06-07-2012, 11:49 AM
I think the first Beatle record was "Love Me Do" in the fall of 1962. The first I heard of The Beatles was when "From Me To You" was on radio in the summer of 1963. Del Shannon had played with The Beatles in England and covered "From Me To You." I was buying Del's records up to that point and actually preferred his version. Beatle-mania broke in early 1964 with the release of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and the Meet The Beatles LP. I was roped in. I tracked down a copy of "From Me To You." The B side was "Thank You Girl," and I played it obsessively. There was something hypnotic about John Lennon's voice and the way he and Paul McCartney harmonized. I was 18 and a senior in high school. My grades plummeted. I sat up most of the night trying to write songs. My mother would drag me out of bed in the morning and make me go to school. I barely graduated. I let my hair grow and had become an object of derision. I did not care. I wanted to be a Beatle. Now, here it is 400 songs and 48 years later. Lennon and Harrison are long since dead, and I am held up in an apartment on the Vanderbilt campus next to Music Row in Nashville.