Growing up in the 1960’s, it was difficult to find a radio station that wasn’t playing something by the Beatles. The “British Invasion” had come to the U.S. The airwaves were awash with the sound.
Living in a small town, and living in a relatively poor family, my siblings and I didn’t have new-fangled transistor radios like many of our peers. Instead, we had early 1950’s tube radios, many of which we had to rebuild to make them work.
Often times when I heard that my sister had a song on her radio that I wanted to hear, I had to run to my room and turn on my radio to listen to it. Needless to say, tube radios took forever to “warm up.” Usually, I would catch only the last few bars of the song. Of course I couldn’t simply listen to my sister’s radio in her room. We were not unlike most brothers and sisters that hated each other. My sister “Eggbert” was the worst! I have no idea where that name came from, but she wears it to this day. So I could hardly listen to her radio when I had one of my own.
Later, when I got a job, the hours were awful. As a result, I never got to actually see the Beatles perform. At least I got to follow the band through newspaper accounts until they broke up.
At the time, a girl I was dating told me she had tickets to the Paul McCartney and Wings concert. I was going to see at least one of the Beatles! It turns out she had somehow gotten tickets in the eighth row. I never did ask how she got them.
It was probably the best produced concert I had ever attended, the sound and theatrics were simply mind-blowing. But the one thing that got to me during the song, “Live and Let Die,” with the flash pots exploding and lights flashing on the stage, was the look of sheer joy on Paul McCartney’s face. He seemed to be having the time of his life.
I swear he looked out over the audience and our eyes connected. I felt his sheer exuberance. His smile lit up the whole arena, as he played and sang. I thought to myself that this indeed was nirvana. Someday, I wanted to follow suit, start my own band, and live like a rock star!
Sadly, work got the best of me, and after 38 years on the job, I can hardly get my hand around the neck of a guitar. But that moment remains fresh in my mind. Every time I hear that song, my mind goes back to that night long ago. There was a lesson to be learned—Do what you love, be who you want to be. Life is too short not to.