Audio Lore

A Positive Music Blog

Friday, July 15, 2016

Beatles (For Sale)

 Over the years that I owned a record store in Historical Ellicott City, Maryland, there were a few regular customers that stood out. The first one would be the kid who worked as a dish washer across the street  at the Phenix who would come in every other Wednesday to order a tape so it would be there when he was paid the upcoming Friday. Then I would put it on the store stereo for him and together we would bang our heads (not literally of course) through a few songs. The tape was always the heaviest of the heaviest Christian bands such as the 80's thrash metal band Believer or Barren Cross. The kid told me he did not necessarily believe in the Christian stuff the bands were singing about but it was the only way his parents would let him listen to such loud music.

The second would be the Pappa John's pizza delivery guy who worked
around the corner on Route 40. Every couple weeks he would stop
at the store while making a delivery and order tapes by Jazz Fusion artists. I would see him in his convertible stopped at the light on Main Street while he delivered a pizza; he would be blasting whatever Chock Corea, Stanely Clarke, or other tape he had recently purchased,, When he saw me he would give me a thumbs up, turn the music up even louder, and continue on his way.

I  have to say my favorite regular customer was the Beatles guy. The guy was  probably in his late 30's to early 40's. The second time he came in we got to talking. He told me how when he 

was young he had been a patient at the mental 

hospital Taylor Manor (now Sheppard Pratt) up 

the street. He had“graduated” and officially 

released but ended up living nearby, so he went 

back later and got a job working in the cafeteria.

The guy told me how he just recently discovered the Beatles, falling instantly in love with their music. He said he did not get paid a lot at his job but would put away a little of each paycheck so at the end of the month he could purchase one of The Beatles albums on CD, The catch was he wanted to make sure to pick them up in the order they were released and would need my help in achieving that.

In order for the guy (and myself) to not become too confused with all the different UK versus US versions of each album, I decided we should concentrate on the North American discography. In 1998 Introducing The Beatles and  a few of their other early releases were  not yet available on Compact Disc so Meet The Beatles was going to be the designated starting point. When he picked up his copy the smile on his face went from ear to ear. He told me how he could not wait to give it a spin.

A month later when the guy showed up I had a brand new shrink wrapped copy of the next album that was available on compact discovered; Hard Days Night, waiting for him. Before he left with his CD the guy told me how he played Meet The Beatles over and over again at home and while at work. At one point he even had the whole cafeteria staff singing along to “I Saw Her Standing There”, “It Won't be Long”, and of course “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
Every month the guy would show up like clockwork
to claim his prize for month of hard work he put in just up the street at the Taylor Manor cafeteria just up the street from my store. It was HelpRubber SoulRevolver, Sgt Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, which he confided in me was not his favorite of the Fab Four's recordings, The White Album, and so on.

When I would order the CD's for the guy I would also make sure to order a few copies for the store

too. Soon I realized as I was ordering the Cd's for the guy to discover, I was listening to them too,

gaining a whole new appreciation for these albums I had not listened to in full since I was in my

teens and my parents lent me theirs.

Sure I remembered all the hits but this was the first time in years I was hearing so many of the great Rubber Soul, “And Your Bird Can Sing” and “I've Just Seen a Face” as well as “For No One” off of Revolver.
album cuts like “I Need You” and “Another Girl' off of Help.
When we reached The White Album. I totally forgot about such great songs like “Happiness is Warm Gun”, George Harrison's “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and the wacky out of nowhere songs like “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” and “Rocky raccoon”.

But then it happened. After months of coming in to pick up compact disc copies of Meet The Beatles to Abbey Road , the guy came in to pick up his copy the last  Beatles album: Let It Be. He had his usual ear to ear smile on his face. As he was about to leave with the final piece of the Beatles puzzle, the smile briefly left as he turned to me and said, “I guess that's it”.

I said back, “What do you mean”. 
The guy shrugged and said, “ That's all their albums”. Then he looked at the ground and said, “There are no more to get”.

There was a brief moment of silence.

Then I said, “Now you can work on getting all the solo albums”