My husband Tom and I just returned from touring “Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!” (June 13, 2015 – January 10, 2016) at the LBJ Presidential Library here in Austin, Texas. This fantastic traveling exhibit focuses on the years 1964-1966, when the British rock band landed in America and took the world by storm.
While some of the memorabilia in the museum was standard Beatles fare – clips of the Fab Four performing on the Ed Sullivan TV show, photos of George, Paul, Ringo, and John running from the ceiling to the floor,
videos of fans being interviewed,
Interviewer: Do you have Beatlemania?
Female Fan: Yes, but we don’t know why we act as we do.
there were still plenty of choice nuggets to be discovered among the trove, including this “Love Me Do” 45 RPM record, signed by all 4 Beatles the day after it was recorded.
Included were John Lennon‘s first pair of granny glasses.
The centerpiece of the show was one of John Lennon’s beloved Gibson guitars.
While we’re talking about John, here is a lock of his hair he bestowed on a British fan, signing his autograph with ‘love from “Bald” John Lennon xxx.’
Featured was the original Ludwig drum head Ringo played on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
At an oral history booth, I made an audio recording of my personal recollections of the Beatles. I was nine years old when the Beatles made their first appearance – live – on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was August, a Sunday night, and a hot one. I grew up in South Texas, in the days before air conditioned houses. Our casement windows were cranked open.
When the Beatles debuted with“All My Loving,” the teen-aged girls in the audience went wild, screaming. Then we heard screams in the neighborhood. The next door neighbor children were screaming as they watched the performance.
Instead of playing house, my sister Loise, my neighbor, Katie, and I played a variation on that theme that we called “Beatles Wives.” We pretended we were each married to a Beatle and were waiting for the men to come home. We would get dressed up and plan the (imaginary) dinner we would serve them. I thought I was Jane Asher (Paul’s girlfriend at the time), as I was “married” to Paul McCartney.
My mother loved the Beatles as much as we children did. She would put one of their records on the stereo and we – my mom, my sisters, my neighbor friends, and I – would hold hands and dance around and around in a big circle in our living room. The album, “Beatles 65,” was a favorite.
Back at the LBJ exhibit: At the entrance, there was also a huge wall map of the United States pinned with ticket stubs for Beatles concerts.
One wall case was devoted to Beatles products sold by Woolworth’s department stores: Beatles bubble bath, bobble-headed dolls, “Build a Beatle” kits, Beatle lunchkits, record holders, and rings.
I saved the best for last. Here is a song written in longhand by Paul McCartney.
Our tour ended with a photo op of Tom and me walking across Abbey Road.
Readers: For more on the Beatles, click here.