Friday, October 05, 2007

Once Upon A Long Ago....

I went to England. To be specific, it was twenty years ago this fall that I spent a semester as a student of Queen Mary College, University of London. It was a great experience, and perhaps I'll write a series of posts about it - but for now there's one aspect of it I want to talk about.

While I was there the song 'Once Upon a Long Ago' by Paul McCartney hit the top of the charts. You couldn't help hearing this song everywhere - on the radio - in the stores - all over. And I loved this song.

I thought about buying the tape and bringing it home with me - but opted not to. This was a well thought out decision. The stock market had crashed while I was there, and I (as well as my fellow American students) had been told by parents that the money we had already exchanged was all we'd be getting - because the exchange rate had tanked. So, economically, it made little sense to buy the tape there, when I was sure I could get it at home. After all, this was Paul McCartney - not some obscure singer. And the song was Number One. And had been for weeks.

So, I get home and find that no one over here has ever heard of the song. It's not playing on the radio. It's as if it doesn't exist. But, that's okay. I did know which album it was on, so all I had to do was wait for the album to be released in the states. And it was a 'best of' album. And it was Paul McCartney. All I had to do was wait, and I'd get my song.

I waited. And finally one day I saw the album "All the Best" in the stores. I picked it up, and turned it over - and checked the list of songs. 'Once Upon a Long Ago' was not on the album. I couldn't believe it. It was a number one song by Paul McCartney and I couldn't get my hands on it.

After that I began a fruitless quest to get this album. If someone was going to England - I'd ask them to look for me - but somehow things never quite worked out.

Then a few years later my friend and I were on vacation in Holland. We were eating breakfast in the hostel we'd stayed at and I became aware of music playing. And it was that song. I hadn't thought about trying to buy the song in Holland - but now the quest began anew.

And I was successful. I bought the tape, I was able to listen to the song again. All was right with the world.

Then last year, I was telling my children about this song, and the saga behind obtaining it. I wanted to play it for them. I found the tape. Found a tape player that worked and inserted tape. I fast-forwarded to right before the song, and hit play. We listened to the end of the previous song and 'Once Upon A Long Ago' started playing. And then stopped.

No matter how many times we tried, or on what player we used, my tape refused to work - when it got to that song.

So, once again, I didn't have the song. With the internet it's a bit easier now - you can order things from far and wide - so I knew all I had to do was find the CD and purchase it - but I hadn't got to it yet. Then the other day my mother reminded me about iTune - perhaps I could purchase just that song.

And then it hit me. Youtube. And I checked. And sure enough, there were actually two video versions of the song. Now, I can listen whenever I want, and I can share it with you - for Poetry Friday.

Once Upon a Long Ago
by Paul McCartney

Picking up scales and broken chords
Puppy dog tails in the House of Lords
Tell me darling
What can it mean?

Making up moons in a minor key
What have those tunes got to do with me?
Tell me darling
Where have you been?

Once upon a long ago
Children searched for treasure
Nature's plan went hand in hand
With pleasure
Such pleasure.

rest of lyrics here.

Poetry Friday is being hosted by Whimsy.


HipWriterMama said...

Thanks for sharing your story. That is too cool. It's amazing how a song just resonates within us. I can't believe how amazing a twenty years younger Sir Paul looks.

jama said...

Thanks so much for sharing this song and your connection to it. Paul has always been "my guy," and now I'm wondering what other songs of his I've missed while living in the U.S.

Meaning hunt said...


I found your post when searching about the meaning of this lyric... Yeah, I would like to know "what does it mean".
I would feel glad if you have this answer, as a reply comment...
Best Regards!