A decade aboard the yellow submarine

Jon Sklaroff crosses Abbey Road at age 18. These days, he's the guy who keeps the NCPR office running smoothly.

Jon Sklaroff crosses Abbey Road at age 18. These days, he’s the guy who keeps the NCPR office running smoothly.

At eighteen, when I went to England to visit family and friends, the one must-do was to go to Abbey Road. Here’s the blurry photo of me on the iconic cross-walk. It was raining, there was a lot of traffic, and my mother took the photo off-angle from the sidewalk—apparently British motorists have a bit of an attitude about tourists taking pictures there.

REVOLVER, top to bottom, was my favorite Beatles album when I was a kid—including “Taxman,” “Good Day Sunshine” and, of course, “Yellow Submarine.” Even if I didn’t understand the content, I still loved the songs.

For example, “Taxman,” probably because of the intro: “one, two, three, four, one, two…” You knew you were in for something great.

“Yellow Submarine” was at the top of my favorite’s list. If we were at home in the living room or in the car or in a store or wherever, whenever this one came on I had to stop and listen to it. Simpler times for me: a silly kid enjoying a silly song. What could be better?

Something about listening all the way through REVOLVER was like heaven for me. I remember listening to the album on CD but I know my parents had the entire Beatles collection on vinyl, too (which my sister eventually got a hold of—jealous, I am jealous).

As I grew up, my tastes changed. I started to eat broccoli, felt differently about girls, and about music. My album favorites changed but I still loved The Beatles.

My teenage years belonged to the WHITE ALBUM. A fast-paced guitar riff intro on “Back in the U.S.S.R.” fading into “Dear Prudence,” which has that slow intro building into great harmonies. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” has those somber tones any high school kid can relate to. The WHITE ALBUM also featured those out-there trippy songs like “Piggies,” “Rocky Raccoon,” “Helter Skelter,” and “Happiness is a Warm Gun”…happiness, bang bang, shoot shoot.

For a young man trying to figure out life in turbulent years, my one constant was The Beatles.

As I entered adulthood  ABBEY ROAD became—and still is today—my go to album if I’m throwing one on. Beautifully composed songs that are all over the place: from the spacey “Octopus’s Garden” to the optimistic “Here Comes the Sun.” I love the rapid fire succession of songs from “Mean Mr. Mustard” through “Carry That Weight,” five songs each under the two-minute mark. Something about the order of where songs land on each of The Beatles’ albums is magical for me.

The Beatles run deep in my family. I always get a kick when I hear my mom’s ringtone for a call from my sister set to “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” The choice almost speaks for itself: not an indictment of my sister but an example of my family’s sense of humor. I’m always tempted to swipe the paperweight my uncle has in his livingroom, made from his ticket to see The Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965. And, I plan on getting the “Let It Be” poster from my dad when he no longer has any use for it, even if I have to duke it out with my sisters.

The Beatles are timeless. Even though they broke up fifteen years before I was born, they were and still are forever a part of my life. Listening to them with my family—then and now—is simply bliss.

As I became an uncle for the first time a couple of years ago—to little Ms. Annie Jane, I’m waiting for the moment to share the family tradition with her. My sister won’t let me have a say in, for example, how Annie interacts with boys (I’d put her in an all-girls school and forbid dating until she’s 30), I do know The Beatles will be something special I can share with her as her uncle.

My family is my first love, and The Beatles said it first for me, All you need is love.


4 Comments on “A decade aboard the yellow submarine”

  1. Ellen Radford says:

    what an excellent decade it has been. you are always welcome to come over…and listen to them all on vinyl 😉

  2. jill vaughan says:

    Songs become part of our DNA when we encounter them at certain ages. Loved this.

  3. Caren (aka Mom) says:

    So delighted that the beautiful music of the Beatles has had such a powerful influence on your life. I remember your older sister telling me that New Kids on the Block was a classic group and would be around forever. No, said I…the Beatles are a classic group and THEY will be around forever. Always trust your mother.

  4. Yer Uncle says:

    a) It’s not a paperweight
    b) I’ll be hiding it when you pop over.

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