Grow old with me
The best is yet to be
"Grow Old with Me" is a tune penned by John Lennon. He never really made an official recording of it, but it showed up on his posthumous 1984 album, Milk and Honey. John was never really about the love songs. Not like Paul. Or even George. He was a cynical bastard with shitty parents. At five, they forced him to choose between them, and he ended up with his mom, who a year later gave him to her sister. Most of his songs betray those never-healing wounds. They're full of the anger and condescension of a hurt little boy who suddenly finds himself with a megaphone and a world stage to shout from. But then, something weird happened. He grew up. Maybe it was just his getting older, maybe it was his deep, loving relationship with Yoko Ono, but half his songs after the Beatles broke up are simple paeans to love. "Jealous Guy", "Beautiful Boy", "(Just Like) Starting Over", "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". Sure there's still some cynicism, but it's tempered through the lens of peace and love, less angry than bemused and bewildered at the idiocy of a world's populace that is so eager to destroy itself.
"Grow Old with Me" as recorded by John is a horribly produced song. He clearly recorded it on an old Radio Shack tape recorder that was completely in another room under a pillow or something, because it sounds awful. It's dressed up with the worst kind of schlocky strings and orchestra you can imagine, and is just by all accounts horrible. Had I heard that song alone, I would have skipped past it after the first few seconds.
But props to Mary Chapin Carpenter, another of those "country" artists who are about as country as Michael Bolton. She digs it out, strips it down, shines it up, and offers a beautiful little diamond in the rough. With her simple (though slightly sappy) orchestration, she allows the song itself, the lyrics and melody, to shine through. And shine it does.
This one is dedicated to my wife of 14 years. God bless our love.
"Grow Old with Me" is from Mary Chapin Carpenter's 1999 release, Party Doll and Other Favorites. The original can be found on John Lennon's posthumous Milk and Honey.
[You can listen to Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Grow Old with Me" by navigating to the post "Song101" and clicking or right-clicking on the title or the link.]