This week would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday. His home city of Liverpool is marking the anniversary with a series of events and exhibitions this week and beyond in memory of its favourite son.
Beatles tourism is hugely important to the city, generating £82m and created nearly 2,500 jobs, according to a 2016 report by the University of Liverpool.
The events starting this week include:
Sgt. Pepper Way, a new photographic exhibition of unseen Lennon images at the Beatles Story Museum by the New York-based photographer Bob Deutsch
a one-off Magical Mystery walking tour of places associated with the Beatles, starting from the Albert Dock and ending at The Cavern Club for live acoustic music
Strawberry Field, the former Salvation Army children’s home where the young Lennon played in the garden while living nearby, will be unveiled as the new home of the famous piano that John Lennon used to compose and record the song Imagine. The piano will be on loan to Strawberry Field courtesy of the estate of the late George Michael.
the retrospective of photography by Linda McCartney at the Walker Art Gallery, featuring candid images of the Fab Four, has been extended until January next year
Strawberry Field, the childhood refuge of John Lennon, re-opened to the public last weekend.
I attended a preview a few days before, writing an article for iTravel.
Here’s a preview of my feature:
The former Salvation Army children’s home, made famous in the 1967 Beatles song, has re-opened with a new permanent exhibition about Lennon’s early life [pictured above], a community garden and café.
The young Lennon would often play in the garden after he moved to live nearby with his aunt Mimi when his mother started a new relationship.
He would meet Paul McCartney at a local church fete in the late Fifties.
But Strawberry Field remained, as Lennon later expressed in the song’s lyrics, a place where, “Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about”.
“John always said Strawberry Field was his favourite song and he referred to it as his psychoanalytic poem,” says Julia Baird, Lennon’s younger, half-sister and the Honorary President of the Strawberry Field project.
It was 50 years ago today. Well, this year anyway.
I spent yesterday in Liverpool finding out about events to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the album Abbey Road, the recording sessions for which were the last in which all four members of the Beatles participated.
The front cover image of Abbey Road, taken in August 1969 on the zebra crossing near the entrance to the London recording studios, is one of the most copied images in popular culture.
A new mural by the street artist Paul Curtis on a wall in Liverpool’s modern-day Baltic Triangle is currently the city’s favourite photo opportunity.
I visited the new Magical Beatles Museum, The Cavern and caught the Double Fantasy exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool.
I also had a behind-the-scenes preview of the August re-opening of Strawberry Field, the former Salvation Army children’s home, which was made famous in 1967 Beatles song.
The famous red gates [pictured above] will be open again for a new generation of dreamers looking for a place where:
“Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.”
Look out for the full story in the June-July issue of Discover Britain magazine.