Wednesday, 1 July 2015

"Ladies & Gentlemen...The Beatles!" Exhibit at LBJ Library, Austin, Texas.

On Saturday, I attended the Beatles Exhibit at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas. It was a fantastic journey through the Beatles influences to their rise to fame in Britain and Europe in 1963 and then finally their explosion in the United States and the rest of the world in 1964.

The exhibit showcases many fascinating bits of Beatles memorabilia including letters from the band, including one from Stuart Sutcliffe who was the Beatles' bassist before Paul took over the position. Autographs to lucky fans and the three main attractions were John Lennon's Gibson "Jumbo" J-160E guitar which was found in San Diego after being missing for 51 years, Paul McCartney's Shea Stadium jacket that he wore at the concert in New York in 1965 and Ringo Starr's drum head that was used for the Beatles' debut Ed Sullivan performance in 1964.

If you're in Austin or travelling to Austin, I highly recommend you check out this exhibit, it's a MUST for all Beatles fans! You've got until January 10, 2016. Unfortunately, Lennon's guitar was only there for a fortnight and is now on its way to be auctioned off in Hollywood so if you haven't been already, you missed it I'm afraid.

Now bear in mind that all these photos were taken with my Smartphone. I did spot people with professional cameras and had a facepalm moment but I think they didn't come out TOO bad.

The Beatles US Tours from 64-66, arranged by tickets on a map of the US.

A close up of one of the tickets. This one is from Houston in 1965.

Another exhibit was a video of their US Arrival in February 1964 with a mock up of the Press Conference they gave at the airport.

Next was a mock up of their gear on the Ed Sullivan Show. Note though that these are not the original guitars and drums they played. (I think the Hofner is actually a 1966 model)

An issue of the Liverpool music newspaper 'Mersey Beat' which the Beatles featured heavily in from 1961 onwards.

An autograph from "Bald" John Lennon to a fan after the last of their six 1963 performances at the Gaumont Cinema in Bournemouth, England. This lucky fan received a lock of John's hair (Hence the "Bald" comment) and here it is displayed with the autograph.

The 1960 Business Card of the Beatles from when Alan Williams was their manager.

John's lost 1962 Gibson "Jumbo" J-160E that was stolen backstage at the Finsbury Park Astoria in London during their 1963 Christmas Shows there. It was finally discovered in 2014 that it had been owned by one John McCaw since 1969.

A set list written by Paul from the Grosvenor Ballroom in 1960.

A reproduction of a Beatle fan's bedroom (This one was based on a suburban New Jersey fan's bedroom)

There was a whole wall of original Beatles merchandise from the 1960s, including Dolls, Wigs, Games, Badges/Buttons and these shoes. Cute, eh?

Paul's handwritten lyrics to 'What You're Doing'. Written on note paper at the Lafayette Motor Inn in Atlantic City, New Jersey during the band's stay there in August 1964. This was a first draft and Paul threw it in the bin where it was quickly retrieved by a maid.

And here is Macca's Shea Stadium Jacket, worn at the historic gig at the baseball stadium in New York City but had actually been part of their stage outfits for a while.

Autographs that were given to members of the Dallas fan club. Included is a picture of the girls with the Beatles where one of them is holding the piece of paper. They also had the foresight to get Brian Epstein's autograph too which makes it all the more valuable.

Another exhibit was an interactive one, where you are given a drum lesson by Ringo! Here's the next generation of Beatles fans drumming away!

Ringo's suit jacket that he wore on the cover of the Abbey Road album.

A 1966 setlist that was taped to George Harrison's guitar, look how tiny it is!

A pair of prescription yellow tinted "Granny Glasses" that John Lennon ordered in 1967. He stopped wearing them when he complained the lenses were too small. Again, see how small they are!

The exhibit is curated by the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles and is a travelling exhibit. All photographs are by Bob Bonis and when you do go, be sure to tweet about it using the hashtag #BeatlesatLBJ

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