As has been documented before, Joni DeRouchie and I have related, yet somewhat different, taste in most things.
A perfect example of this phenomenon is our respective takes on The Beatles. While she drifts toward later-era, experimental, arty Beatles, I've always bonded more strongly with their earlier recordings...both their definitive covers ("Twist and Shout"), and flawless originals ("She Loves You".)
There's nothing wrong with this dichotomy; in fact, it's a microcosm of what makes our particular thing work---she wants to make things that are pretty and structured and layered and, well...deep. I, on the other hand, just want to make loud, clattering, ranty speeches filled with profanity and cheap laughs. Merged together, there's a kind of synthesis that achieves what neither of us could on our own.
What the hell was my point? Oh...yeah.
The one thing we have in common, though (and I wonder how many people feel this same thing) is that we both miss The Beatles terribly. I don't mean that we wish for new Beatles recordings -we all know how those have turned out- but rather that we both feel a weird kind of empty ache when we watch old Beatles footage...like viewing home movies of a deceased loved one.
The retarded part, of course, is that neither of us witnessed The Beatles era firsthand, and I have only a vague memory of John Lennon being alive. And yet, unlike other bands whom I was born too late to witness (Zeppelin, Queen, Pink Floyd), The Beatles are bonded to me in some weird way that I can't ever fully explain.
I truly and absolutely believe that, in many ways, I was born in the wrong time. Most of my childhood/adolescent obsessions (Mad Magazine, Ken Kesey, Abbie Hoffman) have their roots in the sixties, and their discovery by the teenage me was accompanied by a strange sense of emotional echo...the oft-remarked-upon "shock of self-recognition". They contained an attitude and energy that mirrored what I was feeling, and it was like coming home, within myself.
So, given the above, it's no shock that I gravitated very strongly to much of The Beatles' catalog. What is odd, though, is how connected both Joni and I feel to them on a gut level, even now, 35-plus years after they broke up. There's no rational reason for it, and yet, whenever I watch the Beatles Anthology, and its opening sequence of vintage film footage set against "In My Life", it can't be denied. I'm desperately homesick for something I never had.
Why am I typing all of this gibberish at two in the morning, when any rational (and employed) person would be sleeping, or at least drinking?
Partly because Bigger than Jesus is quickly approaching, and these are the things that Bigger than Jesus springs from---love of a band, a song, or a time. The warm and sometimes melancholy feelings that accompany music, and the memories of the people who made it.
Mostly, though, it's because halfway through Imagine: John Lennon, I just found myself being so fucking sad that I had to turn it off for awhile.
I never knew John Lennon...or The Beatles. But I miss them just the same.