Coming through November towards Christmas, my old-timey thoughts bring me to memories of the late 80s in high school choir and listening to the Beatles. Thirty-one years ago the works of The Beatles were issued on compact disc when audio was just entering that new medium of sound. I managed to get The White Album on loan from a friend of my father’s. At the time any connection to the album was through my reading of Vincent Buglioso’s novel Helter Skelter which was about the Manson Family murders. The story gave the album a touch of notoriety in contrast to the Beatles early mop-top image, which offended my choirboy sensibilities.
Late period Beatles was good and proper English classic rock, I suppose. I did know a church deacon, long ago, who admitted to liking the British Invasion, even The Beatles, but did not enjoy their later, art-y material. The deacon said that once The Beatles used marijuana they were under demonic influences.
Back in high school, some church kids with whom I was friends would pick up a stray TV signal of HBO/Cinemax. In the fall/winter of 1987 the channel was running A Hard Day’s Night and Help!. The kids then rummaged through their parents’ old records. Oddly enough, this resulted in a lot of Creedence Clearwater Revival fans since that band was featured in many parents’ record collections.
I listened to a taped copy of The White Album going around town raising money for the high school choir to make a trip into Winnipeg to perform at a Christmas concert at the Capitol. We were to perform under the dome of the Capitol, which made for a wonderful sound. It was a good time all around as our choir was quite busy and had enough of a reputation to appear at these events. I was selling chocolate covered almonds listening to what I still believe to be a creative high point of any era, 60s or otherwise.
On that choir trip I picked up a copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on vinyl. I picked up another copy for a friend. Another friend requested a copy of Abbey Road if I was doing Christmas shopping anyway.
I have done that over Christmases since – giving people music by The Beatles. Keri’s nephew got a copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band many years ago and he has recently remarked that The Beatles are good cheer-up music for him.
November 29 is the date that George Harrison passed in 2001. John Lennon was assassinated on December 8, 1980. The music and memories of The Beatles are together in my head with memories of singing “Holy Night” and “Jingle Bell Rock” all those years ago.
Reinhardt lives in Boyle Street with his wife, Keri Breckenridge.