Peer pressure, the Beatles and me

Trying my hand at autobiographical writing here 🙂

I was never one to follow the crowd – in fact I’m not sure that as a child I even knew the crowd existed, let alone where they were going.  All I knew of David Cassidy and the Bay City Rollers was that my friend had stickers of them all over her wardrobe, and the first time I really became aware of the Beatles was when a classmate came in early one morning, threw herself down at her desk and burst into tears because “John Lennon’s been shot”.

The time I became really aware of the Beatles, though, was through an exercise in an English class.  We were given two sets of lyrics to read, and had to decide which we preferred.  These two sets were When I’m 64 and She’s Leaving Home.

When I’m 64 seemed trite and repetitive to me, and I loved the power of the story in She’s Leaving Home, but almost without exception the rest of the class put their hand up to prefer When I’m 64, and faced by such overwhelming numbers I realised I had to be wrong, and allowed my hand to go up as well.

When challenged, people answered that When I’m 64 has a much nicer tune.  That seemed unfair to me, as we were supposed to be judging on lyrics, not the tune, but I conceded that they obviously had far superior knowledge to me, who had never heard of either song, let alone heard them performed.

Years later I did get to know both songs, and you know what?  I still vastly prefer the lyrics of She’s Leaving Home, and now I’ve heard them both I far prefer the music of that one as well.  When I’m 64 still seems too jolly and superficial, while She’s Leaving Home has real depth and feeling behind it.  And maybe these days I’d be confident enough to actually stand my corner and argue against the rest of the class.  Well, I’d like to think so, anyway.


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  1. She’s leaving home is a brilliant song. Hubby had never heard of it when I met him. My mum was a HUGE Beatles fan so I knew a lot of the songs from when I was a kid 🙂



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