Chris Johnson

It was a long and winding road for him from the moment he was born

I had a birthday last week. I won’t tell you which number birthday it was, but here’s a hint: The No. 1 song on my birthday was “The Long and Winding Road” by The Beatles.

(See, kids, The Beatles were this musical group that formed back in the ‘60s when superstars knew how to play instruments and write music. And they didn’t put “Lil’” in front of their names.)

“The Long and Winding Road” was written by Lil’ Paul McCartney of The Beatles as the group was on its last legs. I’m late Beatles old, not “Love Me Do” old. My wife is “In the Year 2525” old, my Dad is “The Old Lamp-Lighter” old and my mom is “Twelfth Street Rag” old.

When I worked full-time at the Ledger-Enquirer, the kind of folks who now regurgitate Trump’s “Fake news!” line are the same kinds of folks who back then referred to the Ledger-Enquirer as the “12th Street Rag.” I had no idea then that it was a song. Maybe they didn’t, either. Of course, the newspaper office has since moved a couple of blocks and is now on Broadway. Using “On Broadway” as a song reference for today’s Ledger-Enquirer doesn’t have quite the same zing as “12th Street Rag.” Better stick with “Fake news!” as that requires much less thought.

There are all kinds of websites out there that can tell you the No. 1 song, the No. 1 movie and the No. 1 book for a particular day, such as the day you were born, the day you graduated or the day Uncle Joe got killed at the zoo — I think that one was Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.”

The No. 1 movie on the day I was born was “Two Mules for Sister Sara,” which I’ve never seen, and the No. 1 book was Erich Segal’s “Love Story,” which I’ve never read. But I’ve definitely heard my share of Beatles music throughout my long and winding road. In fact, my parents had a whole collection of Beatles’ LPs that I played throughout my early years — although they did not own a single copy of “The Old Lamp-Lighter” or “Twelfth Street Rag.” Go figure.

Amazingly enough, I’ve heard Lil’ Paul perform “The Long and Winding Road” in concert. It was just five years ago in Atlanta, when Lil’ Paul performed a mere 39-song set. I guess my long and winding road is nothing compared to his. In fact, the man is still selling out stadiums.

I wonder what the kids born today are going to think 40 years from now when they Google, “No. 1 song the day I was born.” I’d hate to know I entered the world to the tunes of Kendrick Lamar, Lil’ Yachty, Luke Bryan or Jason Aldean. If that had happened to me, my first words straight out of the womb would have been, “Ain’t y’all got some Jimmy Buffett, Beatles or Willie Nelson? This stuff hurts my ears. Has Norah Jones been born yet? Oh, and I’m cold.”

I guess once your road gets long and winding enough, you hate the current day’s music — or what passes for it. My parents hated my music in the 1980s, especially the tunes that accompanied my “Learn to Breakdance” poster on the wall. “Freak-A-Zoid” is a highly underrated song, by the way. And my grandparents hated the rock-n-roll my parents listened to as teens. My granddad actually played in the band that backed Cowboy Copas (who died in the plane crash with Patsy Cline) before he went to World War II and had his legs machine-gunned off in Tunisia. He never quite bridged the gap from Cowboy Copas to Chuck Berry and just yelled at them to “Cut that #$^&! music off!”

I just don’t believe kids today will be catching a Lil’ Yachty concert 40-something years after they were born. Lil’ Paul, maybe, but not Lil’ Yachty.

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