Tuesday, October 25, 2005

25:12 Ben Franklin Bridge into Camden - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts ClubBand

What did people think about before the Beatles? Really, think about it-- one day, no one in the USA had ever heard of "Albert Hall" and the next day any kid on any street corner could tell you exactly how many holes there were in it (4000).

It rained today, which was actually just fine by me. Running in the rain makes me think, "yeah, I'm really a runner, I'm soaking wet". Thank god for thermoplush. Rain makes me go faster-- let's face it: run fast = shorter run.

I happened to have Sgt. Pepper's queued up on the MP3. The Beatles really were the limit. Sure, there was rock and roll prior to the Beatles. Sure, they ripped off Chuck Berry (hey, Picasso copied Miro and Dali, too). But Sgt Pepper's just hangs together so well... it's not a story, really, more of a continuous feeling. The Grateful Dead gets it, too, and some Dave Matthews. But The Beatles did it so well that it feels like they invented it.

I heard this album the first time when I was just five, two years after it came out. My brothers saved up and bought it, and we sat on the floor and listened. I really liked When I'm sixty-four and Good Morning, but got embarrassed at the heavy breathing at the end of Lovely Rita.

Thirty-six years later, my favorite tracks are Getting Better and She's leaving home. Also Within you without you whicj must have been a pretty different sound in 1967. I think what I really like about them is the instrumentation-- what is that high, repeating guitar note on Getting Better? And She's leaving home has no "Rock" instruments that I can hear.

I finished the run just as A Day in the Life came on. I thought about when I played this for some friends when I was in Peace Corps (it is surprisingly hard to play on an acoustic guitar). I got a little sad thinking about John and George being gone now. The thought occurred to me that someone, somewhere, is thinking about the Beatles, always. Someone is listening to one of their songs, or reading about them, or wearing a shirt with their faces on it. Would that I were as alive in life as John and George are in death.

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