On a trip to Hawaii a few years back, Mitchell accused me of “becoming a beatle.” I was somewhat offended, but I think he was right. Over the past few years, I have embraced my long-ignored past of knowing thousands of folk and pop songs on the guitar—an instrument I had neglected for thirty years. I am now playing bass, 6-string acoustic, 12-string acoustic and electric and ukelele on a regular basis. It is the perfect “palate cleanser” when working on my opera.
Over the past few months, people will ask me to bring my guitar and play Beatles songs. And when I do, everyone loves it: young and old. I ran into a couple who came over for dinner: the guy was from South Africa where the Beatles had little impact, according to him, and his wife from Sweden said she was unfamiliar with any Beatles music. So I played three songs: Yesterday, Norwegian Wood and Blackbird, and they realized that they knew them all.
I feel blessed to be able to give these little Beatle flashbacks to my friends. They sing along, leave their meal feeling even more satisfied.
Being the scholar that I am, I have been doing more Beatle research and will undoubtedly add “the background of this song” to my performances. That is after I retire from UCLA…
I have learned a great deal about the Beatles phenomenon already, which I will post over the years on this blog.