Birth of a Beatlemaniac: My Story
I got the idea from BornInTheWrongGeneration's story, and I thought it was a really good one. I hope you don't mind I borrowed your idea! :)
Everything I have written here is 100% true. I swear to John Lennon. XD
NOTE: PLEASE don't assume I still listen to or even think about Hannah Montana or the Jonas Brothers or whatever, I just have a really good memory and still remember their lyrics and names at what not. It's a blessing and a curse.
Saved by the Beatles
One Saturday night, a young Addie was up past her bedtime, watching Disney channel, a channel filled with, in my opinion, hilarious shows filled with pop stars with double lives and commercials containing the catchy pop tunes of Kevin, Joe, and Nick Jonas, more commonly known as the Jonas brothers.
Suddenly, a loud guitar wail interrupts the TV and shatters my eardrums.
Furrowing my eyebrows, I jump from the couch and storm to my father and younger brotherâ€™s nearby studio, where the two are sitting on the floor together, the boy holding an electric guitar that is far too large for his tiny frame, one that he is just beginning to learn to play, and his father pointing at different strings.
â€œCanâ€™t you guys keep it quiet?!â€ my tiny, shrill voice shrieks. â€œIâ€™m watching Hannah Montana!â€
â€œWeâ€™re recording!â€ little Will, my brother, announces sweetly. It was a favorite pastime of the two males of the house to record their singing and guitar sounds with the familyâ€™s chunky old laptop.
Little me rolls her eyes. â€œDo it quieter!â€ I demand.
â€œDo you want to record with us, Ad?â€ Terry asks his daughter with a hopeful look. Heâ€™s always thought his children had the voice he never could have, even though I hated my voice with a passion.
â€œWhat songs?â€ I ask, even though I has no intention of joining.
â€œHighway toâ€¦â€ little Will begins, and then quiets his voice. â€œH-E-L-L.â€
I groans, annoyed with my brotherâ€™s newest obsession with the hard rock band AC/DC.
â€œAnd Norwegian Wood by the Beatles,â€ dad adds.
Little me scoffs. â€œWhy do you guys only like old music?â€ she moans. â€œWhy canâ€™t you play something cool, like Hannah Montana or the Jonas Brothers?â€
â€œWhat about Miley Cyrus? Do you not like her anymore?â€ my dad asks cluelessly.
â€œDa-a-ad!â€ I cry. â€œShe and Hannah are the same person!â€
â€œOh,â€ he replies. â€œSo I guess you wonâ€™t?â€
â€œNo way,â€ I snap. â€œJust keep it down.â€
With that, 9-year-old me rushed from the studio and back to the couch, fearing missing even a millisecond of my favorite show.
A few days later, school has resumed for the week. After a long day of drab, boring learning fractions and spelling, my parents drive me to my best friend Olivia Powers house to â€œhang out,â€ as we call it, trying to sound cool, like those big 5th graders.
â€œLetâ€™s dance!â€ Olivia suggests suddenly as we â€œhangâ€ in her room.
â€œYeah!â€ I shout back, and pull the first CD I ever purchased from the little purse I always carried around. The silver double album cover catches the sunshine and sends rainbows across Oliviaâ€™s already colorful room. On the cover is a blond girl with a toothy smile, wearing dark jeans, a red jacket, and mounds of expensive jewelry no girl her age would ever be able to afford, much less wear. In bold letters, it declares, quite simply, Hannah Montana: The Soundtrack.
With the carelessness of clumsy and excited fingers, the two girls push the silver disc into Oliviaâ€™s radio/CD player. A few seconds after pressing the play button, they wait for the disc to load and play their favorite songs. They are seconds of pure excitement.
And then, it arrives. The familiar drum pounding and guitar wailing that they have heard so many times before, but still brings joy.
â€œHere we go!â€ the female singer cries, and the girls burst into self-created dance moves.
â€œYou get the limo out front! Hottest styles, every shoe, every color. Yeah, when youâ€™re famous it can be kinda fun. Itâ€™s really you but no one ever discovers,â€ the voice sings through the speakers, and the girls are lost in their own childish interpretation of music.
â€œWho woulda thought that a girl like me,â€ the girls sang with their idol, but their singing is heavy with deep breaths from their constant jumping. â€œWould double as a superstar!?â€
They grab hands for the next line, still leaping, and burst into the chorus, â€œYou get the best of both worlds! Chill it out, take it slow, then you rock out the show! You get the best of both worlds, mix it all together and you know youâ€™ve got the best of both worlds!â€
For the rest of the song, and many to continue, Olivia and I sing and dance with the teen pop sensation known as Hannah Montana until her moth finally comes up and asks us to stop, annoyed with the constant thumping sounds of girls jumping upstairs. The two of us complain at first, but eventually decide to log onto our favorite website, Webkinz.com.
Neither of them have any idea of what music is. As far as they are concerned, the lyrics are easy to learn, the show amuses their innocent minds, and the girl is attractive and does things young Olivia and I could only dream of, like date boys and wear makeup. She must be cool, and listening to her music must make them the same way.
They have absolutely zero idea they are completely and totally 100% wrong.
Fast forward a few years and see the same Addie, me, sitting in her parentâ€™s SUV, glumly gazing out the window, the sun beating down on her, looking the same but not the same. She still has her general looks, attitude, likes and dislikes, but has changed in other ways. She has glasses for nearsightenedness. She has grown out of her Webkinz stage. She has became and grown out of the infamous 5th grade that once seemed so far away, and will be in the much bigger and scarier middle school in less than three months. But still, she loves Hannah Montana, the Jonas Brothers, and their other friends at Disney Channel.
â€œCan I borrow your iPod?â€ I ask my little brother, who is watching a movie on our parentâ€™s laptop.
Normally, I wouldnâ€™t have bothered to ask. Will had no Hannah Montana anywhere on his iPod, nor did he have any other current artists. But I was so consumed with boredom on our way to Florida to see my aunt, uncle and two cousins, which our parents insisted on driving to instead of flying, that I was willing to listen to anything, even his stupid AC/DC, or those God-forsaken Beatles he had gotten an obsession with ever since The Beatles: Rock Band had come out.
â€œ The Beatles are stupid,â€ I remember telling him as he sang the boring song â€œTicket to Rideâ€ while playing the chords on a plastic guitar in the living room.
â€œSure,â€ he replies, and tosses the iPod my way. Snatching it up, I dig through the entire song list. I donâ€™t recognize anything. Until I get to the Hâ€™s, anyway.
â€œHello Goodbye?â€ I mumble to myself. â€œThatâ€™s the Jonas Brotherâ€™s song, isnâ€™t it?â€
Pressing the middle button, an unfamiliar voice warmly sings to me. â€œYou say yes, I say no, you say stop, but I say go, go, goo!â€
Although it lacks Joe Jonasâ€™s deep whiney voice and constant gasps for air as he sings, whoever this man is, heâ€™s a good singer. Really good. I sing along with the rest of the song, what I know, anyway, which is pretty much just â€œHello, hello. I donâ€™t know why you say goodbye, I say hello,â€ but still, I sing.
Once the song ends, another begins before I can tell it to stop. But immediately, I recognize this song as well, unsure of where Iâ€™ve heard it. And I hear a voice, a voice that canâ€™t be described in words, that somehow appeals to me.
â€œHelp!â€ he declares.
â€œI need somebody!â€ his fellow band mates sing with him. â€œHelp! Not just anybodyâ€™s help! You know I need someone, heeeellllppp!â€
And then the voice is alone again, which I somehow find I prefer. â€œWhen I was younger so much younger than today, I never needed anybodyâ€™s help in anyway. And now these days are gone and Iâ€™m not so self-assured. Now I find, Iâ€™ve changed my mind, and opened up the door.â€
And although I hear an amazing drum pounding in the back, a fabulous guitar sound and brilliant backing vocals, the lead singer still blows my mind. I still donâ€™t understand how his voice could amaze me so.
â€œDaddy?â€ I call up to my father once the song has ended, who is driving.
â€œYeah, gorgie?â€ he calls back, using his nickname for me, short for â€œgorgeous.â€
â€œWhat are the names of the Beatles?â€ I ask.
â€œJohn Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr,â€ he rattles the four names off without a moment of hesitation. The names sound eerily familiar. I think I remember them from an episode of Drake and Josh.
â€œWhich one sings?â€ I ask.
â€œThey all do,â€ he answers simply.
My mind is blown yet again. The only real band Iâ€™ve ever known was the Jonas Brothers, and in that band it was always clear who did what. Kevin played base, Nick played guitar and Joe sang, and they never switched or swapped. But all four Beatles sing? Thatâ€™s amazing.
â€œWell, which one sings â€˜Help?â€™â€
â€œJohn Lennon,â€ he replies quickly, my mind marveling at his speed of answer.
â€œJohn Lennon,â€ I repeat. The name sounds familiar. Like John Wayne. Everyoneâ€™s heard of his name, but no one really knows what heâ€™s famous for.
And so, I turn back to my younger brotherâ€™s iPod. For the rest of the ride, I listen to songs I knew, but never knew where by this strange little band called the Beatles.
One of them is Here Comes the Sun, the acoustic, beautiful ballad that I remember from somewhere with a gorgeous-sounding singer, who is clearly not John Lennon, but none the less amazing. I later learn his name is George Harrison.
Another is â€œGetting Betterâ€ which I remember from the live-action version of The Cat in the Hat with Dakota Fanning and Jack Black. Another band, one I later learn to be named Fountains of Wayne, who I also fall in love with, covers the song, but again, I fall head over heels for the Beatles version. This one is the famed Paul McCartney, who has a sweet, kind, soft voice.
And finally, I discover that cheery little song about living under the sea in a submarine. But not a simple, boring gray one. No, itâ€™s a yellow submarine of all colors. This song, entitled simply â€œYellow Submarine,â€ is sang by none other than the bandâ€™s drummer, Ringo Starr. Although his voice isnâ€™t as polished as the John, Paul or Georgeâ€™s, itâ€™s warm and kind, I notice, and fall for it all the same.
My brother didnâ€™t get his iPod back for the rest of the trip. I found myself wanting to know more about the Beatles. I even ventured out of my comfort zone and listen to songs I had never heard of.
One of my favorites included the dreamy song â€œLucy in the Sky with Diamonds,â€ that told of a beautiful world and a girl with colorful eyes.
Another was â€œEleanor Rigby,â€ another story-telling ballad about a lonely old woman and an ignored pastor. This song, I noticed, had no drums and no guitars, only string instruments like cellos and violins, but still I adored it. The depressing but beautiful song only had two singers, mainly Paul McCartney and his soft voice, but also John Lennonâ€™s in the background, declaring, â€œAh look at all the lonely people,â€ in a way only he could.
Another was the sleepy song called â€œIâ€™m Only Sleeping.â€ The song made me want to curl up and take a nap, the way the guitar was lazily played, the drums barely existed and the lead singer sang as if he has just woken up. Again, it was John who sang.
Once we arrived in Florida, my new obsession was only added to as my cousin Lizzie told me of her own newfound love of the Beatles. She and my other cousin, Jake had their own copy of The Beatles: Rock Band. It was the first time I accepted an invitation to a round of the game with my brother.
As my obsession with the new band grew, I went through different phases of favorite Beatles. Like any girl, I fell for Paul first, him being the heartthrob of the band.
â€œI think Paul is my favorite Beatle,â€ I told my brother.
â€œAlright,â€ he replied.
But shortly after that, I noticed a shirtless picture of George Harrison.
â€œI think George is my favorite Beatle,â€ I later announced to Will again.
Another day, I looked up Ringo on Google and read horrible articles about whether or not the Beatles drummer was important to the overall band. Finding myself loving his sad eyes, adorable smile, and even his big nose, I had changed my favorite Beatle for the third time.
â€œI think Ringo is my favorite Beatle,â€ I declared to Will.
â€œFine!â€ he cried, getting annoyed with my ever-changing mind.
But still, I couldnâ€™t get that singer out of my head. Something about his voice that could go from raspy rock and roll to soft, insecure, and emotional amazed me. His dark brown eyes always seemed to be off in another dimension, another universe. His witty charm and jokes he constantly cracked during interviews always made me laugh. I understood him. Somehow.
One day in fall, shortly after I began 6th grade, I noticed the record player my dad owned that sat in the corner of our den. It had always been there, but that one day was the first time I noticed it. I dug through the various records that sat underneath, and quickly noticed the Fab Fourâ€™s faces on one of the oversized records. Above them, in orange letters, declared â€œRubber Soul,â€ a clever little ditty, I thought, like the rubber sole of a shoe, but misspelled. Ever so carefully, I set the record into the player and set the needle onto the black vinyl.
â€œAsked a girl what she wanted to be!â€ Paul cried. â€œAnd she said baby, canâ€™t you see? I wanna be famous, the star of the screen. But you can do something in between.â€
I grinned as I heard the gem of a song play through the player. I didnâ€™t have to jump up and dance to this one, like I did with any old Hannah Montana song.
Butâ€¦ I did anyway. :)
After that song, another came up. And then I heard it. That voice.
Even though I was obsessed, I was still a Beatles novice, and I constantly guessed the lead singerâ€™s name incorrectly when I tried. But this time, I got it right right away.
â€œI once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me?â€ Johnâ€™s soft voice asked me.
And even as the sitar, played by George, added a fresh new sound to the song, I was still amazed by Johnâ€™s voice and the way it felt like he was singing to me.
About an hour after song ended, my brother came home. Because middle school got out earlier, I had an hour to myself without little brother annoyance. But this time, I was thrilled at his arrival.
â€œJohnâ€™s my favorite Beatle,â€ I told him, still sitting beside the record player.
He made a face. â€œAre you sure this time?â€ he asked.
I nodded, grinning from ear to ear. â€œPositive.â€
And so, with every Beatles song I learned, another was added to my brand new iPod, and another Disney song was pushed off. Slowly but surely, I got into the solo Beatles, falling in love with Johnâ€™s â€œImagine,â€ Paulâ€™s â€œBand on the Run,â€ Georgeâ€™s â€œAll Things Must Pass,â€ and Ringoâ€™s â€œNever Without You.â€ And as I learned more about the Beatles and their history, I learned more about the other group that was also a part of the â€œBritish Invasion,â€ the Rolling Stones. I fell for them. I also learned about Georgeâ€™s best friend, the one who supposedly â€œstoleâ€ his beautiful wife Pattie Boyd, who was also a famous guitar player, named Eric Clapton. I fell for him. And best of all, I learned of the genius who introduced my beautiful Beatles to pot, Mr. Bob Dylan. I fell for him- hard.
Unfortunately, the rest of my school didnâ€™t fall quite so hard for my new taste in the 60â€™s. My longtime friend Claudia even told me in the middle of math class once, out of nowhere, â€œThe Beatles suck.â€ We later got into a fight after I told her to fvck off after she made fun of my Beatles shirt. By eighth grade, Claudia and I were no longer friends, not only because of her hatred of my favorite band and her constant need to tell me about it, but because of her attempts at growing up far too fast with things like alcohol and sex- at age 14. We just grew apart.
But still, I held onto my love of the band, becoming known as â€œBeatle Girlâ€ throughout the school. I didnâ€™t mind though. In fact, one day my friends and I were standing around in Mr. Rennâ€™s 7th grade social studies class, debating whether or not Justin Bieber was a waste of human flesh. I had since grown a large dislike of Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, and all three members of the Jonas Brothers, all except Bieber, I had once loved.
Of course, I debated against the gender-confused teen pop sensation.
â€œWoah, woah, woah!â€ Mr. Renn cried, hearing our conversation. He looked directly at me. â€œYou like Justin Bieber?â€ he asked.
Before I could insist he got his facts wrong, he noticed my Beatle shirt. â€œHow can you like Bieber and the Beatles?â€
â€œShe hates Justin Bieber,â€ my friend Leah corrected him.
â€œWith a passion,â€ I added.
With a sudden burst of realization, Mr. Renn grinned and winked. â€œI always knew I liked you.â€
And as the bell rang, I was pushed out of the room by my friends and the stampede of 7th graders, eager to end the day. The school was all smiles as everyone rushed out the door, ready to start the weekend.
But no one smiled bigger than Beatle girl.