“Am I the only one who remembers that summer?” — Layne Staley

Ah, the summer of 1995!  Despite my best efforts to find gainful employment outside the fast food industry, I was again a slave of the Evil Empire (who knew landscaping was so hard?).  And of course, that meant many long afternoons and even longer nights at the Great Ranch in Trumbull Township.  About this time, Lightning 101 had agreed to paint a mural of the cover of “Abbey Road” on the side of the Whiskey Saint’s barn.  I remember several summer afternoons spent playing hacky sack (badly) on the lawn with Lord Bacchus and Black Cloud (Black Cloud deservedly took a few hacks to the sack) while Lightning painted.  Actually, it was during one of those summer afternoons that the Whiskey Saint talked me into buying a car stereo for the Blue Lagoon, my beloved (and later despised, then beloved again) Pontiac Grand Am.  His advice (“Some purchases you will never regret”) led me to have my infamous talking CD player (“Hello–CD–play”) installed at the Sun Electronics in Mentor.  That CD player (sadly stolen in 1999 while I was eating at the Spaghetti Warehouse in Columbus), combined with my AC Delco 6X9 rear speakers, cranked some serious sound throughout northeast Ohio that summer 🙂

Anyhow, I’ve always loved “Abbey Road” ever since that summer.  My favorite Beatles album, it just has a certain vibe to it that brings back so many great memories.  Every time summer rolls around (the best time of year for a teacher), I find myself sitting outside on my back patio, sipping a tasty beverage and listening to “Abbey Road”.  It never fails to put me in a good mood.  Like most Beatles albums, the first side runs the stylistic gamut from ballads (“Something”) to whimsy (“Octopus’s Garden”) to twisted whimsy (“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”) to blues rock (“Oh! Darling”) to heavy blues rock (“I Want You”).  Throw in the funk groove of “Come Together” and you have quite the musical smorgasbord.  But to me, it is the medley on Side B that really takes the album to a whole new level.  At times sentimental (Paulie’s songs) and at other times scathing (Lennon’s contributions), to me the medley is sixteen minutes of musical bliss.  And the 3-part vocal harmonies throughout rival (and possibly exceed) those of the Beach Boys.

Somehow I can’t remember exactly how I came to be in possession of “Abbey Road”.  There are no clues on the case like a price sticker or a label, so I think I bought the CD new.  Actually, it appears to be new, despite surviving several moves and many years of play, and if I did buy it new, its likely I bought it at Media Play.  Now defunct, Media Play had several stores in Columbus, and in college I used to frequent the one on Sawmill Road (post-college, the one on Hamilton Road became a frequent stop on my way to church choir).  Much like any major chain book or record store, you never wanted to buy anything at Media Play for full price because their prices were way higher than the local shops and the discount stores.  But when Media Play had a sale, you could get brand new CDs (and later DVDs) for as cheap as $5.  So yeah, my guess is I got it at Media Play, but I might be completely wrong on that.

Lightning's Mural

Lightning’s Mural

Other lists: “Come Together” is #204 and “Something” is #278 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  The following songs appear on the RS list of the 100 Greatest Beatles Songs: #6 “Something”, #9 “Come Together”, #23 “Abbey Road Medley”, #28 “Here Comes the Sun”, #58 “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, #67 “Oh! Darling”, and #77 “Because”.

My favourite track(s): “Abbey Road Medley”

Honourable mention: “Oh! Darling”

Quote: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”

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