Ferguson St, Williamstown 1962
Hammersmith Odeon, London, early1970s
Central Park New York, 1981
Williamstown Hospital, 1995
IN 1962 AT THE tender age of eleven, having convinced my mum to part with 2/6 (two shilling and sixpence, about 25 cents) I hurried down Fergie Street to Eddie Marr’s record shop on a Saturday morning bursting with anticipation at the thought of swapping my hard fought 2/6 for a copy of the just released first single by The Beatles. Love Me Do was a simple ditty as was its flip side, P.S. I Love You.
Neither really gave a hint of how our lives were about to change forever. For starters Eddie would soon be clearing all the Bert Kaempfert, Andy Williams and Pat Boone records to the bargain bins. At home the Oklahoma soundtrack would not get a look in as the battle to control the family radiogramme had begun. The time had come for Elvis and Roy Orbison to move aside, music as we knew it was about to be turned on its head.
EARLY IN the seventies, I paid far too many pounds to a scalper for a ticket to a Wings concert at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, I wasn’t a big fan, but such was my feeling for The Beatles, it seemed a kind of natural thing to do. After all, McCartney’s contribution could not be denied. Well, Wings were spot on, played all their hits, Band on the Run, Maybe I’m Amazed etc.
My head at that time was somewhere on the dark side of the moon but the bass had pumped as expected and I had been mildly entertained. By the show’s end the capacity crowd was on its feet as the stage lights focused on Paul as he launched into a spirited encore of Long Tall Sally. It ignited the place into a frenzy. People hugged one another as they danced in the aisles, tears of joy were streaming everywhere, this one and only reference to The Beatles had somehow served to keep the dream alive.
The chance of a reunion was often discussed but for most of the seventies the main activity in The Beatles’ camp revolved around legal wrangles and pin-suited briefcase-toting straights hovering like vultures over a rotting carcass.
ON A WORKING TRIP to New York in 1981 the Mark Chapman trial was raging. The dailies retold his story over and over, mostly using that eerie photo of John Lennon signing his autograph as if taking part in some macabre ritual prior to his execution.
With Ollie Halsall, an English guitarist of some note (no pun intended), I strolled on down to the Dakota building one day and