I heard “She Loves You” yesterday. It was only the squintillionth time I’ve heard the Beatlemania-defining tune, which long ago receded into whatever part of my brain is reserved for songs I will still sing along to at 96, during my final days in a nursing home.
But this time was different. Instead of bobbing almost unheard in the background, as familiar tunes often do, this time I heard it with almost cosmic clarity. The joyful guitar licks, Ringo’s thumping drumming, the giddily optimistic lyrics — all came rushing back, as if hearing it for the first time ever.
In fact, I first heard “She Loves You” in the early spring of 1964. I was not yet a teenager, but back in those pre-helicopter-parent days I enjoyed freedom today’s students only dream about. I rode my bike wherever I wanted; my bazillion High Point Road friends and I played outside all afternoon, with no adults in sight, and when we were hungry we wandered into someone’s house and found food.
Everywhere I went, I carried my transistor radio. It was laughably large compared to today’s teeny iPods, but as fifth graders who had just discovered rock ‘n’ roll, our lives demanded a soundtrack. The Beatles, and so many other wannabe bands, provided it.
I thought of all this yesterday because the weather reminded me so much of the first time I heard “She Loves You.” Winter was almost gone, but spring had not yet settled in. Both times the afternoon was chilly, the wind gusting, but the world was also filled with something fresh, something cleansing, something to look forward to.
Back in 1964, the Beatles provided that breath of fresh air. Now, 45 years later, half the band is dead. We’re all a bit jaded; some of us are worried, a few even terrified. But for 2 minutes yesterday, music and weather combined to take me back to a moment when anything — all things — seemed possible.
And you know that can’t be bad.