The Beatles – Quinquagenary 2013

Few people of almost any age have not heard of The Beatles (you know – the British rock band from Liverpool), but what’s a Quinquagenary? Well it has the same meaning as Semicentennial, of course. Yes, that’s right: a 50 Year Anniversary. If you consider the line-up where Ringo Starr first sat in as drummer – 18th August 1962 – then 2013 is the Golden Jubilee of The Fab Four.

The city is hosting International Beatles Week 22-28th August 2013 and with Liverpool hotels selling out faster than the band’s digital back-catalog, put the needle on the record and visit some real locations played at by the band or mentioned in their marvellous melodies.

Penny Lane

Number 2 in the UK in 1967, this single was recorded during the sessions for the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, though not included therein.  The band did not always include their single releases on their albums.

Liverpool - IMG 1 Credit for image

Penny Lane itself, does exist, and a bus shelter there was the location where the song first formed in Paul McCartney’s imagination, whilst he was waiting for John Lennon. One wonders if in 1967 they still took the bus? It overlooks several of the scenarios mentioned in the lyrics such as a barber’s shop and a nurse selling Remembrance Day poppies. The reference to “the shelter in the middle of a roundabout” is likely to be the Penny Lane bus station – which no longer exists.

Strawberry Field

This location inspired the track “Strawberry Fields Forever” and is the other side of the Double ‘A’ side with “Penny Lane”. As a metaphorical flip side – this song was written primarily by John Lennon. Strawberry Field itself was a Salvation Army children’s home, close to where John grew up and where he enjoyed garden parties in the grounds.

strawberry field

The Cavern

Despite the previous locations understandably being tourist attractions, their current state may be a little underwhelming. The same cannot be said of the venue which the Beatles played close to 300 times in their formative years: the Cavern. This is a place where their legacy is still alive and vibrant.

This year, Liverpool marks a strategic anniversary and the opportunity for double ‘A’ sided experience. Why not take a magical mystery tour this summer and if you really enjoy it, go again next year for the 51st anniversary – whatever that’s called!

Photo by ericthefishking on Flickr

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