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.


“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.


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.”