Welcome to Beatlepool
In effect, The Beatles are the benchmark for pop music. They are a veritable icon, essential to any understanding of 20th-century culture. But, we won’t labour the point, as all the details can be found in Wikipedia and music history books. What we are going to reveal in this post, however, is a list of the places associated with the history of the group’s members during their Liverpool years or where they drew inspiration for some of their songs. The quartet made up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr are still a magnet for the new generations and in Liverpool the story repeats itself ad infinitum.
The 10 “Beatles Points”
1. The Beatles Story
A good way of immersing yourself in the Beatlesque universe is to visit The Beatles Story Museum, in the Albert Docks industrial buildings. We went there and were stunned by all the memorabilia we came across relating to the Fab Four. The museum even hosts workshops for children. It is also the starting point for The Magical Mystery Tour, a two-hour bus tour around places associated with the group.
2. The Cavern
Rebuilt brick by brick after its demolition in 1973 is the famous basement on Mathew Street known as The Cavern. It was here that they played for the first time and where they were discovered by the music manager, Brian Epstein. This venue is a must-visit, whether you’re a fan of The Beatles or not. We urge you to go on a Thursday when countless Beatles imitation bands play. Mathew Street is currently abuzz with pubs and clubs where you can listen to live music, notably The Grapes, the pub where they used to meet before their performances.
3. Penny Lane
Lennon and McCartney lived very near this alley in the suburbs and they would walk down Penny Lane daily on their way to school. The barber shop, fish & chips shop and bank that feature in the song are still there. Some years ago, there was a move to change the name of the street, as Penny Lane was a character who had made his money from slavery. However, in the end, the power of Beatlesque support led the proponents to abandon their initiative.
4. Strawberry Fields
Strawberry Fields was one of the most groundbreaking singles in the Beatles’ career. The song is dedicated to the Strawberry Field orphanage which the Salvation Army ran in Beaconsfield Road, near Lennon’s home in Menlove Avenue. Only the metal gate and the gardens they used to play in still survive. The brick walls surrounding the gardens are painted with graffiti in memory of John.
5. St. Peter’s Parish Church
The Quarrymen was John Lennon’s first band and they used to rehearse in St. Peter’s Parish Church, in the Woolton district. It was there that in 1957 Lennon and McCartney first met. The church graveyard has a headstone with an inscription mentioning Eleanor Rigby, the protagonist of one of the Beatles’ songs. John lived very near there, in an avenue lined with semi-detached houses.
6. Oxford Street Maternity Hospital
Still standing here is the building which once housed the maternity hospital where John Lennon was born on 9 October 1940. He is said to have been born in the middle of an air raid during the Second World War. His mother was attended by his aunt, Mimi, who was appointed John’s guardian.
7. Liverpool College of Art
In 1957, Lennon took up studies at the Liverpool College of Art on Hope Street where he met Stu Sutcliffe, who became one of the Beatles soon afterwards. Some years later in Hamburg he left the group to pursue his career as a painter and lived with the German photographer, Astrid Kirchherr. Stuart died in 1962. Paul and George studied at the neighbouring Liverpool Institute.
The walls of this pub on Slater Street are decorated with paintings by Lennon and Sutcliffe. Its owner at the time, Allan Williams, offered them the opportunity to travel to Hamburg and play on a daily basis in the Kaiserkeller Club. This was the period of the Beat Brothers, with Pete Best, who became The Beatles’ original drummer, to be subsequently replaced by Ringo Starr.
9. The Casbah Club
This venue is where it all started. Before their success at The Cavern with The Beatles, John Lennon had performed live at the Casbah with his first group, The Quarrymen, in 1959. This club, located some 6 kilometres from downtown Liverpool, was originally a cellar owned by Mona Best, the mother of Pete Best. This was also where Ringo Starr’s first band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, played. The Beatles were the last group to set foot on its stage, in 1962.
10. Quarry Bank Grammar School
John Lennon first entered this school on Harthill Road at the age of seven. Here, together with his childhood friend, Pete Shotton, he founded The Quarrymen, a group grounded in the teddy boy look which played rock’n’roll, the music that had stirred up a revolution among youths across the globe.
No one questions the fact that The Beatles were one of the greatest bands in the history of rock, and their association with Liverpool is irrefutable. Don’t wait to give yourself over to Beatlemania – check out our flights to Liverpool here.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
The history of music is replete with places that have a mythical aura, that have earned a privileged position in every travel guide . In the majority of cases, these are not museums or big events or historical monuments but simple urban areas that have achieved a legendary status in the world of popular culture.
As with any list, there is an “unwritten” order that ranks the importance of each of these places and the most famous is, without a doubt, Abbey Road. A zebra crossing in a residential district of London that owes its international fame to a photo of the Beatles taken in 1969 and that became the iconic cover of their album recorded that same year at the Abbey Road studios (just across the street).
This zebra crossing has become a place of pilgrimage for every fan of the Beatles and people from all over the world usually cross it posing just like the Liverpool group to immortalise their visit to the UK capital. However the most fascinating thing is seeing how the sign displaying the name of the street has been transformed into a huge book of dedications of love and passion to the rock band, with texts written in every language imaginable. Also, there is a webcam on the flat roof of the studios that transmits 24 hours a day everything that is going on in the small section of such a famous street, thus further adding to its legendary status in this digital era.
Because London is not just Big Ben, Buckingham Palace or Piccadilly Circus, but also the history of pop music (thanks to its true legends).
Address: 3 Abbey Road, St. John’s Wood London NW8 9AY
Live webcam: http://www.abbeyroad.com/crossing
We’re going so if you want to come along have a look at our flights here.
By David Moreu
The Beatles Route around Hamburg
Hamburg is the city where John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best first started out, where they met and made their first recording. By walking through the streets of Hamburg, you can find numerous references to the time they spent in the city.
The time spent by the Beatles in Hamburg spans a period from August 1960 to December 1962. Back then, the city was the third largest port in the world and a bad reputation hung over it like a dark cloud. It was known as a city of vice, crime and prostitution. There’s no wonder why the parents of the English teenagers at the time did everything they could to convince them not to go.
Their first performance was at the el Indra club. The place has almost kept the same name but is now called “Indra, where the Beatles played first”. Find it at 64 Große Freiheit. A plaque by the door commemorates that event on 17 August 1960. Because nobody had heard of The Beatles back then, no record remains of their time at the venue.
When Indra had to close due to complaints from the neighbours, the Beatles moved on to playing at theTop Ten Club.Feeling very put out, the owner of Indra reported Harrison to the police (who was a minor at the time) and he was deported. One week later it was the turn of McCartney and Best to be deported for starting a fire after burning a condom in their room.
The city has also paid its own unique tribute to the time spent here by the Beatles with the Beatles Platz, a city square, but circular, meant to represent a vinyl record and where you’ll find statues of the five Beatles, including Stuart Sutcliffe who died on 10 April 1962 from a brain haemorrhage. On the floor of this square are inscribed the titles of some of the most successful singles released by the Beatles.
The musical career of the Beatles began here in St. Pauli. The composer, songwriter, orchestra conductor and producer from Hamburg, Bert Kaempfert *16.10.1923 +21.06.1980 and the music editor and lawyer from Hamburg Alfred K. Schacht *23.01.1916 +23.10.1990 discovered this band of young musicians at the Top-Ten-Club: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best and Tony Sheridan. They signed them up and, on 22 and 23 June 1961, the first vinyl recordings of the Beatles were released: MY BONNIE . THE SAINTS . WHY . CRY FOR SHADOW . AIN’T SHE SWEET…
Another of the venues where the Beatles performed during their time in Hamburg is the Star Club, also on Große Freiheit, and only a few metres from Beatles Platz. The place is no longer there but a plaque remains to commemorate the passage of the boys from Liverpool. It’s a little hard to find because you have to turn down one of the side streets leading off the main road.
The Star Club helped lift the band to stardom and was where the young group began to shine.
One day, back in 1960, five young musicians from Liverpool walked out on stage here at “Kaiserkeller” on Großen Freiheit. They were still young and rather rough around the edges, but Pete Best, George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Stuart Sutcliffe would soon become world famous as the Beatles. Sutcliffe died in 1962 and Ringo Starr took over from Pete Best in the same year. At the TOP-TEN club and STARCLUB, the Beatles were able to set out on a career path that would never be repeated.
The plaque was presented on 23 February 1990 to celebrate a party held here to remember those early performances by the group 30 years before.
Purely by chance, we headed over to Zwick at 1 Millerntorplatz for a hamburger. This place forms part of a chain of rock bars in Hamburg. Inside, they have a collection of very interesting photographs and posters featuring the Beatles. They play live music at Zwick and the place is decorated with a whole host of guitars in all shapes and sizes hung on the walls and in display cases.
Beatlemania was around until only very recently. The Hamburg Beatles Museum, with its thousand pieces and memories spread throughout the five-story building, closed at the end of June due to falling visitor numbers.
Do you fancy experiencing the Beatles Route around Hamburg? Book your flights here!