When The Beatles Came To Visit Clifton Springs....

Some time in the mid to late 70's I had the strangest dream. For some reason The Beatles (yes, John, Paul, George and Ringo) came to visit my parents at our rambling old house in Clifton Springs. It didn't matter that they'd been disbanded for seven years, or that my parents didn't have that much of an idea as to who they were, let alone move in their circles. It didn't matter that at that time Clifton springs might not have been the arse end of the world (though you could have definitely seen it from there), no, for whatever reason in my teenage brain they rolled up and were sitting on the old home made couch in the study (most presentable room in the house). I guess it wasn't so strange. My Dad had all manner of well known political figures drop in from time to time and I well remember sitting around the edges of these long conversations, listening late into the night to stories of political intrigue and the goings on behind the events we heard on the news and read in the papers. To this day I never believe half of what I hear in the media. A valuable lesson in life I believe, always look for the hidden agenda.
Anyhow, I digress. I can't remember what was discussed in this dream and I can't imagine (pardon the pun) my Dad and John Lennon agreeing on anything much, except maybe for being original thinkers, but I can still see them vividly, sitting in a row in their White Album clothes sipping a polite cup of tea.
The Beatles were far and away my main musical influence and inspiration. Quite why I still haven't been able to work out. I was four when they released Sergeant Pepper and they were all over by the time I was eight. I dimly remember singing Yellow Submarine in primary school and seem to recall "She Loves You Yeah, Yeah Yeah" but in our house we listened to 3LO or 3AR and had no television so I grew up listening to Sentimental Journey and The Goon Show, oblivious to the frantic youth culture that was happening all around me (apparently). I made myself a crystal set radio in Grade 4 and that was my main connection to the media until Dad bought us an orange transistor radio in about 1975. Then I discovered 3XY and the top 40 and all that crazy stuff. I loved it at first (The Sweet were my heroes) but was introduced to the Beatles by Max Staines, a lovely English chap I worked for during the school holidays, laying tiles. Max played me an album or two, I bought the Rock and Roll album (a compilation put out in 76ish) and I was hooked. When Dad bought me my first guitar (a Goldtone from Kerly's Auction Rooms) I borrowed a Beatles song book from Rob Doole and played till my fingers bled, night after night. When I wasn't practicing I was at the record player, lights switched off, playing the albums all the way through, listening to every little nuance and imagining myself as part of the band. 
As for the music of the time, I was aware of it but I really wasn't interested. The Beatles led me to the Stones then to Muddy Waters. to Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, to Pete Seeger to the English folk singers and on to Irish music and jazz. In short, they were my window to the musical world.
Cut to 2015 and here I am driving around Melbourne with my nine year old daughter Sofia begging me to play The Love album again. She told me recently that she liked the Beatles much more the "pop music" and that it was partly my fault. I really haven't tried to influence her. I think it's just that she's becoming a fair musician and her ears are attracted to the same sound and harmonies that mine were all those years ago.  I think she loves the stories and the characters in the songs as well. When she was quite young she was absolutely fascinated by the girl in "She's Leaving Home" and wanted to know more about what happened. 
I guess the reason I have spent most of my working life in the guitar business can be directly attributed to them. My fascination with song writing definitely can. I think I still consider John and Paul as the most brilliant writers in modern music (if you can call fifty year old music modern).
I could go on but many have said it better. Many of my friends have similar stories of how the boys from Liverpool changed their lives forever. What a brilliant legacy!

2 comments

  • Bill Dettmer

    Bill Dettmer Frankston

    I guess we all have Beatle Stories, champ.... they are well past their Use By date, yet still refered to often... and you've heard over the years.... I wonder if this is the New Beatles...? The title atteached to Oasis, Crowded House et al.. And.... anyone under 103 would be hard pressed to know what a Crystal radio was.... we all had em as kids. I remember attaching mine to the wire fence at school during recess and trying to impress the others..... nice yarn mate.

    I guess we all have Beatle Stories, champ.... they are well past their Use By date, yet still refered to often... and you've heard over the years.... I wonder if this is the New Beatles...? The title atteached to Oasis, Crowded House et al..
    And.... anyone under 103 would be hard pressed to know what a Crystal radio was.... we all had em as kids. I remember attaching mine to the wire fence at school during recess and trying to impress the others..... nice yarn mate.

  • David Feith

    David Feith Melbourne

    Great Patrick! Although I really can't imagine Ray & Marion hosting the Beatles, I like the idea! They were a huge influence on me too!

    Great Patrick! Although I really can't imagine Ray & Marion hosting the Beatles, I like the idea! They were a huge influence on me too!

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