The Beatles and My Depression

This could have been about any band. Good music helps lifts anyone’s mood so there are many bands and songs that I could write about but for the last six months I’ve been listening to The Beatles a lot, including watching the eight hour documentary Get Back twice since it aired on Disney+ in November. 

Most of the time I have friends to talk to when I feeling down, but sometimes in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep you can’t really text a friend. So when this happens I listen to music with my headphones on. This is when the choice of music can help me get out of the down period and quickly. Songs in my mind are linked to people or moments and that makes me happy. If there is a song that I’m listening to when I’m spending time with someone, in my head I will always think of a certain person when I hear it. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley is one such song, with Best of You by the Foo Fighters reminding me of being in America as it was on the radio all the time. With a band like The Beatles whose music changes so much during the eight years they were releasing music,  there are songs that cover what I just mentioned for very different reasons.

We all know the songs The Beatles made, so I really don’t need to go into too much detail with them, we all tap our feet and move our shoulders when Twist and Shout comes on and if there is no one around dance like Ferris in the scene when it is played in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. A lot of their songs from the first half of sixties are like this (they still made them in the late sixties) but it’s the song from their latter albums that for me lifts me up when I need it.

During the last few years of The Beatles, all four members suffered from depression and they wrote songs about it, which was unusual for that time as people didn’t talk about it back then. It’s this that has given me a connection to the songs, knowing George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr all felt the same way as I feel and manage to write such amazing songs about that feeling. Its almost as if they are talking you through it. When George wrote about having been down in Here Comes The Sun

‘Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces

Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here’

When I listen to this song I can think that this feeling with be over soon.

‘…I feel the ice is slowly melting’

And everything will be clear soon, that can really lift up. When Paul wrote about it in Let It Be, he wrote about his mother coming to him in a dream telling him to let everything be and he will be ok. Now of course because we talk about it more, we have have friends to tell us that, ‘you can do it’.

Their songs help me because even though they are singing about being down, there is always an upside. We can get through this, George even sung ‘All Things Must Pass’. There is an optimism in their songs that lifts me out of my down time. It’s like your musical heroes are saying to you, yeah we are down too but we can get through it. 

There are many more of their songs they did as a group and on their solo albums that we can relate to and when we can relate to something it can often help us, knowing that we are not the only ones going through this. So even though these songs are over 50 years old, they have become relevant to me and many others right now. This little thing of listening to music helps me a lot when I need it  and hopefully will some people who are reading this, whatever music you listen to. I’m very lucky that I have friends that I can talk to when I’m down, but some times late at night when the black dog comes I can always put on the headphones and listen to The Beatles.


Memories With A Loved One We’ve Lost

I’ve thinking a lot about my Uncle Terry these last couple of weeks. He died from Covid back in December 2020 (the time period that had been in the news a lot due to ‘partygate’). More specifically, I’ve been thinking about things that we did when I was young. We once went to watch Wales play rugby in the old National Stadium (along with my Dad on a trip organised by the local rugby club). On one of these trips, we stopped to watch my first cricket match and even though I think the group went there because the queue for the bar was a lot smaller, I enjoyed the cricket anyway.

However before that memory there was one event that took place that involved my love of music, even as an 8-year-old, and my first visit to a pub.  

Back when I was that age I was obsessed with this artist, loved everything they did. One day my Uncle told me that in the local pub that he played darts for, they had just taken a delivery of what was at the time a state-of-the-art video jukebox. Of course this was before MTV and the myriad of other channels that showed music videos. Just to pique my interest even more he told me that it was in the room with the Pool Table. He told me that one day in the upcoming summer holidays he would check with the landlord if it would be ok for me to come with him one afternoon and have a couple of games of Pool and pick videos on the jukebox.  

The following week my Uncle came to my house and said that he would take me to the pub the first day of the summer holidays and he give me a list of some of the songs that was on the jukebox. Uptown Girl – Billy Joel (yes!) Down Under – Men At Work (yes!) Can’t Hurry Love – Phil Collins (yes!) I was already trying to work out how much money I would need to be able to watch all those videos and then at the end of the list, I saw the title of a video I was desperate to see, one of the first singles I owned and I just couldn’t wait to see it. Now these days, you could just ask Siri to play the video, but you have to remember, this was when phones had buttons and no screens!!!

The day finally came and I was about to set foot inside The Punch House, my first time ever in a pub! We walked into the Pool room and I could hear Karma Chameleon. I turned around and saw the biggest tv I ever saw, it must have been at least 40 inches (or the little tv as it’s called now). I walked up to the jukebox and just stared at the screen, after standing in awe for a few minutes I snapped out of it to check that the video I wanted to see was on the jukebox. It was and I couldn’t wait to throw as much money in the video jukebox as it wanted to take from me.  

We played a few games of Pool while I waited for the videos that have already been picked to have been played, as each video finished and I was filled with hope that the video would finally be the last video, but each time my hopes were dashed. Then the time came, the final video played and I finally got my turn to watch the video that I have been waiting for, I put the money in and pressed the button and there it was! The moment I was waiting for, the video for Rat Rappin’ by the puppets Roland Rat and Kevin The Gerbil. I was in heaven, watching them on a giant 40” screen (as I said, times were different then.)

I know that is not the coolest first time in a pub story, going there to watch two puppets rap but I still remember it like it was yesterday and it gave me a good memory of the time I spent with my Uncle who is no longer with us. Also, I would just like to point out that I did listen to cool music at time. I was 8/9 year old when it happened and liked puppets as well, who didn’t at that age.