Liverpool Beatles Tour
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Loving the Beatles:
A Guide's Personal Beatles History

Barbara, Henry’s mum, never liked me. She thought I was a bad influence on her son. I was the one that introduced him to the ‘dreaded’ Beatles. Not personally, just to their music and ideas. To her it must have seemed like I uttered the words ‘John, Paul, George and Ringo’ and Henry’s voice started to break, exam results plummeted, pubic hair sprouted, like water cress and he lit up a cigarette. The day before he’d been a clean little boy that always came in for his bath. Just two hours in his bedroom spent listening to Help and A Hard Day’s Night and he’d become a teenage werewolf that signed his name ‘Henry yeah, yeah, yeah.’ But it wasn’t like that, honest. In a way The Beatles stunted our growth and Barbara got off lucky.

We both grew up in Liverpool in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Matthew Street was a mass of raging punks back then. Bands like The Stranglers, Sham 69, and Generation X were playing at Eric’s. Youths a little older than us were wearing too much hairspray and gobbing on each other whilst pogoing on the dance floor. The Cavern having been turned into a car park, Henry and I contented ourselves with dancing to I Saw Her Standing There with his sister in her bedroom - when she’d let us. When she didn’t we’d pour through copies of Beatles monthly, gawking at wholesome pictures of Paul McCartney.

Our love of a good tune cemented in place by The Beatles, we sought out the ballads and songwriters of the day. ‘Quadrophenia’ was on at the local cinema, we preferred to stay in and go to see Neil Diamond’s jazz singer a few weeks later.

Adolescence is an awkward, often painful, experience for anyone anywhere but I am glad The Beatles were with us. We were from Liverpool and to our amazement so were they. The Penny Lane and the Strawberry Fields that they were singing about were ours as well. We walked in their footsteps and they made our suburban skies burn a brighter blue and left us content to be where we were. The music was like a diary we’d found in an attic. Our youth was an experience we shared with them. Little did we know that thousands around the world were doing the same thing.

I liked The Beatles before I met Henry. I probably opened the gatefold sleeve of Sgt. Peppers for the first time when I was 7 years old, started to take in the images of four moustachioed men in outlandish costumes on a yellow background. They were 19 years older than me. Now I am 17 years older than they were when the photo was taken and it just might be the picture I have looked at most in my life.

Mathew Street History

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