Thanks, Paul McCartney, for 'Yesterday' and All That Followed


Thanks, Paul McCartney, for 'Yesterday' and All That Followed

Bonnie Goldstein

My generation, born following World War II, had remarkable artists. From them we were blessed by extraordinary and significant music and films released during our formative years. For example, Dennis Hopper, who died last weekend, was some kind of cinematic genius of the cultural zeitgeist. The method actor appeared in at least one essential film in nearly every decade since I was 10 years old. "Rebel Without a Cause," "Easy Rider," "Apocalypse Now," "Blue Velvet," "Hoosiers," "Speed" -- the man was there.

Musically, we were also privileged by the stellar talents of Bob Dylan and the Beatles. Dylan is a distant relative, and in my family, he was a legend before he was a legend. (I have a dusty memory of attending his bar mitzvah in Duluth when I was about 4 years old, but so hazy are the details, it's an illusion to me now.) I never met my older cousin as an adult, but I still hope I run into him someday back in Minnesota, so I can thank him for "Blood on the Tracks" and the words to "Just Like a Woman."

Coincidentally, I also knew Paul McCartney, who performed and was honored at the Obama house Wednesday night. Our paths crossed about 15 years ago when I was a breast cancer patient and so was his incandescent wife, Linda McCartney. Introduced through mutual friends, she and I formed a small support group of two. Where Linda went, Paul was never far behind, and so on several occasions I met the charming and curious lyrical icon in a family setting. I could barely contain how cool it felt to be at a small New York City kitchen table sharing snacks with one of the guys who wrote "Eleanor Rigby." (I mostly behaved, but in my head I kept hearing the White Album lyrics, "Here's another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul.")

He never failed to ask about my health even though Linda's prognosis was far worse. When she sadly succumbed in 1998, Paul hosted a magical memorial service in New York which I particularly remember for the Appaloosa horse that appeared in the historic West Side Riverside Church.
I haven't seen him in the more than a decade since then, but notice in photos he's stayed handsome and vibrant. The 67-year-old ex-Beatle could rest on his laurels and play with his grandchildren (who incidentally are not named Vera, Chuck and Dave), but instead he keeps performing, writing music and sharing his prodigious gifts.

McCartney was honored with the Library of Congress' Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. George and Ira Gershwin epitomized music for the Jazz Age. Also present at the White House ceremony were teenage heartthrobs the Jonas Brothers. Each generation has its stars. Mine was lucky to march in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

In my 60 years we have journeyed from black-and-white movies to iPads. It's true that life goes on. Thanks, Sir Paul, for your part in the enduring ride. You must truly have wings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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