Paul Is Dead

John Lennon made an infamous remark that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. They weren’t that big, but this rumor which spread across the world like wildfire in the late 60’s showed that they were pretty darned big anyway.

The originator of the Paul Is Dead rumor (big enough that it deserves capitalization) is unknown. It really caught fire in 1969 when a caller identifying himself as Tom spoke to a deejay in Detroit outlining the evidence.

The mysterious caller said that Paul had died of a car crash in 1966, replaced by a similarly talented left-handed bassist who just happened to be a dead ringer (sorry about that) for the original Paul.

Now, we should have taken a massive reality check right there. But hey, urban legends were in their infancy. We still believed that Jerry Mathers was killed in Vietnam, for Pete’s sake.

Anyhow, the evidence that the caller presented was on albums that had been released after that fateful date. This included Paul sitting in a trunk (like a coffin) on Yesterday and Today, which was released BEFORE the accident allegedly took place. Oh well, a little foretelling of the future wouldn’t hurt this rolling snowball at all.

Sergeant Pepper is where the evidence began flowing like a waterfall. The band surrounding a grave on the cover, the mournful looking Madame Tussaud’s wax figures, Paul facing the wrong way on the back cover, O.P.D. on his sleeve (Officially Pronounced Dead), the opening words to “Good Morning, Good Morning” (Nothing to do to save his life, call his wife in), etc.etc.

The madness continued with Magical Mystery Tour (I buried Paul at the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever”) and Abbey Road (barefooted Paul marching across the road, English corpses are supposedly buried barefooted). There were literally hundreds of signs of Paul’s demise dug out by hysterical fans.

It was so bad that Life Magazine actually wrote an interview with Paul intended to debunk his death rumors. In the interview, Paul states “It’s all bloody stupid!”

However, the rumors continued to be whispered throughout my grade school as gospel truth. And adults fell for it as well.

The worst fallout from it all was the practice of playing records backwards to listen for hidden messages. This eventually resulted in accusations of Satan worship lyrics cleverly concealed in songs by many rock and roll artists. Oh brother.

I have to admit, though, it is pretty cool to hear what sounds exactly like “Turn me on, dead man” when number nine is played backwards, even on the Woodstock sound check!

Nostalgic Boomer Songs

I guess I’ll file this one under reviews. This column is about a couple of songs that share the philosophy of I Remember JFK, which is, of course, Boomer nostalgia ROCKS!

I know of two songs that fill the bill perfectly. There are probably more, I’m depending on you, the readers, to help me out here.

One of these songs, Old Days, was released in 1975. I was sixteen. However, I was already waxing nostalgic for the 60’s. The song is definitely aimed at the elder members of the Boomer generation. But it’s still a fun nostalgic trip for anyone who can remember JFK.

Kids of the Baby Boom was released in 1987 by the Bellamy Brothers. Calvin Klein on the underpants was a red hot item in that particular year. Many of us were new parents. My own daughter was a year old, and my son was “under development.” And nothing changes your perspective on life like the experience of being a new father or mother. I wasn’t too big a country fan at the time, but I went nuts for this song anyway. It really connected with me.

What follows are the lyrics to these songs.

The Bellamy Brothers – Kids of the Baby Boom (1987)

Our daddys won the war and came home to our moms
They gave them so much love that all us kids were born
We all grew up on Mickey Mouse and hula-hoops
Then we all bought BMW’s and brand new pickup trucks
And we watched John Kennedy die one afternoon
Kids of the baby boom

It was a time of new prosperity in the USA
All the fortunate offsprings never had to pay
We had sympathy for the devil and the Rolling Stones
Then we got a little older, we found Haggard and Jones
A generation screaming for more room
Kids of the baby boom

Kids of the baby boom, we had freedom, we had money
Baby boom, here in the land of milk and honey
Counting our chickens way too soon
Kids of the baby boom

Now we all can run computers and we all can dance
We all have Calvin Klein written on our underpants
And at six-o’clock, like robots, we turn on the news
Watch those third world countries deal out more abuse
Remember the first man on the moon
Kids of the baby boom

(repeat chorus)

As our lives become a capsule they send to the stars
And our children look at us like we came from Mars
As the farms disappear and the sky turns black
We’re a nation full of takers, never giving back
We never stop to think what we consume
Kids of the baby boom

(repeat chorus)

Our optimism mingles with the doom
Kids of the baby boom

Chicago – Old Days (1975)

Old days
Good times I remember
Fun days
Filled with simple pleasures
Drive-in movies
Comic books and blue jeans
Howdy Doody
Baseball cards and birthdays
Take me back
To a world gone away
Seem like yesterday

Old days
Good times I remember
Gold days
Days Ill always treasure
Funny faces
Full of love and laughter
Funny places
Summer nights and streetcars
Take me back
To a world gone away
Boyhood memories
Seem like yesterday

Old days – in my mind and in my heart to stay
Old days – darkened dreams of good times gone away
Old days – days of love and feeling fancy free
Old days – days of magic still so close to me
Old days – in my mind and in my heart to stay
Old days – darkened dreams of good times gone away
Old days – days of love and feeling fancy free
Old days – days of magic still so close to me

Local Music Shows on TV

KOAM’s Circle 7 crew, playing on radio in the early 50’s

Our local TV stations had lots of time to fill when the networks weren’t broadcasting. There were blocks for the station’s choice of what to show that would run from 12:00 noon and 1:00 PM (central time). Another break came between 3:00 PM and 5:30 PM each day. There was also an hour available between 6:00 and 7:00 PM each weeknight. Saturday nights, when network news was not broadcast, the time would stretch between the end of whatever sporting event was shown (about 5:00 PM or so) and 7:00, when the evening’s network shows began.

The stations I grew up with, KODE channel 12 out of Joplin, and KOAM channel 7 out of Pittsburg, Kansas, filled much of the free time with local music shows.

In the mid-south, where I grew up, the primary television demographic was the thirty-to-forty-year-old male. I’m not sure why, but it seemed that most local shows were aimed at that particular audience. I’m guessing that this was because program managers were males aged in their thirties and forties. They grew up listening to local musicians on the radio, and the genre transferred easily to the black and white screen.

KOAM’s Melody Matinee

Anyhow, the results were shows like Melody Matinee, broadcast every weekday at 12:30, right after the local noon news broadcast. Melody Matinee consisted of three musicians, Virgil and Earl on guitars, and a lady whose name escapes me who was a whiz on the Hammond organ. All three sang, as I recall, belting out classics right out of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? long before they were considered cool.

Kids would roll their eyes as our Depression-era parents would listen to the extremely tame (in our minds) renditions of songs that might be a hundred or more years old. I guess I know how my son feels when I get teary-eyed over Neil Young’s Powderfinger.

Melody Matinee ran for many years, originating in the 50’s and finally being retired around 1981.

Another local show, specializing in country music, was the Happy Jack and Helen show, broadcast from downtown Joplin. I believe it was Cope’s Fine Carpets that sponsored the half-hour, meaning every commercial break was given to them. The show featured lots of picking and singing, and I’m sure it had a goofy guy in ill-fitting overalls to provide comic relief, as did every single local or national C&W TV show of the time.

But the teenaged demographic was courted, as well. KODE broadcast Teen Hop on Saturday afternoons between noon and 1:00. The show featured teenaged couples from the area competing in dancing with Top Forty hits being played. The winners would get a $20 gift certificate or something similar.

The homegrown music shows were low-budget, laid back fun. And I’m sure, if you pored over the few (if any) remaining videotapes, you could probably spot future famous musicians among the local talent. But irregardless, I feel like the passing of local music shows filmed in nearby downtown buildings is one more sign that we Baby Boomers just might not stay eternally young like we were sure we would.

K-tel Records

If you watched daytime television in the early 70’s, odds are you you heard commercials featuring snippets of songs fired at you in rapid order, with the added admonition “Not sold in stores!” You would then be presented with an address where you could mail a check for a very reasonable sum in order to receive a record album or eight-track tape in the mail.

Except for the anxious waiting, it was win-win.

K-tel hawked kitchen gadgets, Miracle Brushes, and records on television in the 60’s and 70’s. They became a familiar part of our living room ambiance, as we would step out to the kitchen or bathroom in the middle of a Roy Rogers movie to the voice of a fast-talking K-tel pitchman. The salesmen were frequently imitated by comedians. Who can forget Dan Aykroyd’s Bass-O-Matic blender on SNL?

Philip Kives, K-tel’s founder, was a Saskatchewan farmer before becoming a door-to-door appliance salesman. Not satisfied with trudging suburban sidewalks, Kives began presenting his vacuum cleaners and other home appliances in public areas such as fairs or the boardwalk in Atlantic City. In 1962 Philip and his brother Ted launched Syndicate Products Ltd. in the basement of his parents’ Winnipeg home. One of the company’s early endeavors was a five-minute television commercial for Teflon-coated cookware. The amazing sight of an egg not sticking to a pan (Teflon was brand new, remember) sold a whole slew of frying pans.

K-tel made TV commercials that ran longer than the standard sixty seconds and aired them at off-peak hours, a practice which has evolved into today’s 2:00 AM infomercials. Of course, you’ll recall that they ran thousands of traditional ads, too.

In 1965, Kives bought the rights to a few country music tunes and released the paradoxically titled 25 Country Hits with Groovy Greats. The man had a Midas touch. The weirdly-named album sold 180,000 copies in Canada.

He turned his eyes southward and in 1971 released his first US-marketed compilation: 25 Polka Classics. It sold a cool million copies.

Like their sales pitches, the albums started coming out fast after that. Compilations were released every couple of weeks for a while covering every conceivable genre, including the under-appreciated World’s Worst Music category. Polkas, classic rock (before the term even existed), country/western, blues, Perry Como (whatever you call his style of music), it was all covered.

K-tel managed to license a whole lot of music at a very reasonable rate. They passed the savings on to consumers. The result was that you could get real songs by original artists at a fraction of the cost of buying albums from the mainstream record companies.

Nowadays, the idiots who run the RIAA are doing all they can to ensure that you will continue to buy CD’s at fifteen bucks apiece. If K-tel was to start up today, no doubt they would be met with firm refusals to license songs more cheaply. Instead of K-tel, savvy consumers are bypassing CD’s in stores and buying music online, in many cases bypassing the RIAA altogether. Odds are the cigar-smoking clueless clods will go out of business before giving the public what they want: affordable music, just like K-tel gave us so many years ago.

Joining (and Quitting) Record Clubs

1966 ad for the Columbia Record Club

It is difficult to escape from AOL these days. If you call them and tell them you want to drop their services, you will be presented to a person whose job it is to offer you concession after concession to make you stay. If you ever joined a record club in the 70’s, you are already familiar with how difficult it can be to escape from a corporation that wants to keep you as a customer.

I joined the Columbia Record Club in 1977. I was able to obtain twelve cassettes for a dime, if I recall. After that, I needed to buy eight more at regular club prices. Cassette tapes ran about six-eight bucks at the discount store. That’s about what Columbia charged, plus shipping and handling. You spent around 80 bucks to get 20 tapes. Overall, not a bad deal.

But THEN, you had to quit. And that wasn’t so easy.

You would get a punch card statement every month that you had to return to Columbia, or you would automatically get that month’s offering (and have to pay for it). The card had a box you could check if you had met your obligation and wanted to quit.

Yeah, right. Check that box, and, just like clockwork, the next month you would receive another notification that you had BETTER mail back!

I was too smart for that. I had heard the stories from friends about how that box was ignored. So I took my punch card, wadded it up into a ball, wrote C A N C E L ! over and over in the little boxes where you would type the numbers of the albums you wanted, then tore the card in half, and taped it back together crookedly. Try running THAT through your card reader!

I never got another notification.

You almost felt sorry for the record clubs sometimes. After all, ripping them off was rampant. All it took was a fake name and a PO box. The perpetrator would get his twelve records or tapes, cancel the PO box, and leave them high and dry. A fellow I work with knew a guy in the 70’s who got nearly a hundred albums that way!

Those ads were a ubiquitous part of every magazine on the shelves in those years. I guess they still are. Some offered discount prices on records and tapes with no obligation. However, they would still send that monthly notification that you’d have to send back to avoid getting a Debby Boone album. And they were also difficult to quit.

If today finds you a record club member wanting to get out, remember my trick. They don’t send punch cards any more, but what they do send in intended to be scanned by a computer. Fold, spindle, and mutilate to get your wishes across.

And AOL’ers trying to quit? When they put you on the phone with the persuader, just keep repeating over and over “The internet is a tool of Satan!” You should be processed out within minutes.

Hey Hey We’re the Monkees

What a concept. Let’s cash in on the Beatles by creating our own group. We’ll run an ad in Daily Variety saying we’re looking for four guys in a struggling pop band. We’ll piece together a group, with a strong emphasis on their acting ability. It’ll make for a hit show and hit records!

Yeah, THAT will work.

Incredibly enough, it did.

The Monkees were born in 1966. Two were musicians (Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork) and two were actors (Mickey Dolenz and Davey Jones).

The show went on the air in September 1966. Within months, they had two number one singles. Or did they?

“Last Train to Clarksville” was revealed to be recorded by a group called Boyce and Hart and the Candystore Prophets. The Monkees’ contribution was overdubbed vocals.

However, the group didn’t wither a la Milli Vanilli. Instead, they rebelled.

Nesmith was not one to kiss up to anybody. I remember him slamming the Recording Academy when he got a Grammy for producing an R&B album in the late 70’s. He said the very concept of a Rythm and Blues Grammy was racist! Needless to say, he was the most vocal about wanting to be allowed to exercise his own musical talent.

Musical production for the show and albums was handed over to Don Kirshner, a legend of the back end of the music business, producing the albums and shows. While this eliminated the complete musical non-involvement of the group, it didn’t end the stress.

Kirshner hired some writing giants (Goffin and King, Neil Diamond, etc.) to contribute songs. Their next album, More Of The Monkees, was loudly criticized by Nesmith as being not only BAD, but the WORST album ever recorded! It had a grand total of ONE song written by him. Of course, this was before the Sgt. Pepper remake by RSO, so he may have been right about how bad it was.

The group finally released their own product in 1967, Headquarters. It was well received, and was a hit. It was also the group’s acme.

The next album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., featured much outside songwriting like was evident in the early days. This time the group made the decisions, and they didn’t do well.

In 1968, the show ended. A movie was released that same year called Head. It was about the group, and was allegedly very strange. IMDB gives it a 6.2 with a largely polarized audience. I hope to see it someday. It sounds like my kind of flick.

The Monkees should have never ever worked. But somehow, they did. Of course, they didn’t last long. That would have been stretching the odds too thin.

Herb Alpert

Herb Alpert in the 60’s

Well, after the commentary on the previous installment of I Remember JFK, the subject of this week’s column was pretty obvious. The public wants Herb Alpert! And what the public wants, it gets, at least this time. 🙂

Herb Alpert was born on March 31, 1935. That makes him a bit too senior to be a Boomer, but he was a strong source of memories for the Boomer generation.

His father was a tailor who emigrated from Russia. His family loved music, and he grew up listening to his father play mandolin, his California-born mother play violin, his sister the piano, and his brother the drums. When Herb was eight, he decided that he wanted to learn the trumpet.

A prodigy he was not. It took Herb years to make the trumpet sound the way he wanted. But he patiently stuck with it, and by the time he was sixteen, he had formed a small band that played weddings, bar mitzvahs, and the like in his L.A. neighborhood.

Not yet convinced that music was his future, he enrolled at USC after high school and joined the gymnastics team. However, he also played with the Trojans’ marching band. In 1955, he was drafted into the army. He was able to grab local musical gigs during evenings to help support his new wife and family.

In 1957, Herb garnered a job as a songwriter for Keen records. He struck up a partnership with Lou Adler, who was also just starting out. Together, they penned some familiar refrains, including What a Wonderful World (with Sam Cooke), Alley Oop for the Hollywood Argyles, and Baby Talk for Jan and Dean.

Here’s fodder for you trivia fans: Herb tried his hand at acting, and landed a bit role blowing a shofar in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. However, he decided that music was a better career move than the silver screen, much to the delight of us Boomers.

It was 1962 that saw him take a quantum leap in the field of music. In his garage/studio, he recorded a tune that featured crowd noise and his own layered horn playing. It was released as The Lonely Bull by The Tijuana Brass featuring Herb Alpert. Not only was the song a Top Twenty hit, but it was actually released by an independent record company that Herb and his pal Jerry Moss had founded. The company was known as Carnival Records, but would soon change its name to A&M.

Alpert saw his future producing Latin-tinged brass recordings. He cut several more songs and released the album The Lonely Bull. The Tijuana Brass was still just Herb, magically overdubbed in the studio.

The public clamored for live appearances, so Alpert hired a team of session musicians. Though the sound was distinctly south of the border, the TJB consisted of Italians, Jews, and one plain old American. Non-Latino comedian Bill Dana also frequently appeared in concerts.

With the luxury of controlling his own releases, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass cranked out hit single after hit single. The group also gained a bit of notoriety with the album cover for Whipped Cream and Other Delights, featuring a beautiful young lady clad in nothing but, yes, whipped cream.

The TJB’s mellow brass tunes punctuated Top Forty lists dominated by the British Invasion, protest music, and Woodstock generation hard rock. Their sound appealed to Boomers, their parents, and their grandparents. This was an amazing accomplishment in an era dominated by a generation gap.

A recent photo of Herb and his bride of 50 years, Lani

In 1969, Herb felt the need to change a few things in his life. That meant the end of the Tijuana Brass. It also meant a divorce, and marrying the new love in his life, musician Lani Hall. He began concentrating on running A&M Records and finding new talent. And find new talent he did.

During the 70’s, A&M signed and recorded Carpenters, Carole King, Billy Preston, Peter Frampton, Styx, and Supertramp, among many others.

However, the economic upheavals of the 70’s beat up on A&M like it did so many other corporate entities. In 1979, facing serious financial difficulties, its co-founder went back to his trumpet and the recording studio and came up with Rise. Not only did it top the charts, it was adopted as the theme for the 1980 Olympics. A&M would officially survive the 70’s.

The company continued to fly high through the 80’s. In 1987, they sold out to Polygram, with the understanding that Moss and Alpert would still call the shots. They did so until 1993, when they grew tired of dealing with corporate stupidity that has led directly to the RIAA-influenced/infected record business of today. Herb and Jerry bailed in time to watch the whole monstrous mess stagger towards its present day near-extinction.

The duo started another independent label, Almo Sounds, and they continue to find and sign new talent. Their biggest success is Garbage, a band that’s just a bit too new for an old goat like me to dig.

So here’s a hearty tip of the fedora to Herb Alpert: musician extraordinaire and record exec with a conscience. BTW, he and Lani are still together, happily married and touring. Perhaps one day the dying record industry will look at the success of this visionary and change. Nah, I don’t think so.

Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda

The incredible animation/musical extravaganza Fantasia was released in 1940. Among the classical songs performed was Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours. The dancing ostriches, hippos, and other cartoon fauna to the catchy tune made many a youngster a fan of the song.

One grownup noticed the potential of the timeless tune for possibly the greatest gag song ever written.

Allan Sherman was a familiar figure behind the scenes in Hollywood. He created and produced I’ve Got a Secret, a familiar show to us Boomers. At least he did until 1958, when he was unceremoniously dumped from the series.

Sherman didn’t let it get him down, though. Instead, he started freelancing in a completely different direction.

He loved producing silly song parodies just for kicks. And soon, friends in high places noticed. Well-connected in Hollywood, Sherman was encouraged by pals like Harpo Marx and George Burns to get a recording contract.

Friends with clout like his soon arranged it, and he recorded a well-received album called My Son, the Folk Singer in 1962. More than anything else, he lampooned his own Jewishness, and it was hilarious.

The next year, he wrote a ditty to be sung to the tune of Ponchielli’s masterpiece. It reached number two on the charts. And the definitive novelty song became a part of history.

Afterwards, anyone who would dare record a funny song, from Ray Stevens to Weird Al, would face having their work being compared to the greatest of all, Camp Granada. Needless to say, Dr. Demento noticed it, and gave it new life. In fact, the song overshadows many other great novelties that were hits for Sherman. This guy was no one-hit-wonder, make no mistake.

It’s just another great little thing about being a Baby Boomer, remembering when Camp Granada was originally hot on the charts.

The Day We Heard About a Bunch They Called the Harper Valley PTA

September 1968 was a time of unequalled tension in the US. Our fathers, brothers, sons, and friends were dying in Vietnam. We had endured the spring and summer assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. LBJ had thrown in the towel. The Democratic national convention was marred by a massive, heavily televised riot.

It seemed like everyone was either killing, dying, or otherwise wreaking havoc, regardless of where they stood on any issues. Just who were the bad guys, anyway?

Songwriter extraordinaire Tom T. Hall, and beautiful, no-nonsense-voiced Jeannie C. Reilly let us know in no uncertain terms who the enemy truly was: self-righteous hypocrites.

It was just what we needed. The combined efforts of the two talents provided us with Harper Valley PTA, one of the most recognizable songs in history, and a crossover hit that made it to #1 on both the pop and country charts.

The song’s author, Tom T. Hall

Tom T. Hall Was born in 1936. Despite his musical and songwriting talent, he was working as a deejay in 1963. His break came when Jimmy C. Newman recorded one of his songs, DJ for a Day. Soon, all of the big names lined up wanting Hall to pen tunes for them, including Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, and others.

By 1968, Hall was a success in recording as well. He sought out a female to sing his song about a single mom’s struggles with a certain PTA. Margie Singleton was the first to record the song, which had middling sales. Jeannie C. Reilly took another shot at it, and the beautiful singer, complete with Nancy Sinatra-esque go-go boots and miniskirt, became a national sensation.

While Reilly may have been considered a one-hit-wonder on the pop charts (her next highest hit was her next one, The Girl Most Likely, which reached #55), she had a very nice lucrative career in country music.

In 1972, she switched to gospel as part of a personal religious awakening. She cut gospel albums until 1995. Now she is still around, but kicking back at home. (update: she died in 2006)

Harper Valley PTA also inspired a movie and a television series starring Barbara Eden, showing the beautiful actress could still do her thing in her 40’s.

So throughout the utter turmoil that was 1968, it’s nice to know that the true enemy to society was revealed: the members of the Harper Valley PTA who were known to live their own sleazy lives whilst looking down their noses at others.

Growing Up Alongside the Beatles

My depiction of the young Beatles

I have vague memories of nursery-rhyme-type records played on our portable player. When the Beatles arrived in February, 1964, I was primed and ready to get into their music. It was lightweight, fun, and easily remembered for later singing in the side yard. My favorite early Beatles songs were “She Loves You” and the bluesier “I Saw Her Standing There.” That latter song was rock and roll every bit as hard as anything the Stones were putting out at the time.

I never missed a Sullivan performance, and faithfully tuned in for every episode of the cartoon. I was one six-year-old Beatlemaniac, to be sure.

But then, that year of 1966, the Beatles began growing up. And they dragged me along, kicking and screaming, forcing me to one day grow up as well, although I held off for as long as possible.

My depiction of the Beatles in 1968

That year, the group decided to stop touring. That decision was preceded late in 1965 by a flowing gush of creativity that accompanied the release of Rubber Soul. That deluge of genius would make their albums of the three previous years look positively amateurish in comparison.

Rubber Soul took the Beatles places that they had never been before, in grand style. But the music, to my chagrin, sounded very little like “She Loves You” or “I Saw Her Standing There”.

It also sounded very little like the music on their cartoon. And needless to say, the Sullivan appearances were now a thing of the past.

Not only that, but they started looking different! The lovable moptops of 1964 were sprouting facial hair by the 1967 release of Sgt. Pepper. I really didn’t like where this was going.

I still tuned into the cartoon every week, but there was something empty about it, knowing that the animated scenes of the band playing were now very seldom performed in real life. And when they WERE seen in musical filmed shorts that foretold MTV, they were long-haired dudes dressed in outrageous costumes!

My depiction of the post-breakup Beatles

In the meantime, the group was taking astounding quantum leaps with their music that it would take me quite a few more years to appreciate. The Beatles was basically solo performances by the group that caused consternation for many, myself included, of course. Many critics panned it, but that didn’t stop it from riding at #1 in the US for nine weeks.

I was beginning to lose hope that the Fab Four that I remembered from my youth would ever be back. Seeing the cover for a 1969 collection of singles which was only released in the US (popularly known as Hey Jude), I was absolutely disgusted with John’s out-of-control hair. He looked like an Amish farmer.

Sadly, I let that picture prejudice my love I formerly had for the Beatles. I was frequently heard lamenting the fact that they had become “hippies,” and thereby left their roots. When I read the 1970 newspaper article announcing that they had called it quits, I didn’t even care all that much.

It was at the age of sixteen or so that I began getting back into the group, and likewise began appreciating the enormity of their latter years’ work. I had finally stopped being a child and begun reaching out for adulthood, though that would be a struggle in itself.

Of all the great things about growing up a Boomer, I count one of my most treasured as being able to grow up alongside this unequalled group.