And the musicians of the decade were … The Beatles and The King
Posted on 31 December 2009 | 6:12pm
Other than urging David Cameron to have as his New Year Resolution the promise to set out a detailed set of policies covering the major areas of national life – and meanwhile the Pig on Runway A is set for take off – and urging the British press to start scrutinising the Tories a tenth as much as they do Labour – that little piggy is waiting over on Runway B – I thought I would leave politics out of the last blog of the year.
Instead I would like to elaborate on the tweet I sent out last night after seeing Nowhere Boy, the story of John Lennon’s early years. Even the incredibly annoying noise coming from Avatar on the next screen through an evidently too thin wall – O2 Finchley Road please note – could not detract from a really good night out.
Aaron Johnson, who plays Lennon, and Thomas Sangster, who plays the young Paul McCartney, could have a job for life making movies about the various stages in the lives, careers and in John’s case, death, of these musical geniuses.
Lennon’s assassination, on December 8 1980, is one of those ‘remember where you were’ moments. I was in a car in Tavistock, Devon, and Fiona was driving us into the office of the Tavistock Times, where we were both trainee journalists. We had recently set up home together, and as the news came through from New York, I remember wondering if she would have cried as much if I had died.
She has always been a real Beatle fan. Indeed, when she wrote a piece about what life was like living with me when TB and Downing Street commanded so much of our every waking minute, she always listed as the highlight meeting Paul McCartney when he popped in one day for tea with fellow Scouser Cherie. She has not however gone as far as Burnley chief executive Paul Fletcher and his wife Sian, whose Christmas card was a collection of Beatles photos and albums covers, and who have identical Beatles tattoos on their backsides. I wish he would stop showing it to me mind you.
As I write this, I have Elvis on in the background, as I often do, and I was thrilled The King’s role in Lennon’s musical development was recognised in Nowhere Boy. I loved the bit where he basically wanted to be Elvis.
Our daughter Grace came with us last night, and it is fair to say both Elvis and The Beatles have captured the imagination of successive generations and are likely to do so forever. We just had a discussion about which of all the great musicians of our lifetime would become as established in global cultural history as Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, or even Shakespeare.
I’m going for The Beatles, and The King, who would have been 75 next week. Provided we still have a planet, our grandchildren will be playing their music, and later on so will theirs, and every aspect of their remarkable lives will be the stuff of movie legend too. On that note, Happy New Year.