The Long and Winding Road

Blog 1670 – 04.18.2040

The Long and Winding Road

Last years’ movie tribute to the music of the Beatles, “Yesterday”, has a scene that I have watched now several times but that still touches me deeply. Jack Malik, the quite unsuccessful Brit of Indian descent singer-songwriter has become since a freak world-wide brief power outage, the seeming sole person to remember in an at first not so obviously changed world, the music of the Beatles, the taste of a Cola Cola, the taste of a cigarette, and a few other things.

When he is given a new guitar after recovering from being hit by a bus during the power outage that knocked out one of his front teeth and destroyed his old guitar, his friends beg him to play and sing so he says, “a new guitar deserves a great song” and he plays and sings a song only he it seems remembers “Yesterday.” I shared my version of it on this blog yesterday. The small group asks Jack, “When did you write that song?”He tries to tell them that he did not write it, but that Paul McCartney of the Beatles did, but no one else has ever heard him or the Beatles. Jack thinks they are joking but tries to google “the Beatles” later and keeps getting “beetles” instead. It seems that in his new reality the Beatles never were.

Jack had before his accident become quite discouraged with his unsuccessful ten years long singing and songwriting career and had announced to his manager his intention to give it up, his part time job as well, and go back to teaching children full time as she did. But after singing Yesterday and with a head and heart full of wonderful unknown by others Beatle songs Jack decides to give it another go. He does a few more gigs, records a few Beatle songs on a CD that he passes out free to customers at the bulk warehouse style retail store where he works part time. And from that CD he is invited to sing on a TV interview show sponsored by several  of the companies that make products his company sells.

Worldwide well-known singer/songwriter also Londoner Ed Sheehan having seen the TV broadcast and checking out the CD gives Jack a phone call, which Jack mistakes as a friend’s practical joke till Ed shows up at his parents’ home, where Jack still lives, to ask him to open for his group on the last leg of their European tour beginning in a few days. Jack, thrilled at the opportunity, agrees to do it.

On the plane to Moscow with Ed’s band and his new roadie and longtime quirky stoner friend, (his more reliable and trusted manager/teacher/friend cannot go, she is after all a teacher, and has parent/teacher conferences the first night of his new gig), Jack writes down from memory the words and music to Beatles hit, “Back In the USSR” planning to open for Ed Sheeran with it. When he does it, it is a raging success. The scene I like most follows that first opening act performance.

Ed having been quite impressed with the song Jack says he wrote on the three and one half hour plane ride without even a guitar to pick it out on, challenges Jack to an original songwriting contest. He and Jack will leave the group at the bar, go to their separate corners and have ten minutes to compose the best new song that they can in that time. They will both play their new songs to the group at the bar and the audience will decide the winner. Ed goes first playing his guitar and singing a very lovely if short love song and you can see by the pride in his eyes that he thinks he has nailed it. Then Jack sits down at the bar piano and plays and sings, “The Long and Winding Road.” No question which song is the winner, and as Ed admits, no need to vote for Jack’s song is hands down one of the best he has ever heard. Here is my version of it in tribute to Jack Malik and also to the Beatles.

The Long and Winding Road

May your road being as wonderful as I have found mine to be.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

David White

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