My guitar…weeping…maybe not so gently

I’m standing in front of a teleprompter at noon today (for those who don’t know…that’s the thing that makes TV people look smarter than they really are). I see the words “Baby Boomers are mourning…” at the top of the screen. I know the story is going to be about the death of Beatle George Harrison. I start to get a little miffed. Baby Boomers? What about the rest of us?

When I was much younger, I broke away from music like Styx, Taco, Bon Jovi, and Duran Duran and found the Beatles. I was way past their prime. John Lennon died before I really got into the music. But, the Beatles changed the way I listened to tunes. And they changed the way a lot of people in my generation listened to music.

I can remember spending hours with Dave (bass player for the now defunct Flaming Puppies) trading Beatles trivia, trading Lennon and Harrison guitar licks, and seeing who could harmonize to “We Can Work It Out.” I remember countless Dec. 8 John Lennon Tributes. For about three or four years, the Beatles were my life. I even wrote a thesis on Charles Manson and some of his ramblings about Helter Skelter.

Of course, most everybody knew John was The Beatle. All of them had their talents (with Ringo maybe being the exception), but John was what we were into. So, Harrison’s death…while sad…isn’t anything like Mark Chapman gunning Lennon down in front of his New York townhouse. I didn’t know enough to be sad when that happened.

But, I know things have changed a bit. I’m not sure the young’uns of today will treasure the Beatles as much as we did. Why?

As I watched the teleprompter scroll down to the rest of the story…I saw that the young producer had written “BEETLE George Harrison has died of cancer.” In one fell swoop she had taken the BEAT from the Beatles.

So…just in case you’re one of those people who doesn’t know…The Jeff Healy Band didn’t write “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” George Harrison did.

And he died today.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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