94. Teardrops

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Teardrops - so hard to take - I got a soaking
with those
Teardrops - and it feels like I have taken over from
the rain.

I don't look up before I finish singing. I can't. I can't watch anyone watching me sing. With coaching and gentle encouragement from George, I'm a little better than I was - I couldn't have imagined doing even this a few months ago - but I'm still cripplingly self conscious. I don't really know when it happened. I knew I wasn't performing well when I sang with Ricky - he let me know often enough - but I still did it. I went on stage every night and I battled through. Similarly, I sang with Minnie when we were working on the album, but somehow I didn't feel under such pressure then. I stopped when I went to Whitby and when I was pregnant with Bobbie, and after I'd had her, it just seemed insurmountable to start again. 

I did the whole song, albeit quite short, concentrating on the note page of scribbled lyrics I copied down from the tape as Minnie sang them. Nervously, I look up. It's the first in over eighteen months that I've sung someone other than George, but he's not even listening.

John sits in front of his brown upright piano, lost in his own world. He has his hands on the keyboard, lightly touching the keys as if he's playing, but not actually pressing them down enough to produce any sound. He has his head bowed, a far-away look on his face. 

'So, what do you think?'

John looks up, startled. He takes a deep breath, sucking in air through his nose like he's just jolted awake from a bad dream. 'Yeah,' he says, gruffly. 'Sounds good, Spanner. What... What's that one again?'

'Nothing But A Heartache. It'll be the Raindrops style song.'

He nods, but it doesn't seem to register with him. He looks down at the piano again, then removes his hands and lets them drop heavily into his lap.

I go over to the piano, placing my lyric notes on top of it. 'You'd have to hear the tape of Minnie singing it to get the full effect,' I tell him. 'She sings it with so much... power. Honestly, John, it's brilliant. I don't know when she recorded it.'

'Where's the tape?' he asks, still with his eyes on the piano keys.

'At Abbey Road. Geoff made me a copy on a reel to reel tape. I should have brought it, I didn't think.'


'Geoff Emerick. The engineer.'

'Oh,' John says. 'Right. Yeah, he's alright, Geoff.' He glances up and nods at me, vaguely. He's quiet today. Distracted. He's only been back in England a few days, having come home a little earlier than planned from LA. He's probably still jet-lagged.

'It's a proper old style Raindrops song. All tears and broken hearts.'

'Yeah. It... sounds it.'

'Me and Cat will sing the backing. Bet too, hopefully. I suppose we'll have to go over there to do it. I can't really ask the both of them to fly over to London just to sing "Teardrops! Heartaches!" for a two and a half minute record.' I grin.

He nods again, not really listening. He is tired, but that's not what's bothering John. I know it isn't. I wanted to do this today. It felt fitting to me. But I shouldn't have assumed he'd feel the same.

'You should do it at Trident,' he says. 'Use the eight track there.'

'We should.'

He looks up again and squints at me. He hasn't got his glasses on. 'What?'

'We should use Trident. We're doing it together, aren't we?'

Yoko pushes the door to the studio open with a degree of difficulty. The carpenters have only just put it on, but it needs taking off again and another half inch shaving off the bottom. It drags on the rug underneath it and refuses to open fully. She has to squeeze inside sideways.

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