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The Beatles

June 27, 2010

You guys — I almost forgot about how much I love the Beatles. Yesterday, as you all know (or at least I hope you know …), the US soccer team lost to Ghana in the second round of the World Cup. It was tragic. I was in a sad, hopeless state. I was under the impression that the sun would never shine for me again. It was a dark, dark day, and, usually, on days that dark, I just lie on my bed in solitude, put my iTunes on shuffle, and let the music seep in.

So iTunes was shuffling along, and chose some really crappy songs, but I was in such a depression I didn’t even care. I just let Matchbox 20 play. I even listened to an Iron Maiden song. You can only imagine the depths of my sadness at that point.

Then, suddenly, I heard the opening words to Penny Lane, a Beatles classic.

Penny Lane

Paul McCartney’s sweet voice opened the song, and soon, warm, happy chords blended in with his voice and the song has officially begun. I was transported from my bed to a small town in London. I was standing outside a barbershop, watching a barber merrily cutting hair and chatting with his clientele. Little children skipped past me, and stopped briefly to say hello to the barber, who waved back with a rosy smile.

I then craned my neck and saw the sun come out as the horns played and the bass’ vibrations resonated in time with the drum beat. As the song continued, I walked down the cobblestone road and laughed along with the children about whom McCartney so thoughtfully sings, as they poke fun at the banker.

McCartney and the Beatles took me out of my dejected state and brought me along with them to Penny Lane, beneath blue, suburban skies. They filled my eyes and ears with images of bliss and fond memories — and for three minutes and three seconds (the duration of the song), I imagined John, Paul, George, Ringo and Emilia sitting outside in the summer, eating finger pies and watching a shiny, red fire truck motor by. We waved at the fireman, who keeps a portrait of the Queen in his pocket. I wanted to show him my Obama bumper sticker, but he was late for a meeting with the barber. John and I laughed about that afterwards …

The next song that came on was Slither by Velvet Revolver, and I was suddenly filled with passion. I jumped up from my depressive laze, and immediately created a Beatles shuffle. I was going to be damned if I was listening to anything but the Beatles that afternoon.

One song changed the course of my day — it changed who I was. Pre-Penny Lane, I was not unlike an inmate on death row. Post-Penny Lane, I was Charlie after he found his golden ticket. I mean, after all, I had found a golden ticket — except for me it was more like a golden melody.

And it was in that moment, as the second Beatles song started playing (Drive My Car), that I realized how long it had been since I had gone on a Beatles binge. All these flawless melodies and inspirational hooks were coming back to me, and, if I’m being honest, I think I spent the next two hours in solitude just listening to Beatles music. But I didn’t feel like I was in solitude. Each time a song played, I was surrounded by new characters and places. Beatles music has that power. It is so powerful and overwhelming, that it takes the listener to a new level; a new dimension; a new world.

I listened to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and I closed my eyes and tried to imagine the incandescent image of a girl with kaleidoscope eyes — how beautiful she must be! As Lady Madonna played, my heart leapt when I realized that I was already doing what Paul was describing Lady Madonna as doing: “Lady Madonna, lying on the bed, listen to the music playing in your head!” I felt that much closer to the band — and Lady Madonna!

And when Good Day Sunshine played — I knew the sun would shine for me again. I forgave soccer for breaking my heart, and I looked out the window and saw the sun! “Here comes the sun,” I thought to myself. That George Harrison knew what he was talking about, didn’t he?

But then again, didn’t they all? Paul taught us to just let it be, and John reminded us all of the power of imagination (granted, he did that post-Beatles, but hey! Who’s really keeping track, right?). George showed us that the sun is always coming and that, ultimately, the universal it will be alright. And Ringo — well, he was just awesome all around, wasn’t he?

Just look at them. You can’t really argue, can you?

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