started to fall apart in the late 60s, Paul chronicled their demise with songs like "We Can Work It Out" and "Hello, Good-Bye", which, underneath their upbeat surfaces, were actually personal pleas to the increasingly disenchanted John, on whose continuing particpation the life of the band depended. In response, John wrote songs like "I Am The Walrus", "How Do You Sleep?", and "Glass Onion", all of which made no bones about the depth of his resentment toward his old friend.


In 1980, giving an interview in support of the just-released "Double Fantasy" album, John said that no one had ever hurt him as much as Paul had. In typical Lennon fashion, he neglected to go into detail about just what Paul had done to earn that distinction. Was it the Allen Klein versus Eastman Brothers affair that put the final nail in the Beatles coffin? Or was it the resentment that he still might have felt over Paul's much publicized declaration that he had tried LSD after convincing John, who had actually tried the drug first, to keep the matter under his hat? Some people still believe that it all had to do with Yoko. But if Paul hated Yoko, he clearly loved John more than he hated her, the strongest testimonial to which fact is etched irrevocably into the vinyl grooves of 1969's "The Ballad of John and Yoko", which include Paul's harmonies, offered as beautifully and effortlessly as ever, despite any supposed rancor he may have felt toward the woman who, for all practical purposes, had replaced him as the foremost creative partner in John's life. John performed the same service on "Hey, Jude", a song Paul wrote for John's son, Julian, after John divorced his first wife, Cynthia in order to be with Yoko. Although I, personally, have never been asked to sing harmony on a song that highlights a major problem area in my life, I'm almost certain that I'd have a hard time with it. But for John and Paul, clearly, it was the music that mattered more.



In the epic tale that is John Lennon and Paul McCartney, one of the saddest things has to be that we will never know what might have happened between them had John not been murdered. Time may not actually heal all wounds, but it definitely heals a lot of them, and age really does make us wiser. Since John's death, Paul has often referred to his late partner, both on stage and in interviews, and always with what seems to be a genuine sense of affection tinged with an unspoken sadness over his absence. Clearly, the acrimony that fueled the break-up of the Beatles and the subsequent estrangement between John and himself is no longer a factor for Paul. Unfortunately, John died whilst still in his 40s, still relatively young, and still too close to the residual pain to be able to look at his part in it with the objective eye that comes with age. And so, while we will always have the songs and the pictures and the endless documentaries and bios, there will always be that relentless shadow hanging over the Beatles unending legacy. But, perhaps, like so many love affairs, even those that seem fated from the start, the one between John Lennon and Paul McCartney was doomed by its very nature. After all, when it comes to love, no matter what sort of love that is, one of the people involved has to be willing to make concessions. Love may be stronger than death, and even hate, but when it comes to egos, even the strongest love is liable to falter.


Skol! xoxoxxoxoxxoxo

NEXT POST: NOT ALL THAT GLIMMERS STAYS GOLD: LICKS VERSUS LIPS IN THE ROLLING STONES

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