When The Beatles became a worldwide sensation in the 1960s, one would assume that they would only dine at the most expensive and luxurious restaurants. But on their 1965 American tour, they made an exception. They wanted to eat at an authentic American diner.
The Beatles LOVE Show Premiere
The red carpet premiere for The Beatles LOVE Show by Cirque du Soleil took place on June 30, 2006 in Las Vegas at The Mirage.
Daytrippin’ Magazine was granted red carpet access for interviews and photos of all the celebrities who attended the LOVE Gala Premiere
Fans lined up around the huge block at the Capitol Records building on Thursday morning, February 9, 2012, to see Paul McCartney finally get his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. McCartney had been eligible to receive the star since 1993, but had never scheduled the time to appear at a ceremony until this day.
Family, friends and fellow musicians gathered to cheer on the legendary musician, singer/songwriter, including Joe Walsh, Jeff Lynne, Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, Don Was and Herbie Hancock. Paul’s wife, Nancy, and son James were also in attendance.
For over 30 years, Beatles fans have been gathering at Strawberry Fields in Central Park to celebrate John Lennon’s life on his birthday, October 9, and also to mourn his death on December 8.
Located across the street from the Dakota apartment building where John Lennon lived with Yoko Ono, Strawberry Fields encompasses the pathways in Central Park that John and Yoko used to stroll together over the years from 1973 until Lennon was gunned down in front of the building in 1980.
Five years after his death, on October 9, 1985, what would have been Lennon’s 45th birthday, this tear-shaped section of Central Park stretching from 71st to 74th streets along Central Park West was re-named “Strawberry Fields” after The Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever.” The famous grey and white marble Imagine mosaic, which is the centerpiece of the area, was a gift from the city of Naples, Italy.
The groundbreaking ceremony for Strawberry Fields was held on March 21, 1984 with Yoko Ono and Lennon’s sons Julian and Sean in attendance. A bronze plaque which was unveiled at the dedication ceremony lists 121 countries who endorse this Garden of Peace.
The idea for ‘Strawberry Fields’ was conceived by Yoko Ono and she “selected an ancient mosaic design found in Naples and placed the word Imagine in the center,” according to author Sara Cedar Miller. “The people of Naples were delighted, and artisans were dispatched to Strawberry Fields to inlay the Imagine mosaic medallion, faithfully copying the design Yoko had chosen.”
While most people think of the Imagine mosaic section as the major part of Strawberry Fields, there are actually 5.3 acres in total that make up the whole of the area. For the landscape design of this section of Central Park, Yoko worked with landscape architect, Bruce Kelly, to create a fitting memorial to John Lennon that was “more nature than culture.”
In August 1981, Ono placed letters in the New York Times and many other newspapers asking for donations from other countries to create this peace garden. Many countries sent native plants; for example, an oak tree from Great Britain, dogwoods from Monaco, tulip bulbs from the Netherlands, maples from Canada, etc. And, of course, strawberries were planted by the Central Park Conservancy.
The area is shaded by elm trees and provides many benches for visitors to relax and “imagine.” Strawberry Fields is intended as a quiet place for reflection, designated as a “quiet zone” in the Park. In exchange for a generous donation to the Central Park Conservancy, patrons can get their name inscribed on a plaque on one of the benches.
Yoko Ono still lives in the Dakota and her windows overlook the Imagine mosaic at 72nd street and Central Park West. While the word “Imagine” is recognized for Lennon’s famous song first released in 1971, it is also a concept that Ono has portrayed in her artwork long before she met Lennon. He even admitted that he got the idea for the song from her.
The song “should be credited as a Lennon-Ono song, because a lot of it, the lyric and the concept, came from Yoko,” John Lennon said in a 1980 interview, shortly before he died.
In 2017, the National Music Publishers Association announced that Ono would share songwriting credits for Lennon’s “Imagine.”
“Those days, I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution,” Lennon added, noting that the song makes direct reference to Yoko’s 1964 book, Grapefruit.
It was Yoko’s intention to continue the world peace sentiment that she and Lennon had initiated in 1969 which included planting an acorn in England and then sending acorns to heads of state around the world. In her 1981 letter, Ono said, “John would have been very proud that this was given to him, an island named after his song, rather than a statue or a monument….It will be nice to have the whole world in one place, one field, living and growing together in harmony.”
A book called Strawberry Fields: Central Park’s Memorial to John Lennon chronicles the creation of this memorial. The book, released in 2011, was written by Sara Cedar Miller, the official photographer and historian of the Central Park Conservancy. The 95-page book is filled with gorgeous color photos as well as historical documents and black & white photos.
The Central Park Conservancy also sells souvenirs of the Imagine mosaic, including a blanket, coffee mug and jewelry.
At 1:20 pm on Friday, February 7, 1964, The Beatles landed in America for the very first time, and music history would never be the same. It would be a busy weekend for The Beatles leading up to their historic debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Sunday night as they took New York City by storm.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 7
After The Beatles landed at JFK airport to thousands of screaming fans, they held a short press conference at the airport. They charmed the press with quick-witted answers like:
Question: Will you sing for us?
John Lennon: No, we need money first.
Question: Do you ever get a haircut at all?
George Harrison: I had one yesterday.
Question: Why does your music excite people so much?
John Lennon: If we knew, we’d form another group and be managers.
The Beatles were then whisked away to The Plaza Hotel (Fifth Avenue at Central Park South) in Manhattan. When the Beatles first arrived at the hotel on February 7, 1964, at least 50 policemen were needed around the hotel to try and keep the hordes of fans in line.
The Beatles were taken to the Presidential Suites on the 12th floor (rooms 1209 through 1216). With the chaotic scene and mass pandemonium created by the fans in front of the hotel, The Plaza management was shocked to learn that the reservations made for these “English businessmen” were actually the Beatles.
Inside the Plaza Hotel, The Beatles watched news reports about themselves on television and conducted phone interviews with local radio DJs including Murray the K. This was documented in the exceptional film by The Maysles Brothers, The Beatles First US Visit.
[Note: After the mayhem of The Beatles first U.S. visit, the Plaza Hotel management did not want the Beatles to return. In subsequent visits to New York, The Beatles would stay at The Warwick Hotel.]
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8
The next day, Feb 8, George Harrison had strep throat and stayed in bed. His sister, Louise, came to the hotel to take care of him.
While George was sick in bed, John, Paul and Ringo entertained reporters for a photo shoot in Central Park followed by many fans. They took a horse and buggy ride, posed on rocks by a lake, and had lunch at the boathouse.
The threetles also went for a rehearsal at the Ed Sullivan show studio (1697 Broadway), now home to CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Since George was sick, road manager Neil Aspinall stood in for him, as can be seen in many photographs.
That night, John, Paul and Ringo went to the 21 Club restaurant (21 W. 52nd Street) for a dinner party hosted by Capitol Records. After dinner, they were given a car tour of Manhattan to see NYC landmarks including the U.N. building, the Empire State Building, Broadway and Times Square, according to author Bruce Spizer.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 9
The day of the Beatles television performance there were thousands of teenage fans waiting up and down Broadway trying to get a glimpse of the Beatles entering and leaving the studio. Even though there were 50,000 requests for tickets to the show, there were only 728 seats available inside. Watching the Beatles’ performance that night in the studio audience were John’s wife, Cynthia Lennon and George’s sister, Louise Harrison.
A record 73 million people watched that night. The Beatles’ sang five songs in two separate segments including “All My Loving”, “Till There Was You”, “She Loves You”, “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. The Beatles made such an impact with their historic live appearance that it launched Beatlemania in the U.S. which still endures to this day.
Earlier that day on February 9, The Beatles taped another performance for “The Ed Sullivan Show” which was shown on Sunday, February 23 after the Beatles had returned to England. On Sunday, Feb. 16, The Beatles appeared on the show again live from Miami, Florida. All of The Beatles appearances on the show are included on the DVD set, The 4 Complete Ed Sullivan Shows starring The Beatles.
After the show, The Beatles celebrated by first going to The Playboy Club (59th street and Fifth Avenue) conveniently located across the street from The Plaza Hotel. Paul McCartney commented: “I think the Bunnies are even more lovable than we are.”
Next, The Beatles went to the Peppermint Lounge. Just like a scene from A Hard Day’s Night, Ringo Starr danced the night away as John and Paul grooved from their seats.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10
Several press conferences were held inside the Terrace and Baroque rooms of the hotel that day for the media. One member of the press who interviewed The Beatles that day was celebrity psychologist, Dr. Joyce Brothers.
After a full afternoon of interviews, the Beatles hosted a cocktail party for members of the press at the Plaza.
In just a brief four-day visit, The Beatles had conquered America. They were due to stay in America for another 10 days to perform their first U.S. concerts and appear for a second time on “The Ed Sullivan Show” live from Miami.
Find out in the new book, ELVIS AND THE BEATLES: Love and Rivalry Between the Two Biggest Acts of the 20th Century
Way up in the hills of Griffith Park in Los Angeles sits the George Harrison Tree, originally planted in 2003 in tribute to the ex-Beatle who prided himself as a gardener.
The George Harrison tree was planted near the Griffith Park Observatory at the Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail. The tree was planted in February 2003 and the following year, on February 22, 2004, a dedication ceremony to unveil a special bronze plaque was held, as the city declared “George Harrison Day” that year in Los Angeles.
At the 2004 dedication ceremony, friends and associates gathered to pay tribute to Harrison including singer Billy Preston, singer Jackie Lomax, Council member Tom LaBonge, Chris Carter, host of LA’s “Breakfast with the Beatles” and Linda Arias, Olivia Harrison’s sister, who read a message sent by Olivia thanking everyone for remembering her husband George.
However, the original tree that was planted – a Cayman Island Pine – made headlines in 2014 when it was reported that the tree had died. In June 2014, the tree had to be cut down due to infestation by none other than beetles.
In February 2015, an oak tree was planted in place of the pine tree. This special tree is located at the opposite end of the parking lot from the Griffith Park Observatory.
The bronze plaque placed in front of the George Harrison Tree features a lotus flower and reads: “In memory of a great humanitarian who touched the world as an artist, a musician and a gardener,” followed by a quote from George Harrison: ‘For the forest to be green, each tree must be green.’ George Harrison (1943-2001)
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The updated version of LOVE, which features a cast of 70 performers, includes advanced projection technology, new acrobatic acts, a remixed soundtrack with a new song (“Twist and Shout”), colorful costumes, brand new speakers and state-of-the-art video panels featuring The Beatles’ images.
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