Ladies and Gentlemen...The Beatles!
A Beatles traveling exhibition presented by the Grammy Museum and Fab Four Exhibits, LLC
The New York Library For The Performing Arts
February 5 - May 10, 2014
Left to right: Jacqueline Davis (Library Executive Director),
Billy J. Kramer, Peter Asher, Bob Santelli (Grammy Museum Executive Director) and Al Jardine at the exhibit opening party, Wednesday, February 5, 2014.
FFE partner Russ Lease with noted Beatles expert and
Tune In author Mark Lewisohn at exhibit opening party, February 5, 2014
Left to right: Fab Four Exhibits, LLC partners Russ Lease,
Mark Naboshek and Chuck Gunderson behind the mics
at the exhibit opening party, Wed., February 5, 2014.
Left to right: Liddypool and Fab One Hundred and Four author David Bedford and FFE partners Mark Naboshek and Chuck Gunderson (author of Some Fun Tonight), February 5, 2014.
The lovely Freda. Beatles Fan Club secretary Freda Kelly at the exhibit opening party, February 5, 2014.
Beatles concert stage set-up with
Beatles author Bruce Spizer with his original
gold record award for "I Want To Hold Your Hand",
February 5, 2014.
Beatles' first U.S. visit artifacts display, including the original drum head used for the three Ed Sullivan shows and the Washington Coliseum and Carnegie Hall concerts.
Shown in the two photos above: The exhibit
opening party crowd, February 5, 2014.
Beatles author Bruce Spizer and FFE partner
Chuck Gunderson check out the pre-fame Beatles artifacts at the exhibit opening party, February 5, 2014.
Musician Billy J. Kramer (left) and The Fest For Beatles Fans founders Carol and Mark Lapidos at the exhibit opening party, February 5, 2014.
Russ and Becky Lease chat with producer and musician Peter Asher (Peter & Gordon) at the exhibit opening party, February 5, 2014.
FFE partner Mark Naboshek with Beach Boy
Al Jardine at the exhibit opening party,
February 5, 2014
A scene from inside the exhibit,
Friday, February 7, 2014
Beach Boys founding member Al Jardine at
the exhibit opening party, February 5, 2014.
Beach Boys founding member Al Jardine on
the drums at the exhibit opening party,
February 5, 2014.
Grammy Museum Executive Director
Bob Santelli addresses the crowd at the exhibit
opening party, Wednesday, February 5, 2014.
Left to right: Russ Lease, Chuck Gunderson
and Mark Naboshek at the Ed Sullivan
Theater, Sunday, February 9, 2014.
From The New Yorker, February 7, 2014:
Our Hearts Went Boom: The Beatles in New York
Posted by Sarah Larson
On Friday, February 7, 1964—fifty years ago today—the Beatles landed in the United States; they played on “The Ed Sullivan Show” that Sunday night, and we’ve been screaming with joy ever since. This week, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center had an opening-night party for its exhibition “Ladies and Gentlemen … The Beatles!,” which runs through May 10th and which celebrates the anniversary with films, memorabilia, and music. Outside it was a slushfest, but inside the guests were elegant—all ages and rock-and-roll festive. One man wore a blue-and-green plaid suit. In the lobby and upstairs, people drank red wine, white wine, and a bright-blue concoction called Juicy Lucy in the Sky.
“All of you should take a drum lesson with Ringo Starr,” the exhibit’s curator, Bob Santelli, said to the guests. Santelli stood on a landing of the open staircase in the lobby. He is the executive director of the Grammy Museum, in Los Angeles. “Thanks to Ringo’s generosity,” he went on, the show includes a virtual-Ringo drumming station. Next to it is an oral-history booth. He encouraged everyone to record their memories of the Beatles’ arrival in the United States. If the show hit its goal, he said, “historians in a hundred years will have a quarter of a million stories to listen to.” In the crowd, listening intently and wearing a shirt the color of a Juicy Lucy in the Sky, was Al Jardine, the guitarist for the Beach Boys. He looked much like he does on the cover of “Pet Sounds”—trim, compact, sharp, with a flap of straight hair across his forehead.
After Santelli’s toast, inside the exhibit, partygoers examined guitars, gold records, Beatle suits, rare photographs, Beatles-themed sneakers, and concert flyers, and watched film of the Beatles playing on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” “Probably shot on Kinescope!” a man said. An older woman with braided brown hair peered into a glass case that contained a “Stamp Out the Beatles” sweatshirt and a photograph of George Harrison wearing it. Nearby, a baby boomer pointed at two album covers—“Yesterday and Today,” butcher and non-butcher versions—and said to a young woman, “You know the story behind this, right?” A young man in a gray hoodie stood in front of a replica of a teen-ager’s Beatles-themed bedroom from 1964; he played with his iPhone, ignoring the exhibit. Then “Money (That’s What I Want)” came on, and he sang the opening piano melody, loudly, and danced.
In the back, the interactive stuff: the drum zone, the recording booth. A blond woman in headphones, wearing a printed minidress, sat at the drums, under a sign that said “Jam with Ringo!” She watched a monitor, drumming intermittently and laughing. Jamming with Ringo involved a fair amount of counting off; her sticks hit each other as much as they hit the drums. A woman nearby said to her friend, “It’s, like, something I would do when the room is empty.” A man whispered, “Play the drums! Play the drums with Ringo!”
Al Jardine poked his head out of the memory-recording booth, glanced around like a worried cast member of “Laugh-In,” and then popped back inside.
Outside the exhibit, on a landing in the cocktail-party area, Santelli chatted with a woman named Andrea Tebbets and her daughter. “If you look at the video of the first night of Ed Sullivan, you will see me with cat’s-eye glasses, chewing gum and screaming,” Tebbets said. “I lived in Connecticut, but my grandfather was a big deal in advertising. I said I wanted to go, and he produced tickets, and that was that. There was a whole section of empty seats, and we started down, and the usher said, ‘Oh, you can’t sit there—that’s for the screamers.’ My mother, to her everlasting credit, said, ‘It’s all right.’ So there we sat and there I was. Oh, it was fabulous.” In the footage, Tebbets jumps up and down, clasps her hands together, scrunches her shoulders, clenches her fists, and generally freaks out during the “I can’t hide” part of “I Want to Hold Your Hand”; she fits in with the screamers. (She appears at 9:06 in the tape.)
“I grew up watching ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ on Betamax,” her daughter said. She wore a short lime-green-and-white sixties dress with an ornamental silver collar. “It was like a party trick.”
“My daughter would say, ‘There’s my mother—wasn’t she a nerd?’ ” Tebbets said.
Santelli said that he’d watched the show at home in New Jersey, “in front of my TV set, like everyone else. The next day, the first thing I did was—my birthday gift was late, and I was supposed to get a football. I said, ‘Forget the football, I’ll take a guitar.’ And I got one.” Santelli went on to become a musician, a journalist at Rolling Stone, a rock historian, and the director of several museums, including the Experience Music Project, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and now the Grammy Museum. Most people, he said, can tell you where they were when the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan. “I’ll give you a perfect example. My father was a New Jersey state trooper—Italian-American, very traditional, and I was the oldest son. He had it planned that I was going to follow him. I saw the Beatles on TV and music became my life. He said that that was the night he lost his son.” He looked around. “I would have loved for him to have seen this.
”Off to the side, by the bottom of the stairs, drinking blue drinks, were some visitors from Liverpool, with good Liverpool accents: Phil Parker, who has a sand-colored bowl cut and who drives visitors to Beatles’ childhood homes and birthplaces in a Magical Mystery Tour bus (“It’s an old-fashioned bus; it’s not the original bus”); David Bedford (“I live just by Penny Lane”), the author of “Liddypool: The Beatles in Liverpool” (“Pete Best wrote the introduction”); and Freda Kelly, the Beatles’ secretary from 1962 to 1972 and the star of the 2013 documentary “Good Ol’ Freda.” She wore a black-and-white scarf and drank a Juicy Lucy in the Sky. “It’s lovely,” she said, looking at it approvingly.
“I first met the Beatles at the Cavern, at the lunchtime sessions,” she said. “I worked round the corner. I went, saw the Beatles onstage, and was right knocked out by them. Everything about them, not just the music. Just them—their personality, their larking about. I loved ‘Three Cool Cats’—that’s the best one with George. His Liverpool accent comes straight out, doesn’t it? And ‘Anna’—I love what John does with his legs. The lunchtime sessions were a lot more casual than the night shows. All the girls who went, as well, we all had our own spec in the Cavern. So if you were standing in my spec, I’d ask you to move. My spec was the second archway on the left.”
Another Beatles fan, Jacqueline Z. Davis, the executive director of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, stood nearby. She wore a black velvet suit and a diamond necklace. “When I saw the Beatles, I was the governess for the Robert Kennedy family,” she said. “We were in Hyannisport, and the Beatles were going to be performing in Massachusetts. And so the older people—Kathleen, the oldest—she’s still a great friend—and certainly Joe, who’s next, and I think Bobby, Jr., as well—we had tickets for the Beatles. And then Mrs. Kennedy heard a rumor that they did not believe in Jesus. And all of a sudden our tickets were not going to happen. So then we had to convince her that it was a rumor, and eventually we got to go. It was 1966. To be honest, I was very frustrated by all the screaming that was going on. I wanted to hear them sing.” Earlier that night, she had accompanied Al Jardine, the Beach Boy, into the memory-recording booth. “I said, ‘So, Al, how did you feel when you first heard the Beatles?’ and he said, ‘Well, it was a competition.’
”Finally, the collectors. Russ Lease pointed out his prized possession: the drum head from the kit that Ringo played on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” “In their performing days, there were seven drum heads that they used publicly with the dropped-T logo on the front,” he said. “This is the most famous of the seven Beatle drum heads. It appears on four album covers,” including “Beatles for Sale.” “And they used it to record the ‘Hard Day’s Night’ soundtrack album with.” Lease has a company called Beatlesuits.com. “We make stitch-for-stitch replicas of all the iconic Beatles stage outfits, and I outfit all the Beatles trib bands around the world,” he said. “I own a number of the originals—I own the McCartney Shea jacket that’s around the corner here; I own the crosswalk jacket, the long Edwardian coat that Ringo’s wearing on the ‘Abbey Road’ cover, I own that.” He said that his collection takes up about a third of his house.
Bruce Spizer, a bearded collector from New Orleans, wore a festive red tie. “This is a ‘Good Day Sunshine’ tie,” he said. He pointed out some of his items in the show: a gold record, the Beatles’ first Capitol Records press kit, a pink Pepsi transistor radio. “When the Beatles arrived in New York, Pepsi had four of these in their suite, as a gift for the Beatles. And in the Maysles Brothers documentary”—“What’s Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A.,” from 1964—“you can see the Beatles, particularly Paul, listening to the radio on his Pepsi radio.” He smiled.
After the party, walking through the icy plaza, Paul Parker, the Magical Mystery Tour guide, and his wife admired the Metropolitan Opera House, which they’d never seen before. “Ah, we were trying to work out what that one was!” Parker said.
“It’s a lovely city,” his wife said.
“I never understood why John Lennon left Liverpool and settled in New York,” Parker said. "But when I came to New York for the first time, I saw: it’s just Liverpool on steroids. If you look at the photo of the original home at Strawberry Field”—the Salvation Army children’s home whose grounds Lennon played on as a child—“the top has exactly the same shape as the top of the Dakota. It’s spooky.”