From Erica’s Journal
May 29, 2016 - London, UK
I got dressed and took the tube to St. John’s Wood. Of course, I got lost.
I ended up near a hospital where I asked the door’s security guard which way I needed to go. He said I just needed to keeping heading straight so I did …
and then I saw the cross walk … and then I couldn’t breathe.
Hey friends, I know it’s been a minute. I’ve been doing lots of writing for other places lately, but today is Abbey Road’s birthday. She’s FIFTY YEARS OLD, and I couldn’t let today pass without writing about what this album has done for me.
During the summer of 2016, I was lucky enough to spend some time studying abroad in London, and for anyone who knows me, it only makes sense that before I even packed my bags, I knew I wasn’t going to leave London without doing two things – Buy coffee at every coffee shop I walked by, and visit Abbey Road.
You’re a smart crowd, right? You know who The Beatles are. I’m literally so exhausted, please don’t make me give you background on that. They’re the biggest band ever. You’re supposed to know, but I will tell you this – Abbey Road, the album full of songs from one of the last sessions where all four band members participated, was released on September 26, 1969, and the magical thing about it is many people who were around back then to witness its release are still around celebrating it today. Even better, their children and their grandchildren and their grandchildren’s friends’s sister’s uncle’s brothers are all celebrating it. If that doesn’t show you the power of music, I don’t know what does.
What’s beautiful about The Beatles is how influential their songs were, not only over individual people, but groups of people. For college kids and families and flower childs. The list goes on … But you knew that because you’re smart.
I walked to the front of it and took a seat on the planter wall just before the crosswalk. It’s obviously a tourist attraction, so it was a busy intersection. British drivers are angry, but I wasn’t. I was so so happy. Of all the places I’ve been around here, this one made my heart so full. I never really actually thought that I’d ever do that .. I mean, since I was a little girl, their music was part of my life.
My parents are the best because they raised me on Beatles music. That’s the stuff I grew up with. That’s why I’m here. The Beatles are the reason why I love music the way I do now, and if I were to explain all this from the beginning then we’d be here a very long time so I won’t, but I’ve shortened it down to few sentences.
I was seven years old when I had my head pressed against the stereo listening to The Beatles 1 album on repeat thinking the rhythm section in “Eight Days a Week” was the most amazing thing.
I was nine when my parents took me to my first concert – Paul McCartney Live at The Arrowhead Pond – and I watched a live band play in front of thousands of people for the first time.
I was twenty-two years old when I got blackbirds tattooed on my hand.
I sat there for an hour just watching people walk by, trying to take it all in.
Bottom line, Beatles music means a lot to me. So, I don’t know if you can even fathom what it means for a girl like me to have been able to cross Abbey Road. So many people are sharing their favorite songs from the album and reminiscing about the band today, but for some reason, the words “Abbey Road” feel like so much more than just an album or a few pieces of music strung together to make this beloved work of art. It feels like an entire movement. A whole symbol. Representative of a lifetime of meaning.
I crossed twice, and once I did, I started crying and I was shaking. There was so much happiness there.
Can we do a quick lyric dive – the way I’m actually supposed to on this site … Here are my favorite tracks off this record.
First of all, it’s musically enchanting by use of the DRUMS. I love that. Thank you, Ringo. The second thing I love about this song is that over the years and since 1969, whether The Beatles intended it or not, this song has become somewhat of an anthem for unity and friendship and the act of being human to each other … and Ringo kills it.
I’m the biggest Paul McCartney fan, and if you ask me which era was my favorite, I’ll tell you it’s the Help! era because of the way his voice sounds on that album. There’s a harsh kind of tone that’s not usually present in his voice. You can hear it on songs like “The Night Before” and “Another Girl,” and then you rarely ever hear it again UNTIL YOU GET TO THIS TRACK. It’s heart-wrenching. It’s crazy. I love it, and when I thought I couldn’t love him more, he went and wrote “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Ringo also kills the drums on this.
Did you know it took them like 34271948792 hours to get these harmonies down? You just have to appreciate it. Lennon once said, “The lyrics speak for themselves … No imagery, no obscure references.”
Because the world is round it turns me on
Because the world is round
Because the wind is high it blows my mind
Because the wind is high
Love is old, love is new
Love is all, love is you
Because the sky is blue, it makes me cry
Because the sky is blue
The thing I love the most about this song besides its breathtakingly beautiful lyrics is that when you read the words, it seems simple, but one day when I was younger – when my therapist used to recommend I should listen to an album that made me happy once a day – I had this song on repeat and realized that if you have it on repeat, or if you say the words repeatedly it never ends because the word “because” is the start and the end of the sentence, and the only explanation that follows the word “because” is the word “love,” so you just repeatedly keeping coming back to love – and I need to stop typing or I will start sobbing right now.
Here Comes The Sun
George Harrison is SUCH a great lyricist. I wish so badly that people would listen to his works more. My favorite thing is the imagery behind, “The smiles returning to the faces,” backed with the pretty melodies this song offers. It feels warm and beautiful, and if you’re having a bad day, just play this.
To get back homeward
To get back home
Do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby
This song is one of my favorite poems of all time. Some teachers used to get mad when I said that Paul McCartney was my favorite poet in school, but he is, and I stand by it. When I got to see him three months ago on tour, he played this song, and every time he says, “Sleep pretty, darling. Do not cry,” I do, in fact, just cry because sometimes I just need the reminder, and DO NOT even get me started on the string section in this song.
June 3, 2016 - London, UK
I bought a sharpie so I could sign the wall so I went back to Abbey Road today. It was freezing outside, but for the record, walking was just as exciting the second time as it was the first time. I was a little more calm though … Maybe … Who knows?
I got to the other side and stared at the wall where there were probably a million signatures from literally all over the world.
The wall had everything on it from heartfelt messages to artists that recorded here to marriage proposals. From Australia. From Thailand. From Hong Kong. It was beautiful.
I had my latte in one hand and my sharpie in the other, and as I took the cap off the pen with my mouth, I realized I hadn’t even given any thought about what I was going to write.
Looking back on it now, I guess I wasn’t thinking … I ended up writing lyrics, but I don’t remember thinking about it. It was kind of like my heart knew what I wanted to write before my mind did.
After writing, a man with an accent that I want to say was Russian asked if he could use my pen. I smiled and handed it to him. It was so cool to share the experience here, like we were all here for the same reason. We were all fans and we were all here.
The Studios Shop is so cool. There was a beautiful portrait of George Martin up which made me sad, but after a while, the sun started setting so I left and began retracing my steps. I remember taking a deep breath in and taking in the scene as I crossed Abbey Road one last time, and then headed back to the dorms for dinner with a happy heart.