I’m the saddest little music scribe y’ever did see, ’cause tomorrow’s Beatles Day, and I ain’t got no Beatles.
It’s not fair. All my other critic buddies received copies. They’ve been frothing over the remasters for weeks up and down Facebook and in and out of my Hotmail. Sometimes they “accidentally” forward me their real-time revelations in breathless superlatives: “OMG, ‘Please Please Me’ just baked my fantasies into a melodic pecan pie, using the harmonica’s new clarity as whipped cream! Destination: Delish!”
Even my mom scored the monaural box, and she hasn’t whistled past a music department since Bonnie Tyler stopped releasing albums on cassette. She got in on some “First Flush of Beatlemania” discount given to anyone of age who’d purchased the records new or screamed themselves into orgasmic comas from nosebleed cocoons at any of the band’s shows. Now she talks like an audiophile. “I’m glad they were reissued in mono,” she sniffed when the discs arrived, massaging her rusted MARRY ME MACCA button. “They have a warmth and intimacy missing from the more aggressive sonics preferred by today’s uneducated ear.”
Being that my mom was part of an initial fair-weathered wave that had split by Rubber Soul, when the ex-Fabs got “too weird,” I implored her to at least sell me the remaining titles since she wasn’t going to listen to them anyway. “How much?” I asked, unveiling my bankbook. I thought maybe she’d decline money and haggle it down to a lunch or two or a few more regular phone calls. But to my surprise she jabbed a stiletto under my bottom lip and seethed through a hateful clench, “How much you got?” I opted to pay my rent instead.
Desperate, I called my man at Capitol. First I finessed past a wily secretary feigning the worst French accent I’d ever heard. When I trapped her on her sloppy conjugation, she tried to convince me the label had outsourced its publicity department to India. Calling her bluff, I demanded digits. She gave me a toll-free number that connected me directly to Jim in Billing at the Bozeman Gazette. When I called back, she pretended to be speaking through a thick mustache. “I dunno, I just empty the wastebaskets, they don’t tell me nothin’ around here,” she said.
Finally, I got through to Terry. “Capitol Records, Publicity, this is Terry,” Terry chirped.
“Terry! My knizzave!” I clucked. “I’m calling about –”
Terry cut me off. “I’m sorry. Did I say ‘Capitol Records, Publicity’? I meant ‘SlapZappy’s Pest Control.'”
“Aw, dude,” I whined. “You didn’t gimme this much grief on that gloomy post-Heather McCartney.”
“Our office hours are 8 a.m. to the moment you called. If you know your party’s extension, please press ‘pound’ now.”
“Don’t do me like this, brah. It’s the Beatles!”
“Oh, my God, I’m about to get sideswiped by a gas truck! AAAAAHHHHHH!”
The line went dead.
I rang Apple but ended up talking to a youngish girl mostly about giraffes. “Yeah, giraffes are cool,” I said, attempting a patient segue. “But I’m calling about the Beatles.” “Beeeetles?” she asked, confused. “Yes,” I replied. “They’re a rock band.” “Oh!” she said. “My dad’s in a rock band, and my mom did a movie with Ben Affleck.” Great — I’d been given the private cell of Gwyneth Paltrow’s kid.
Next call: Yoko Ono, who chuckled, “No, I don’t even have copies yet, if you can believe that.” I didn’t. In the background I could hear her late husband hit that glorious “cry-hy-hy-hy” in a sparkling “This Boy.” “What’s that?” I demanded. “I rented Backbeat,” she stammered. “Oops — muffins are done!” CLICK.
Well, shoot. What am I gonna do with all this pent-up gush? Waste it on the Season 5 boxed set of The Office? Sweet-talk a strumpet out of her gin-stained tee? Commend a local pizzeria? Where will I go with my effusive words of love?