Paul McCartney

Guess who dropped in to Sgt. Peppercorn's Annual Beatles Marathon at the Bluestone the Saturday before Christmas?

A) Brian Epstein
B) Jeffrey Epstein
C) Herman of the Hermits
D) Paul McCartney!

Yes, via a 40-second video in which our beloved Macca wished Joe Peppercorn and his Lonely Hearts Band of talented locals the best of luck in their nowhere-else-in-the-world event of performing every officially released Beatles song in chronological order.

Talk about thrilling!

I believe he said something about 'stamina,' haha, and then very nicely suggested the first song to be Love Me Do, thereby establishing the word “love” as the first word the Beatles ever officially sang.

I'm down wit' dat, yo!

And so was our fearless, peerless leader, Joe Peppercorn, who delivers more love and emotion than any musician in this town when he performs. And all night long, baby, he goes all day and much of the night long. He ain't no 60-minute love man, he's Mr. 13-Hours of Heavenly Beatles Love Power.

OK, that's me being silly. But honestly, who plays every goldurn Beatles tune and then some – who?

Paul was strapped with his guitar so he strummed and sang a little bit of Do and then urged everyone to "carry on...forevah and evah and evah..." as he ended his little sweetheart of an acknowledgement with two big thumbs-up.

Don't know about you but I think that is one of the absolute coolest things I've ever had the pleasure to write about. And congratulations to the hardworking Peppercorn and his musical peeps. It only took 10 years to get The Big Man made aware – worth it.

Ah, back down to earth.

I do enjoy reliving that special opening moment, though.

But before I share a few glowing Beatles-loving thoughts about the five hours I attended, the message from McCartney wouldn't have happened had it not been for a friend of the Peppercorn band who wrote a letter to Paul's publicist back in February touting the bodacious marathon.

Paul was made aware, was pleased and impressed enough (who wouldn't be?) and took the time to have his little well-wishing message sent soon after. Only caveat it carried was that it not be put on the internet but shared at the show.

No prob, Paul – whatevah you say...Sir Paul.

So Joe's been sitting on that sucker for nearly 10 months, waiting. Wow – such discipline. "I still don't know how to wrap my head around it," he said as he kicked off the marathon. Modest Mr. Peppercorn.

Because of health concerns, I knew I didn't have it in me to do most of the day and night as I usually do. But by convenient coincidence, I was super-keen this year to hear the first few Beatles albums which of course Peppercorn and buddies do so extremely well and in particular the very first clutch of tunes from their very first album. I wasn't disappointed.

Please Please Me, the Beatles debut LP, is one of the most staggeringly brilliant debuts of all time and perhaps a little deceptively so given the culture-changing weight of what was to follow. After doing Paul's request of the first Beatles single, Peppercorn and the lads roared into the album's first four songs starting with I Saw Her Standing There, Misery, Anna (Go To Him) and Chains.

As much as I dearly loved Paul's cheery video to the event, I cannot overstate how fantastic it is to hear those first four songs played by the most incomparably competent band of Beatle lovers I've ever heard.

The sheer youthful sexual exuberance of Standing There with its superbly confident count-off (one two three FOH!); the soul-influenced originals of Misery and Chains, perhaps the first and last and best of the best of intelligent young love lyrics; and the Beatles complete understanding of great American soul with their brilliant pick of Arthur Alexander's Anna (Go To Him)--for some inexplicable reason I had literally spent the entirety of 2019 anticipating their performance by Joe and the Peppercorns.

How'd they do? Incredibly, you big dummy, what have I been saying? I felt like I was in Hamburg hearing them taking shape and sounding properly a little ragged, raw but oh-so-right. Or in the Cavern played at lunchtime in Liverpool, 1962. That day at the lovely, sturdy Bluestone church, I was a time-tripping musical Billy Pilgrim, digging historical reenactments of music that we did not know at the time but was instantly timeless the moment it was created nevertheless.

The rest of Please Please Me as done by Joltin' Joe and his rockers-not-mockers? Tremendous as were the following three albums including solo songs and Yellow Submarine done out of order for all the little kids who were so great to have around. Round five o'clock I took off knowing it would culminate after midnight, having heard what I wanted to hear and reached my pacemaker's maximum of excitement for one day.

I had gotten to see hero Paul, gray hair and all, his spirited message warmly received, and gotten to hear the early Beatles I so obsessively craved all year long. And I got to see our local hero Joe look up at McCartney speak to him and the band and the crowd. That was really what I came for. Damn, Joe, you did it, man, you did it. Well done.

Um, for the record, I've attended half of the 10 and usually stayed until the latest of hours. But was this year was special as all get-out though or what? I must admit – abso-Beatles-lutely.

To have this town's finest musical achievements finally recognized by one of its principle achievers was in itself one helluvan achievement. Again, congratulations to the Joe Peppercorn Beatles Marathon. See you next year, lads and dads, mums and kids. And in the inimitable words of the great Paul McCartney, carry on and on.

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