Kenneth Womack, an expert on the history of The Beatles, claims to have solved the mystery behind the inspiration for John Lennon’s 1980 song ‘Grow Old With Me’.
The track, which was released just one month before Lennon was shot dead in New York City, was first recorded as a demo while Lennon was on holiday in Bermuda. Later, as the track gained popularity, it appeared on the posthumous album Milk and Honey.
For decades fans and scholars have debated the inspiration behind one of Lennon’s final ever songs, many claiming the source derived both from a poem written by Robert Browning titled ‘Rabbi ben Ezra’ as well as Yoko Ono’s song ‘Let Me Count the Ways’. Now, however, Womack believes that he has found the exact movie which directly influenced Lennon’s creative psyche.
“I wanted to know what film had inspired him to compose such a beautiful song,” Womack explained in an interview The Observer. “For John, the use of such ‘found objects’ in life and art was essential to his composition practices.”
Womack, who has trawled through historical movie and TV listings, has discovered that Lennon was watching the 1978 film A Love Affair: The Eleanor And Lou Gehrig Story while he was on vacation in Bermuda. The movie, a made-for-television film, follows the life of a baseball player whose life was cut short by a rare nervous system disorder.
The researcher has claimed that when Lennon watch the film “it was a different, much smaller world where folks enjoyed more shared experiences via television and music especially. For that reason, I wanted to know what film had inspired him to compose such a beautiful song. For John, the use of such ‘found objects’ in life and art was essential to his composition practices.”
Womack added: “For decades, American filmmakers had put out one baseball film after another, and there are hundreds of them.
“After watching dozens in search of the mysterious film in question, I began to study TV guides from that period. John was a regular subscriber.”