Monday, April 18, 2011

Tax Day

"For to whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required."

Luke 12:48

George Harrison was always a spiritual kind of guy, easily the most spiritual of the Beatles.

So it's probably appropriate, when all is said and done, to mention his song "Taxman" — since today is this year's deadline for submitting income taxes — and that passage from Luke today.

I guess anyone who plays that song on the deadline for mailing in tax returns does so in a tongue–in–cheek fashion — like the post offices that frequently have been known to play the song on their sound systems for last–minute filers who line up to mail their returns.

Several years ago, it was used as part of the commercial campaign for a prominent tax preparation service. I guess that meant the song had come full circle.

Over the years, it has become my default song on Tax Day — even on those rare occasions in my life when I have received a refund.

Harrison wrote the song out of frustration and anger over being heavily taxed by the British government — and who could blame him? The British progressive tax placed him in its highest bracket, resulting in a 95% supertax.

He began recording the song almost exactly 45 years ago, on April 20, 1966, and it was released on the Beatles' "Revolver" album in August of that year.

"Revolver" deserves to be written about at length, and I plan to do so later this summer. The 45th anniversary of its release, in fact, will be the first anniversary of the death of a dear friend of mine named Phyllis, and I expect to write about her on that day, too.

Phyllis, as I have written before, was an accomplished musician. She and I never discussed "Taxman" or "Revolver," but I know she liked the Beatles — and, I suspect, she liked the song and the album.

That's just speculation, of course. I'll never know if she liked either one. I can only guess.

To misquote the old advertising jingle — everybody doesn't like something ...

But nobody likes paying taxes.

You didn't have to be George Harrison to understand that.