Music Scholar Finds Baseball Film That Inspired “Grow Old With Me” By John Lennon
John Lennon and Yoko Ono for Milk and Honey - johnlennon / Youtube
A music scholar has uncovered the details as to which baseball film inspired the late John Lennon to write “Grow Old With Me”, ending the decades-old mystery about the origin of one of his final songs prior to his murder in 1980.
The song’s opening lyric quotes Robert Browning’s 1864 poem “Rabbi ben Ezra”: “Grow old along with me / The best is yet to be.” The former Beatle disclosed that he was inspired to write the song after watching a baseball movie on television during a trip to Bermuda, but the actual movie he was watching remained a mystery for a good forty years.
However, it is revealed in the upcoming book John Lennon 1980: The Last Days in the Life by Kenny Womack that it was the 1978 movie A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story was the film Lennon was watching. The baseball movie tells the story about the New York Yankees legend who died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at the age of 37.
According to The Guardian, Womack dug for television schedules and baseball movies from the said era before finding out that actress Blythe Danner’s character in the movie quotes the same Browning poem as is with “Grow Old With Me”.
“Thanks very much for sending me that book of poems. I especially liked the one by Robert Browning that goes, ‘Grow old along with me! / The best is yet to be,’” says Danner’s character, Eleanor.
“I wanted to know what film had inspired him to compose such a beautiful song,” Womack said in an interview with the Guardian. “For John, the use of such ‘found objects’ in life and art was essential to his composition practices.”
“Grow Old With Me” was recorded in November 1980 and posthumously released on 1984’s Milk And Honey, his LP with Yoko Ono.