By Robin Jovanovich
My father and I were driving down to the Florida Keys for what turned out to be the last time. It was a hard two-day winter night, because he was in charge of the radio and the road. His taste ran to classical, Big Bands, Frank Sinatra. While I went on to own every Frank Sinatra LP and learned to sing by listening to “the Chairman of the Board” in many a wee small hour, as a newly released teen, there was indeed going to be a revolution in my musical appreciation.
My generation wasn’t protesting all the time; we spent seven years enthralled by the evolution of a Liverpool rock band that had all our loving from 1963 to 1970. I sat grudgingly through many a Topo Gigio skit, or worse, on “The Ed Sullivan Show” — with my parents and grandparents, trying to see it their way — before getting back to where I belonged with the Beatles.
Paul McCartney wanted to hold my hand, promised to write home every day, and it was just a matter of time before he’d see the light and call me his belle. We could work it out.
I got into my first serious kerfuffle with my dad over the Beatles. When he said they’d never last, after listening to “She Loves You” for the 20th time in an hour, I erupted. “That shows you how stupid your generation (the greatest) truly is.” In those days, we weren’t allowed to describe anything or anyone as “stupid” or “boring.”
Things went downhill from there. In 1965 I had a friend, whose father gave her four seats to Shea Stadium, not to see the Mets, but to hear the boys from Liverpool, and I was one of the three Fab asked to join her. But I wasn’t allowed to go because my father worried I’d be trampled by the mob. Wasn’t it he who as a former Dodgers fan dragged me to see the worst team in baseball?
I gave him the silent treatment, which was cruel and unusual punishment for a father and daughter who were always close and knew what the other was thinking.
But I sort of met the Beatles, with a little help from my friends. They pooled their resources and sent a Polaroid (they went the way of VHS cassettes) of me, along with $5 (a lot of allowance money in those days), to some fan mail order company. And for my birthday, I received a gift I kept in one of the scrapbooks I assembled and still treasure. The photo of me “with” John, Paul, George, and Ringo proves that all you need is love.
By the time the Beatles broke up in 1970 I was in college and Frank Sinatra had a comeback.
Fast-forward to when I was at least 64, and my younger son happened to mention that one of his clients was Sir Paul’s stage manager.
A few weeks ago, my son called to ask if I wanted four tickets to see Sir Paul.
And for three non-stop hours, my husband and I and true friends were in mythical musical heaven. If my favorite 75-year-old guitarist, pianist, lyricist could stand for three hours, so could I. (Admittedly, the other reason I stood was that in order to see my knight, I had to look over Aaron Paul and Michele Monaghan’s bodyguard, who was built like a armored tank.)
Paul McCartney is not half the man he used to be. He can still electrify and edify, and I, along, with everyone else in the packed stadium knew every word of every song and we’re all still imagining the day the Beatles get back to where they still belong.
Just wish I could tell my dad all about the concert.
Back in the day
The author and her husband at Nassau Coliseum
Aaron Paul and Michelle Monaghan enjoying Sir Paul McCartney