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All My Loving - the Beatles

Whoops, an error for those of you who received an uncompleted post of this.

One of those songs you can't properly sing Karaoke to, as the vocal begins before the instruments join in.

On a recent BBC front row review of the new Peter Jackson movie, "The Beatles: Get Back", (see last two posts) the wonderful folk/rock singer Eliza Carthy was asked if the Beatles were influenced by folk music and she replied that they definitely were and cited their lifting of bits of a Victorian lullaby for their song "Golden Slumbers". She then ruminated, "as far the Beatles are concerned the Beatles are folk music these days anyway – strike up a Beatles song in a pub and everyone’ll join in".

One January in the mid eighties my partner Anna and I had been to the theatre and had to run through the thick and falling snow to catch a late bus home on Piccadilly. The streets were more or less deserted and we felt lucky to see a bus still running at that time of night and in the cold, snowy conditions. It was one of the old style London buses, where you could jump on the platform at the back as it drew away, grabbing the pole, which we did, and sat down on the nearest seats, the ones running along the wall side just by the boarding point. Opposite us were a mousy looking middle-aged couple, scarfed and smothered in their coats, and in the seats further along were a cluster of late night punkish-looking girls and a guy, their hair defiantly pointy and rainbowed. Further along there was a guy in a pin stripe suit with his nose in a broadsheet and a bespectacled woman reading a paperback.

As we drove through the settling snow, the conductor bounced down the stairs and we showed him our bus passes, breath steaming from our mouths like locomotives after our short dash. Then, for no apparent reason, the conductor looked me in the eye and sang out loudly:

"close your eyes and I'll kiss you"

and I, caught in the moment, responded:

"tomorrow I'll miss you"

then one of the punk girls yelled from the back

"remember I'll always be true"

and suddenly we were all singing, bus driver, pinstripe, paperback, mousy couple, the lot, as we sped through the night, the conductor leading and conducting (as he should) with one Beatles song after another with new passengers joining in as they got on board.

"All my loving, I will send to you -oo-oo,

all my loving, darling I'll be true....."

It was a magical journey, one that had us feeling good for hours, and part of something big, a city, a country even, that wasn't defensive or aggressive, but warm and cosy.

I'm not sure you could do that with any other group, randomly sing songs which, like carols, everyone, of all ages, knows and can sing along to. So yes, Eliza, you were right, the Beatles are part of the folk music of our times. And long may it remain so.


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