Writing Prompt: Write about your favorite person and how you met, how has that personaffected your life– for better and worse.
I must have been a toddler when I met these four musicians from Liverpool, England: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. I heard their music since before I was able to speak. Their Abbey Road album must have been played countless times in my house, slowly but surely sipping into my subconsciousness. Thanks to my aunts and uncles I was fortunate enough that I was very familiar with the wonderful sounds that these folks created. I became inspired by their music and lyrics even though I didn’t completely understand the meaning back then yet I was able to receive their message of love, loud and clear.
Songs like All You Need Is Love, Here Comes The Sun, Golden Slumbers, Across the Universe and many others had a distinctive encoded message that I could not quite put my finger on. There was a message hidden there that went beyond lyrics to me. There was a song in particular that haunted me because it gave me a visualization like no other song I had heard before: A Day In The Life from Sgt. Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band. Every time that I heard that song, I was immediately transported by the orchestration. Before I learned that the lyrics to that song were simply headlines from a newspaper, I knew the song had a much deeper meaning and a grandeur that could not be explained, a musical masterpiece that captured my imagination and allowed me to come up with my own conclusion, with my own lyrics, with my own dreams and hallucinations. I had a dream in particular where I was a small man in a giant dark room and saw these giant balls chasing me until they became so big and so real that became a constant nightmare of mine. So I also gotta thank The Beatles for the nightmare that scared the shit out of me.
John, Paul, George and Ringo also became my English teachers. I spent quite a long time in my high school years analyzing their song lyrics, translating them to Spanish, understanding their meaning, their colloquialism and intent as well. I liked singing their songs, trying to sound just like them and mimicking their British accent. I practically learned English because I loved their music so much that I wanted to not only understand their songs but be able to interpret their meaning and understand how influential they were for their time.
Even though I never really met them
in person, I have a connection with all of them through their work. I realize that sometimes the end result is what really counts. I never got sucked in to the scandal of their breakup, the drugs, the fights, random quotes like being more famous than Jesus himself, their sense of humor that was taken quite literally to the point that anything that came out of their mouths made headlines. I suffered for them. I understood that they constantly walked on a mined field and anything they said or did would be over analyzed, misinterpreted and taken around the world whether they liked it or not. I understood the meaning of fame and the sacrifices they were willing or unwilling to make to carry their message across. I also saw the advantage that they had, they practically had the world at their feet and they began choosing their words carefully.
Take George Harrison, for instance. He was influenced by the spirituality of the Indian culture when he was introduced to Ravi Shankar and taught their philosophy of peace and deeper love of oneself, finding the truth that everyone can achieve through meditation. His songs evolved and took off when he began experimenting with the sitar and Indian classical instrumentation that could not be further to the Beatles sound. When George came up with Within You Without You, he opened up the doors to Hinduism philosophy and made it popular and mainstream. I believe that George Harrison had a big part in creating awareness of this other realm of music that people would normally not listen to but he made it acceptable for the common man to explore something out of their comfort zone and either love it or hate it. He made his followers expand their horizons by introducing them to a whole new world that they never knew existed.
Last night I spent my Fourth of July listening to the sound of The Beatles. I listened to a Beatles cover band called Paperback Writer which is the title to one of their singles. As I wore one of my Beatles t-shirts, sported my Beatles tattoo that covers my entire right calf and sat on the grass talking to friends about The Beatles and their songs and how influential they were on other artists like Axl Rose or Joe Cocker or Michael Jackson or just about every pop artist. I was reminded that, even though I have never met them face to face and probably never will, The Beatles and I had met before, we shared the same dreams and aspirations, we shared the same ideals of peace and love. Nothing else really matters at the end but love. Love oneself first as well as loving everybody else. There is so much love to give and receive. Like they wrote on one of their songs from their iconic Abbey Road album and ended up inked on my skin forever:
the love you take is equal to the love you make.
And, of course, this is followed by All You Need Is Love. Need to say any more?
©2014 Victor Sotomayor