Stop me if I’ve told this story before…
During the three years I lived with my mom and stepdad in Michigan, I was not allowed to buy music or even go into record stores. I was already exhibiting characteristics of being a music nerd, and the fact that I couldn’t do this thing that brought me joy (and I was already used to even though I was 8) greatly upset me.
The only times I was afforded the opportunity to walk into a record store in that three year span (even to peruse) was during the summer when I would stay with my grandparents in Brooklyn. My grandfather-as much of a hardass as he was-would let me pick out two tapes each summer to listen to. My memory may not be serving me correctly, but in 1986 I think I was lucky enough to pick out two tapes on two separate occasions. My selections for the summer ended up being Prince’s Parade, Wham!’s Music From The Edge Of Heaven, Janet Jackson’s Control, and a Beatles compilation entitled Rock & Roll Music.
One song I kept coming back to on that Beatles comp was “Get Back”. It sort of told a story, it had some goofy joking at the beginning about some person who thought she was a cleaner but she was a frying pan (drugs, y’all), and it contained a piano sound that sounded warm and inviting to my ears. Turns out that piano (an electric piano, to be exact) came courtesy of a non-Beatle. Billy Preston, he of the gigantic Afro and gap-toothed grin, was invited into the studio at the behest of his buddy George Harrison and provided keyboard accompaniment to “Get Back” as well as “Don’t Let Me Down”, which I’ve previously written about.
Listening to “Get Back” with 2019 ears; it’s kind of simple and silly. But ain’t nothing wrong with a little bit of silly and simple sometimes.