Beatles expert discovers baseball film that inspired late John Lennon song

'Grow Old With Me' was released a month before Lennon's death in December 1980

A leading Beatles scholar believes they have solved a decades-long mystery of the inspiration behind John Lennon‘s ‘Grow Old With Me’.

The song was released a month before the legendary artist was shot dead in December 1980, and it was known to have been influenced by a film about baseball that Lennon saw during a visit to Bermuda earlier that year.

Kenneth Womack told The Observer he had watched dozens of films before realising that the key inspiration was A Love Affair: The Eleanor And Lou Gehrig Story, a 1978 movie about a baseball player who died after battling a rare nervous system disorder.

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“I wanted to know what film had inspired him to compose such a beautiful song,” Womack explained. “For John, the use of such ‘found objects’ in life and art was essential to his composition practices.”

He 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.”

Upon realising A Love Affair had been screened at the time Lennon was staying in Bermuda, Womack made the connection, concluding: “The mystery, quite suddenly, was solved.”

Womack’s new book, John Lennon 1980: The Last Days in the Life, is out now.

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Last month, Paul McCartney spoke of his relief in managing to reconcile with John Lennon before his Beatles bandmate’s death.

Speaking to Lennon’s son Sean for a new BBC Radio 2 documentary to mark what would have been the late singer’s 80th birthday, McCartney recalled how the pair fell out when the Beatles split in 1970.

McCartney told Sean: “It really, really would have been a heartache to me if we hadn’t have reunited. It was so lovely too that we did, and it really gives me sort of strength to know that.”

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