I came late to The Beatles.
My husband has had a life-long love affair with them.
On our first date, he was trying to impress me with clever conversation and he hijacked the lyrics of a John Lennon song. I replied with the next line and he was so pleased I knew the words uttered by his hero that I hadn’t the heart to admit I had heard the music coming from my brother’s room.
He sang “Eight Days a Week” on our wedding day and my aunt reached for her tissues.
I indulgently allowed him to stick Beatle posters up on the wall of our rented flat and, during a holiday abroad, I found myself following him back to a shop to buy actual Beatle figures.
I was happy to name our eldest daughter Michelle, after – yes, you’ve guessed it.
Our son – hard to believe the coincidence – arrived into the world unexpectedly early, only to share the same birth date as John Lennon.
Over the years my husband has lovingly collected every re-mastered and re-digitalised CD and DVD collection, playing them over and over.
But it was only on a recent visit to Liverpool that I started to fall in love with my husband’s life-long heroes. And I’m still trying to figure out how a two-day trip made me fall for them in a way nothing else did before now.
Was staying in a Beatle-themed hotel? Or going on a Magical Mystery Tour, and hearing music that had formed the backdrop to our lives against the landscape of their childhoods – Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, or the bright, sunshiny road where John Lennon’s mother had been knocked down and killed? Could it have been the crisp Merseyside air coming off the Albert Docks, the illuminating exhibitions detailing their rise to stardom, or going down into the bowels of the subterranean underground Cavern where I had thought it all began?
I guess it was the amalgam of the whole inspiring experience.
But it didn’t all begin in the Cavern Club. There was practice and practice in small front parlours, and there were many gigs in Hamburg where they cut their teeth.
I discovered that it all began on a rather ordinary Sunday afternoon at a church fete in 1957, where Paul McCartney, age 15, was introduced to John Lennon, age 16. A couple of weeks later, Paul – rather casually – agreed to join John’s band.
I’m still in awe at the sheer luck, the sprinkle of magic, the amazing serendipity – or whatever you might call it – that brought those creative marvels together on that day, and at that moment in time.
And it makes me realise that amazing things can and do happen…