The Beatles were the first band I loved and still the band I love most. I was born the year they broke up, far too late for Beatlemania. Thanks to the Beatles cartoon I used to watch as a little girl, their songs were the first I knew how to sing. I even credit that cartoon with helping me learn to read thanks to its ‘follow the bouncing ball’ singalongs. The first album I laid claim to (not bought) was my parents’ copy of a Hard Days night. I still have it. For more than 40 years no band has overtaken my love for the Beatles.
So with a couple of spare days while travelling from Paris to London, I have decided to make a pilgrimage to the cradle of Beatlemania: Liverpool.
On the train from France I used my iPod to work my way back from Abbey Road to a Hard Days Night, an appropriate place to finish since I was staying in the Hard Days Night Hotel. This ‘Fab-Four-Star’ hotel is the only Beatle-themed hotel in the world and is situated just metres away from the famed Cavern Club. All rooms feature Beatle artwork and the band’s music is heard throughout the hotel. It’s the obvious choice for a Beatle-themed weekend.
With only one full day available for my Beatles bender I needed to work fast. First stop was the Beatles Story museum at Albert Dock. This is the largest Beatle-themed museum in the world and tells the story of the band’s humble origins playing in coffee clubs to the height of stardom. Displays include a guitar that George Harrison owned as a young boy and John Lennon’s Beatles suit and his black cape work in Help! Nearby, a temporary exhibition established by the White Feather Foundation is dedicated to the life of John Lennon. The exhibition included the white piano he used to write Imagine.
After half a day of museums I still needed more. So in the afternoon I boarded the Magical Mystery Tour bus for a tour of significant Beatle sites including the childhood homes of all four Beatles and Strawberry Field, Penny Lane and the cathedral where Paul McCartney failed an audition for its choir. I ended my pilgrimage watching a Beatles cover group in the Cavern Club and then shopping in the Beatles gift shop before retiring to my room almost Beatled out.