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Historical Beatle gems hidden among vast display at GRAMMY Museum’s new fab exhibit

by Trina Yannicos
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Originally launched in 2014 in New York City to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first visit to the U.S., the “Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles!” exhibit has finally made its way to the West Coast. The GRAMMY Museum, which curated the exhibit along with the avid memorabilia collectors of Fab Four Exhibits, opened the exhibit in Los Angeles on July 1, and it will be on display through September 5, 2016.

The exhibit focuses on the years 1964 to 1966 and The Beatles’ influence on America. Along with countless big and small memorabilia items are interactive displays, audio interviews, concert video clips and a short film shown in the Clive Davis Theater featuring musicians, including Ringo Starr, Graham Nash, Petula Clark and Ozzy Osbourne, talking about the impact of The Beatles.

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The big ticket items in this exhibit include Ringo’s Abbey Road jacket, Paul McCartney’s Shea Stadium jacket, Ringo’s black suit from A Hard Day’s Night, and the Beatles’ drumhead which was given to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in London in April 1964 when wax figures of The Beatles were made.
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While we’ve come to expect most rock and roll exhibits to display original instruments and clothing used by the musicians, it’s the little things that make this exhibit shine and showcase its sincerity and authenticity. For example, an original program from the Beatles’ Carnegie Hall concerts on February 12, 1964 lists Paul McCartney’s name incorrectly as “John McCartney.”

Another unique item is the official proclamation when The City of New Orleans declared “Beatles Day in New Orleans” on September 16, 1964, which coincided with The Beatles’ concert there that same day. All four Beatles signed the proclamation.
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The exhibit also includes memorabilia from The Beatles’ early days in Liverpool and Hamburg. A personal letter written by George Harrison in 1962 when The Beatles were in Hamburg showcases the wit and humor of the “quiet” Beatle:
“Thank you for the. We are all still very in Hamburg as the. I started a letter to you on Thursday but it seemed to get a bit ‘you know’, so I have decided to write another.”

Other items of note include the first pair of “granny” glasses that John Lennon ever wore and a lock of John Lennon’s hair given to a fan at a concert in August 1963. John Lennon signed his autograph: “Love from ‘Bald’ John Lennon.”

The exhibit also features a large display of Beatles merchandising products including Beatles coloring books, coin purses and more from 1964 in their original packaging.
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There is much to see at this exhibit. Reserve at least two hours to take it all in. And, on your way out, make sure to get your photo while crossing Abbey Road in London with the help of a virtual scenic backdrop – luckily this photo op doesn’t require dodging the traffic!
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Ringo Starr to auction off famous Beatles drum kit, Lennon guitar and much more

Ringo Starr is cleaning house, literally! After being a musician for over 50 years and accumulating lots of stuff that only a Beatle could have, Starr and his wife, Barbara Bach, have made the decision to auction off many of their personal items which have been sitting in storage for decades.
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Julien’s Auctions announced today that they will be holding an auction of “Property From The Collection of Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach” on December 4 and 5 in Beverly Hills. Over 800 items from the Starrs’ London, Monaco and Beverly Hills residences are featured in this once-in-a-lifetime auction by a former Beatle.

Read the full article here

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Related articles:

When The Beatles met Elvis, who was Presley’s biggest fan?

Review: Surprising Beatles stories revealed in new Elvis book

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Video: Ringo Starr appears at GRAMMY Museum to promote new exhibit and e-book

Ringo Starr at The GRAMMY Museum, June 11, 2013

Ringo Starr at The GRAMMY Museum, June 11, 2013

Ringo Starr appeared at the GRAMMY Museum yesterday at a media preview to promote his new exhibit, ‘Ringo: Peace & Love’, and his new e-book, ‘Photograph‘, both of which are available to the public starting June 12. Ringo explained that these projects, centering around his archive of personal artifacts, were planned in conjunction with each other. Additionally, a more extensive version of the e-book will be published in hardcover format in December.

Ringo credited his wife, Barbara, as motivating him last year to go through his archives. “I found so much stuff I didn’t know I had,” Ringo explained, including a wealth of old photos and letters that his mother had collected over the years. Even though Starr’s mother died in 1986, he hadn’t looked through the box of mementos she left behind until last year. He found old photographs and letters written before he joined The Beatles when he performed with Rory Storm’s band in Liverpool and Hamburg.

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Singer Jackie DeShannon, who toured with The Beatles in 1964, at the GRAMMY Museum. Photo by Trina Yannicos

Singer Jackie DeShannon, who toured with The Beatles in 1964, at the GRAMMY Museum. Photo by Trina Yannicos

At the press preview, Ringo answered questions from the audience. He revealed his musical idol when he was a teenager was Lightnin’ Hopkins, an American blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was such a big fan that he considered emigrating to the US as a teenager so he could live in Texas where Hopkins lived. The Beatles’ would have never met Starr had he followed through and moved to the US when he was 18. Ringo got discouraged and gave up on the idea since he did not have the patience to fill out the paperwork required for emigrating to the US.

Starr also put a rumor to rest stating that the Beatles “did not jam with Elvis” that fateful day when the two legends met in 1965 in Hollywood. Starr explained that while he looked up to many rock and roll pioneers who were older than The Beatles, Elvis was the “first one not like my Dad.”

Ringo worked closely with The GRAMMY Museum by loaning many items for display including his clothing, drum kits and personal artifacts for the exhibit.

See PHOTOS of the exhibit here.

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Review: The John Lennon Letters is a collector’s and historian’s dream book

The John Lennon Letters is a fascinating document to Beatles history. Not only does it provide entertainment for Beatles/Lennon fans, it also offers a rare insight into the mind of John Lennon unlike any biography has been able to offer. In addition, the book provides a historical account of actual letters in existence, which is valuable information for Beatles memorabilia collectors.

The John Lennon Letters, compiled and edited by Beatles biographer Hunter Davies, includes letters that Lennon wrote throughout his lifetime, spanning from his childhood years all the way up until the last years of his life. Some letters are surprising in their sentimentality like the 8-page love letter Lennon wrote to his then girlfriend, Cynthia Powell, while they were attending art school together. Not so surprising may be some sarcastic, biting letters like the typewritten letter to Todd Rundgren in 1974 or the “John rant” that was addressed to Paul and Linda McCartney in 1971.

All in all, the collection of almost 300 letters, notes and doodles compiled together in book form is a feat in itself. Davies, with permission from Yoko Ono, contacted all the people he knew of (friends of The Beatles and collectors) who had a letter from John Lennon in their possession. Each letter is reprinted in its physical form, with Lennon’s handwriting then reprinted in text format. Davies also offers historical context surrounding each of the letters in this almost 400-page volume.

While some may believe owning entertainment memorabilia is more for investment purposes, the importance of collecting and preserving personal items of famous musicians and actors adds a lot to learning the history of the performer. The downside is that these documents or artifacts are often kept hidden in private collections and are never seen by the general public. Surely many Beatles and Lennon biographers would have loved to have had access to all of these letters while they were writing their books.

In recent years, artifacts once owned by The Beatles have often been uncovered for the first time revealing new facts regarding Beatles history. That’s why The John Lennon Letters, and books like Ringo Starr’s 2004 book, Postcards from the Boys, are such a gift to Beatles historians and collectors. Davies said in a recent interview that his next book will be a compilation of original handwritten Beatles lyrics. No doubt that forthcoming book will also add to the scholarship of the Beatles legacy just like The John Lennon Letters does.

–Trina Yannicos

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