Thursday Tidbits

Posted on December 10, 2020 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

“Imagine all the people, living life in peace.”



Imagine all the people.

Can you believe that it was 40 years ago that John Lennon of Beatles fame was killed? What is even more shocking is that it was almost 60 years ago that The Beatles burst onto the scene. Their first number 1 hit song, I Want to Hold Your Hand, was released in 1963.

As I have mentioned on more than one occasion, I grew up in a musical household. We were exposed to a lot of different music from big band, to classical , the crooners (Perry Como et al) and of course the ever popular war songs. Lots of other stuff too but I don’t remember country and western getting much attention in our house. My parents seemed open to all new music. We would often crowd around the old black and white television on Sunday Night to watch Bonanza but the big treat was to stay up and watch the Ed Sullivan Show. All the up and coming musical acts like Elvis Presley eventually made it onto Sullivan’s stage.

If I’m not mistaken, the Beatles first single release was Love Me Do. The hits came cascading week after week, month after month, and year after year. We all loved The Beatles, even mom and dad. Our family band, The Escorts, covered a handful of Beatles tunes at many dances.

I must say that as time moved along, I didn’t care for some of the Beatles offerings. I guess when you heard all the greatest hits from Day 1, that’s the stuff you remember the most. It would require several pages to list the entire Beatles discography but here are some of my personal favourites: Here Comes The Sun, Eight Days a Week, All My Lovin’, Something, Saw Her Standing There, She Loves You, Twist and Shout, And I Love Her, If I Fell, Yesterday, Michelle. I could go on and on, but I won’t. What was your favourite?

I have saved my two most memorable for the last.

Hey Jude. If I had to pick just one song , not just a Beatles song,  but any song that will remain etched in my memory forever, it is Hey Jude and the reason is quite simple. At almost every dance that I attended as a teenager, Hey Jude was invariably the last waltz. All night long you eyed the girl of your dreams, sitting up in the bleachers, hoping against hope that she would accept your invitation to dance. Now you knew the odds were slim because just about every other pimply faced guy had exactly the same idea. Once in a blue moon you struck gold and got to press a young female body against yours, knowing that this indescribable pleasure would last exactly 7 minutes and 11 seconds. I wonder if this is where the Seven Eleven convenience store got its name?!

It probably wasn’t the same sensation for the girls. Ladies, please feel free to weigh in on this one. A Whiter Shade of Pale would rank as a close second for a last waltz. I will accept other suggestions for the greatest last waltz song of all time.

The other Beatle song is Let It Be. The opening piano chords haunt me to this day but in a good way. When I was in India in 2016-17, I taught English to a group of young girls studying to become nuns. Besides teaching them liturgical music, I also threw in a handful of secular pieces including Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. For some reason, they became fixated on Let It Be. I think it had something to do with the opening lyrics: “When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me….”. Now I don’t claim to be a music history whiz but I don’t think that The Beatles were referring to the mother of Jesus. The girls, on the other hand thought that the song had religious overtones. I taught them for 30 consecutive days, and they could flawlessly sing every word of the song. On International Women’s day, I had the great honor of standing on a stage in front of 500 women dressed in colorful saris to sing Let it Be with my girls. It was truly one of the great moments of my life.

I had the pleasure of seeing Paul McCartney in Toronto twice. On one occasion, on the day of the concert, I was at the Air Canada Centre to pick up my tickets. It was early in the morning and there was only one other person in the ticket area, none other than Stuart Mclean of Vinyl Café fame. We struck up a conversation and he ended up interviewing me for one of his CBC radio shows, a treasured tape sitting in a box somewhere at home. We ended up becoming friends. Now HE was a storyteller, a Canadian treasure.

Enough nostalgia for one day? I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. I hope you’ll hum a Beatles tune today just for old times’ sake.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. A reminder about my current fundraiser for the Christmas dinner.  If any of you would like to contribute, there are three ways to do this: 1) You can send me an e-transfer at 2) You can mail me a cheque at Len MacDonald C/O Arsaniq School, C.P. 160, Kangiqsujuaq, Quebec, J0M 1K0 3) If you live in Antigonish, drop into the Bergengren Credit Union. I have an account set up there in my name called Christmas Dinner Fund. Should we happen to exceed our target, any excess funds will go to The Family House which is a safe house in the village for families experiencing challenges.


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