Today John Lennon would have marked his 72nd birthday. If I try very hard, I can sort of see him as an old man, that same sharp-featured face coming through the haze of imagination, my own filters and perceptions of how I think time would have treated him. But I can't sustain it, and perhaps more truthfully, don't want to. I wish he would have been here, sharing the day with his son Sean, who celebrates the same birthday as his dad...but he's not, and to think about it much is just too sad for me, still.

Yet, a little cosmic kindness was bestowed on me this week, which made my heart just soar. I consider myself to be a pretty knowledgable Beatle fan -- not a SUPERMEGAMEGABEATLEPEOPLE person like some out there, but prettay, prettay good. So it was a real surprise to me on a random YouTube shakedown to discover a cover of my favorite Beatles' song, "I'm A Loser" (which was written by Lennon), done by my favorite jazz musician, pianist Vince Guaraldi, best known for his work on so many of the Peanuts comics TV specials of the '60s and '70s. How could I not have known sooner that this existed? Guaraldi's rendition appeared on the 1966's "Live At El Matador," with guitarist Bola Sete -- long out-of-print, but available on a combo CD here and on iTunes.

Guaraldi's style is instantly recognizable, and as "I'm A Loser" begins one can hear bits and pieces of signature riffs and quirks from so many Peanuts songs -- a little bit of blues bending, honky-tonk roadhouse, and coffeehouse cool, set to a simple bossa-nova beat. When he takes off and improvises on the melody near the end of the song, it flys straight into the sky, the achy melancholy of the song lifted by just the tiniest, shiniest silver linings.

Hearing this makes my day infinitely better. John Lennon and Vince Guaraldi made my whole life better. Enjoy.

Vince Guaraldi & Bola Sete, "I'm A Loser"