One of the songs on my upcoming record is called “John, Paul, George, Ringo and Me” (you can listen to an almost completed version here). It’s about how I first heard The Beatles and the continuing effect of that experience. But that’s only part of the story. As Paul Harvey might say, “Page two”.
I heard “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, while riding in my brother’s car (the only thing not factual in the lyrics: it was a ’57 Chevy and not a Dodge) on a Saturday morning. He was bringing me home from Catechism. In two minutes and twenty-four seconds I was utterly changed. I stayed close to the radio the rest of the day and that song was played over and over and I learned that the Beatles were to be on the Ed Sullivan show the next evening.
This was fantastic news and yet….we were not really an Ed Sullivan family. We were more Disney’s Wonderful World of Color in black and white. There was no strong animus towards Ed (we would watch if the spinning-plate guy was on or if Burl Ives was doing his John Cage impression) but by default, when the TV was turned on, it would be NBC and not CBS.
Pretty easy solution you might think. All I had to say is “I want to watch Ed Sullivan”. Not even an exclamation point! Just had to open my mouth and let the words easily flow. I don’t think my brothers or my mother would have cared at all. Why did I hesitate? Was it because I didn’t want anyone to pick up on the fact that I was in love? I was changed? I had begun to leave home and no one could know?
I practiced it. “I want. I want to. I want to watch Ed Sullivan.”
I said nothing. I missed The Beatles! We watched “The Scarecrow of Rodney Marsh – Part 1“. Has anyone ever asked you where you were when you saw the “The Scarecrow of Rodney Marsh – Part 1”? I know where I was!
All I had to do was say those magic words: I want to watch Ed Sullivan. I’m sorry to say my silence led do much worse results than missing a TV performance. It was not the only time I remained silent. In high school I watched boys get bullied and I stood by and did not say “I want to watch Ed Sullivan”.
Things happened to me and I said nothing.
I stood at the altar when I was 21 and said “I do” when I should have said “I want to watch Ed Sullivan”.
There are countless incidents when fear kept me quiet.
So…I want to watch Ed Sullivan!
And if I take that out of the metaphorical state it becomes, “I want you to go to my Kickstarter site and buy my record and I want you to tell your friends to do the same!”
It may seem like I just took this revealing, thoughtful essay and turned it over to the dirty world of commerce. I don’t know. Maybe I did.
All I know is that when I was 13 I knew I wanted to be an artist. I have become one. A very good one. And I have about one million and six more ideas for poems and plays and songs and I want to collaborate and teach and inspire. I want to help other artists do what they need to do. I can do much more of that if I have a community that supports me through words, thoughts and, yes, money.
But best yet…you will like this record. A lot. And you will like most of the other million and six things that I do. If not, take advantage of the money-back guarantee. If not totally satisfied with said product an entire set of Rodney Marsh steak knives will be delivered to the charity of your choice. Act now!!
If I don’t end up making any profits on my art I think surely I have a career ahead of me doing public radio pledge drives.