The Beatles: Coming to America

the Beatles

The Beatles celebrate a 50th anniversary of coming to America. To mark the occasion, New York has two fab events about the lads from Liverpool.

It was Friday, February 7, 1964 when the English band The Beatles landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport. They were welcomed with screams and shouts from New York teenagers eager to catch sight of the new sensation group. Two days later, they made their American debut on the television variety show, The Ed Sullivan Show. More than 73 million viewers tuned in to set a television record. After that, virtually every American teenage girl wanted to hold one of the Fab Four’s hands. Beatlemania had officially arrived.

The lads from Liverpool – John, Paul, Ringo and George – picked up rock and roll fundamentals by listening to American records that had made their way to the city port by merchant seamen returning from the States. Once the band had mastered the American rock sounds, they began to compose their own music. McCartney and Lennon proved to be a gifted songwriting team, and with Brian Epstein helping to give the boys direction, they were on their way to making history.

Julian Lennon, son of John Lennon and Cynthia Powell, has curated a photography show at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo. Julian Lennon, a photographer himself, had his first exhibition at the same gallery. Lennon was contacted by photographer Timothy White who is also a partner at the Morrison Hotel Gallery about an idea he had. He asked Lennon to go through a large photo collection of his father, John Lennon, with the Beatles, and select approximately 50 images because it was the 50th anniversary after all. In the end, 25 photographs will be on display at the SoHo gallery until the end of February, and another 25 will be exhibited at the Sunset Marquis Gallery in Los Angeles.

Julian Lennon expressed that for him, his contribution to the exhibit was a more “personal, emotional and respectful” way to be involved. He mentioned that discussions of the Fab Four’s 50th anniversary had come up several times, but “it was all seeming too much of a muchness.” Until this more intimate exhibit presented itself, Lennon had opted to “take a backseat and send my best wishes, and love that way.”

Julian Lennon said that he attempted to uncover photographs that communicated a little more of the inside story. He wanted to show what emotions the Beatles were going through as “the reality of the situation,” when the popularity of whom they were really were “hit them,” such as when they came to America.

The Beatles

Heading onto 6th Avenue, about four miles away is The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Center. In partnership with the Grammy Museum, the library is hosting an exhibit, Ladies and Gentleman…The Beatles! The exhibit takes viewers back to early 1964 to mid-1966 when rock and roll was resurrected.

Over 400 items from private and souvenir collections will be on display including band artifacts, publicity stills, ephemera, instruments and interactive displays. The exhibit also features a “typical Beatles-obsessed teenager’s bedroom.”

After The Beatles came to America, and the Fab Four’s popularity rose, so did adults’ blood pressure, but that did not stop John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison from creating a British Invasion – “all tightly wrapped in a union jack.”

By Dawn Levesque


Morrison Hotel Gallery

New York Observer

New York Public Library

The Wall Street Journal


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