When he’s 67

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It was of course the team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney — as singers, songwriters, and instinctive harmonists — that was the organic entity that made the Beatles. We celebrate Paul McCartney’s birthday; today he turns 67.

One of McCartney’s earliest songwriting motifs was the projection of himself into the future looking back. It was a device he used to great effect in songs such as “Things We Said Today” (video below), “I’ll Follow the Sun” and “When I’m 64.”

All of 16 at the time he wrote “When I’m 64,” McCartney envisioned himself asking his prospective wife: “Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m 64?” The woman who seems to have been the love of his life herself died eleven years ago at age 56, long before McCartney turned 64.

Bring to mind any one of his tough, beautiful, moving songs — “We Can Work It Out,” “What You’re Doing,” “Tell Me What You See,” “I’m Looking Through You,” “Here, There and Everwhere,” “Penny Lane,” “Blackbird,” your own personal favorite. Recall the closing words of his throwaway rocker off the “White Album” — “I’m glad it’s your birthday/Happy birthday to you.”

PAUL adds: I usually take these occasions to add that McCartney is an Everton supporter, though anything but a passionate one. Recently Pete Best, the Beatles’ original drummer, provide a glimpse inside the Fab Four from a footballing perspective.

According to Best, the Beatles used to “kick the ball around a bit” together. John Lennon was the only one who had much talent.

Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison studiously avoided any show of allegiance to Everton or Liverpool because they did not want to alienate any portion of their local fan base. Best claims that even he didn’t know which Merseyside club the other Beatles supported.

Best himself was (and remains) a die-hard Evertonian. In the interview I read, he seemed to rate his association with Everton legend Brian Labone ahead of his association with Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison, though he sounded fond of the ex-Beatles.

Like many English sports fans of his generation, Best’s favorite soccer moment occurred in 1966. But it wasn’t England’s one-and-only World Cup triumph in overtime over West Germany. Rather, it was Everton’s come-from-behind victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup Final. Best saw it live at Wembley Stadium. So did Lennon and McCartney.

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