I could probably pick any Beatles song at random, label it perfect, write it up and few people would question it. Likely because few people would read it, but that's neither here, nor there nor everywhere (see what I did there?). But there's one Beatles song that I can say without a doubt has had the most lasting, evolving power over me. It's somehow a little scary and inviting, confusing and comforting. It's perfect and Don Draper knows it, no matter how dismissively he stops it (its effect on him is clear in the finale).
I remember when that episode aired, and he was placing the needle, I knew from the location of it what was coming. I have a long history with this song. I think I was always aware of The Beatles as a kid because I listened to the local oldies station, Magic 102.7, a lot, but they never played this. So I was familiar with the mop top, boy band era, really. This song came into my consciousness when I was around 11 or 12 watching PBS one night when they played the documentary The Compleat Beatles. I only vaguely remember specific details that have since sort of just congealed in my mind into a mass of gelatin Beatles facts that I somehow just know now, but I do remember vividly hearing this beat and seagull squawking and being a little bit shocked by it.
The thing is, by that time I had gotten confused and thought this song was called "Doctor Robert" so I was momentarily disappointed while playing the album the first time. I remember going right to "Doctor Robert" and expecting that beat and saying "damn it." So I said fuck it, and just played the album from the start instead. And I loved every song, but it wasn't that droning voice and those sounds that seemed to be coming from space. It wasn't that dark thing that called to me, which only now do I really understand as the call of Rock n Roll and humanity and the universe. Each song was just a song in comparison. And then. . .
Could it be? YES. YES IT WAS! THE SONG! It was wrapping itself around me in my room and I did just as it asked: turned off my mind, relaxed and floated on this wave of I wasn't even sure what. On some level I was afraid my parents would come in and angrily take this drug music away from me. But how could you not play this loud? Or on headphones? That day and over the years I played the hell out of this album, and particularly this song . . . sober. I'm positive it's engraved in my synapses. And then. . .
|It's ultimately about the music.|