Side 3

Today is a somber day for me. It is the fourteenth anniversary of the passing of a man whom I never met.

Those who know me well know that I have an encyclopedic knowledge of The Beatles. It is both a useless and helpful quality of mine. I can usually default to it as an ice breaker or reference point. It is amusing for some when I can make analogy to The Beatles in any given situation. My wife sometimes muses that I need win big on “Jeopardy!” if the The Beatles were ever a category.

My useless knowledge actually earned me a Grand Prize for a Radio Contest about twelve years ago. We were living in Massachusetts at the time and a local Classic Rock Station was running a trivia call-in contest. I was driving home with the wife and kids, heard the question, called in on a whim and answered the question correctly. My name was then entered into a Grand Prize Drawing for dinner with musician Neil Innes at the upcoming Beatles Convention.

Yes, you heard correctly. There are fan conventions for Beatle Fans. One of these was coming to the Boston Area. Neil Innes is a musician and satirist. He appeared with his band, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band,  in The Beatles 1967 movie, “Magical Mystery Tour.” Later, Neil collaborated with the Monty Python comedy troupe. He is affectionately considered to be the “Seventh Python.” Innes was also responsible for The Rutles, a spot-on, cutting Beatles Parody.

Neil was also one of George Harrison’s best friends.

Surprisingly, my name was drawn for the Grand Prize for a three-day pass to The Fest for Beatles Fans Convention and dinner with Neil Innes. My wife and I had such an entertaining evening with Mr. Innes and a local DJ. We talked about many things from education to the prophetic nature of the film, “Network.” Neil was a witty and affable dinner companion. He possessed no star ego trips and provided the soft momentum for conversation.

This dinner had taken place a couple of years after George Harrison’s death. In the course of our conversation, Neil made a mild reference to a conversation he had with Paul McCartney at George’s private memorial service. It was a quick side bar from Neil but it was powerful. He shared a very poignant moment regarding his friend’s service. The reference humanized my icon for me.

When we got to the end of our time with Neil, my wife and I shared our favorite song by The Rutles and asked for an autograph. Neil complied with class and later dedicated our favorite song to Deb and me during his live performance.

There was so much more I wanted to share with Neil but it was time for us to move back to our respective pockets in the world. I wanted to tell Neil how his friend’s first solo album serves as soundtrack for solace for me. I wanted to tell him how his friend’s album, “All Things Must Pass” uplifts and inspires me on a daily basis. I yearned to share with him how Side 3 of that album carried me through the post-traumatic stress of being mugged at gunpoint when I was a college student in Washington, D.C.  “Beware of Darkness” is the lead-off track on that Side 3 and the opening chords echo for me that the world is both a place of danger and safety. The song reassures me that the all will be well if you simply stay aware and that life’s pitfalls can be conquered.

I just wanted to say that Side 3 of “All Things Must Pass” was a pillar of solace for me during a difficult time. I wanted to express how grateful I was for his friend sharing his gifts of wisdom and music with so many.

I never did say those things.

George Harrison died fourteen years ago today.  His album, “All Things Must Pass,” was recorded and released forty-five years ago.

I am forty-five years old.

George Harrison’s words and music continue to resonate for years to come. For me, there will always be Side 3.


4 thoughts on “Side 3

  1. If there´s someone who can understand you, that person is me!!!
    i´d like you to know that I am bit older than you, 51 🙂 and I used to belong to the Beatles´Fan Club here in Argentina.
    When I was around 12 and listened to Dark Horse, I fell more in love with George´s music and his voice. I also dreamed of being his wife…that sort of girl stuff (I used to sign: Fabiana Casella-Harrison! Lol)
    I have been a Beatles´fan since I was 10.Their music haunted me and although I listened to many other artists, I always go back to them. I only got to see Ringo when he came here in Buenos Aires 2 years ago, I didn´t have the chance to see Macca, because in 2010 my baby was only 2 and I felt guilty of going to a rock concert and leave her with my husband. (What a mom!!), Paul never came back after that year!
    As soon as I saw your tweet, I that I just finished watching Concert for Bangladesh in George´s loving memory.
    Also, that day GH passed, I was teaching at ERHS (Rowan Co, NC). I had only been there for 2 months as an international teacher, so nobody knew me very well. As soon as I had read the news, I burst into tears (glad I was in my planning period). At that moment a teacher passed by my door and asked me why I was crying , he thought somebody close had died! Oh my! All Things…is a masterpiece, the more I listen to it the more I like it! My personal anthems: Awaiting On You All and Beware Of Darkness (I love EC too!)
    Well, all this craziness shouldn´t scare you, I am full-time mom of an 8 year old princess and of a 19 year old musician. More later!
    Greetings from Buenos Aires!


    • Fabiana, Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog post. It is good to know that music unites and binds us together. I appreciate your sharing and candor. What an honor to be connected with you!
      With much gratitude,


  2. Wow what insight into your life and vulnerability about a time so scary. I am glad for you that you had that dinner experience with Neil. May side 3 forever reverberate within you, Sean and heal you and remind you of a more innocent time.


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