Song: "Here, There and Everywhere"
Writers: John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Band: The Beatles
I first discovered the Beatles through my parents' record collection. Mom and Dad were never much into rock'n'roll but they did have a few old LPs lying around for my sister and me to scavenge. For the Fab Four, they had three vinyl classics: The Beatles' Second Album, Help! and Revolver. Early on, I'd say that I preferred the first two plus "Yellow Submarine" from the third. But in truth, I didn't give the Beatles much thought. Top 40 radio in the early-to-mid '80s suited me just fine and I rarely if ever explored very far beyond it.
The day after seventh grade, my sister and I went to see a movie that changed my life: Ferris Bueller's Day Off. No, I was not inspired to play hooky. What really made an impression on me was the "Twist and Shout" scene. On that day, the Beatles stopped being my parents' dusty old band and became MY band - the only one that mattered much to me over the next few years. My personal journey of musical exploration had begun.
Back to the record cabinet I went. Now that I was a little older and more receptive, Revolver made a more profound impression on me, especially track #4 (#5 in the UK). "Here, There and Everywhere" blew me away. I listened to it over and over and over again. I was head-over-heels in love with that song and even now, 25 years later, it tugs at me as few other songs in the world do. I believe without a doubt that HT&E contains the most perfectly constructed melody of the 20th century. Beethoven would weep to hear that song, wishing he'd composed it himself. McCartney has called it his own favorite among his Beatles songs and it's easy to understand his pride - inasmuch as the man who wrote "Silly Love Songs" is entitled to have an opinion about his own music.
For our wedding, I created an a cappella arrangement of the song. I sang it to my bride with a few of my old pals. Our musical tastes have only modest overlap but she loves it, too.
As a teacher, I use HT&E to demonstrate melodic contour. One centuries-old convention of composition is that a melody should have either a single high point (one note that is higher in pitch than all of the others) and/or a single low point. HT&E provides a wonderful study as nearly every phrase has BOTH. I love the chromatic guitar run in the bridge, too: a McCartney trademark (though played by Mr. Harrison).
I've heard and performed a lot of music from all over the world - masterworks aplenty. There have been times in my life when I might have called another song my favorite but HT&E is home base, the point where all of my explorations began and the point to which I always return.
I hope you'll join us for the "30 Songs in 30 Days" challenge, inspired by the tumblr list. My friends Mock (Stay on target...) and Marc (Marc Whitman's Blog) have also taken up the challenge. It's never too late to post your own. Tomorrow is...
Day 2: Your Least Favorite Song