Monday, June 18, 2012

Washington and Reflections on Sir Paul in Honor of His 70th Birthday

Well, my hosts are at Costco and I'm cooling down for a run, so I thought it would be a good time to blog. I arrived in Tumwater, WA after a beautiful wedding celebration in Seattle last night. The wedding was short, sweet, and authentic (very much in the spirit of the bride and groom), and the reception was a good mix of food (what could be better than wild salmon?), friends, and dancing. They even had a keg of a local IPA, so I was not complaining. It's good to see people in their homeland/element. I do have to admit, The bay area of Washington is really beautiful. I can definitely see the appeal.

Well, Sir Paul McCartney turned 70 today, which is pretty crazy. When I first became enthralled with the Beatles (and when will "Beatles" be recognized as a correctly spelled word in word processing programs?) in about 7th grade, I used to pretend that John was my favorite Beatle. He was the edgy one with the social cause, the sneer, the lyricism, the edginess - you know, exactly what an angsty adolescent finds appealing (It's like reading Catcher in the Rye as a high schooler and feeling such solidarity with Holden Caulfield and his cynical disillusionment with the world, and then re-reading it as an adult and thinking, "Your life isn't that tought; quit whining and get a job.").  Yet, it was always Paul's melodies that drew me in, even if I wouldn't admit it at the time. Who can write ballads, croon, or play bass and sing at the same time like Sir Paul (answer: no one)? In honor of his birthday, here are five of my favorite McCartney songs:

5. Junk. I love this song, which gives me nostalgia for these poor, discarded items that are no longer good enough to be of use. I first heard it on Anthology 3 where Paul only half of it and kind of hummed the rest. It was beautifully haunting. He didn't end up recording it until his first solo record.

4. Mother Nature's Son. This is quite an under-appreciated song from the White Album that always makes me think of some young guy traipsing through the Northern woods a la Tom Bombadil.

And here's a great version of it by Jack White performing at the White House.

3. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End. I mean, it's really Golden Slumbers I love, but you can't stop listening to the whole sequence once you start. The story goes that Paul McCartney saw sheet music for a song called Golden Slumbers, but since he couldn't read music, he wrote his own melody for it and it became another classic.

2. I Will. Perhaps the perfect love song that I got to see McCartney perform live at the United Center my junior year. I went alone because I didn't know anyone else that would spend $150 on tickets, and I may have cried a little.

And the version by Alison Krauss is pretty beautiful as well.

1. Hey Jude. Yes, it was, is, and always will be my favorite Paul McCartney/Beatles Song. Written for Julian Lennon after John and Cynthia got divorced, it speaks to things getting better even when life feels heavy. It was also the first solo I sang in choir, I believe, during our 60s show my senior year.

Runners up include: Yesterday (obvs), Let It Be (duh), I'll Follow the Sun (doy), I've Just Seen a Face, and Mull of Kintyre:

Here's to Paul McCartney. So, what are your favorites? Okay, gotta go shower. Later!

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