The Beatles came at the beginning of my formative years. I have older siblings so there was other music introduced to me before the Beatles. I liked some of their earlier stuff but never quite got into the screaming, hormonal condition of so many fans. Previously music was not so much about the lyrics for me as it was about the notes. Playing an instrument in school gave me the opportunity to feel into the music itself. There were lots of songs I sang around the house, singing parts with mumbled sounds when the words escaped me, dancing with the record covers in my hands so the words were close, and then there was one song whose phrases just stuck.
All my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay,
Oh, I believe in yesterday……
There’s a shadow hanging over me,
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.
I knew this was about a love gone wrong but that is not what I heard or what struck me deepest. I was 12. The concept of love that had come and gone was non-existent. I hadn’t been bitten yet! It was the concept of ‘Yesterday’. How it was a specific time in space. It wasn’t just about memories. It marked events. It could mark you. It carried a “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger sign. It became a rite of passage for me. “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away.” Yet there was another aspect to Yesterday. It could change today and tomorrow. It could return to haunt you or drive you further. It was something to be reckoned. It could stop you. You could get stuck in it.
Allowing yesterday to determine your identity left you stuck and only partial of the self you were. It does become a shadow, casting out the light of today, the mist of tomorrow, holding you captive. There is an art to turning yesterday into today. It isn’t an art only open to lyricists, painters, and writers. Oh no, it is available to all who want to live to the fullest possible self.
As others fell deeper in love with John, Paul, and George I fell to pondering their lyrics and those of others. I took to analyzing all songwriters as my world grew. What were they doing with these lyrics? Where they writing with a higher energy bringing metaphors and symbols to waken me, stop me in my tracks, push and pull me when I grew tired, or were they just singing what I felt deep inside. There were some genres I did not resonate with no matter how often I listened. Some music struck me but the words repulsed me. It was those who wrote with the same cadence of essence as “Yesterday”. The same mysticism in the lyrics of that song appeared in other songwriters. It was those songs that stuck a chord deep within me. A chord that cautioned me on miring myself deeper when I should be moving forward. Years later I can still feel that mark of time, that essence of those simple lyrics whenever it is played.
Music played its secondary roll of fun, stages, and road trips all through my life as it does for all of us. I can dance for hours, sing at the top of my lungs completely out of tune, joyous in the moment every time I hear music. It brings back days of youth, special occasions, love won and lost but it is the mysticism that holds my soul. It is the timelessness, the universality and connectedness.
Awake your soul! Let Yesterday be yesterday!