As a Beatles documentary airs and Liverpool’s new museum opens, get your ticket to ride and … join the Fab Tour!
- Rob McGibbon and his family check in at Liverpool’s Hard Days Night Hotel
- At the Liverpool Beatles Museum, find the band’s drum kits and costumes.
- He stops at the childhood homes of Paul McCartney and John Lennon during his journey.
Sitting at a 1950s upright piano in Paul McCartney’s childhood living room seems like an imposition, especially when all I can do is hit the keys at random.
But it’s also extraordinarily exciting to be here on the eve of a three-part documentary, The Beatles: Get Back, directed by Peter Jackson, which begins tomorrow on Disney +.
This long-awaited fly-on-the-wall movie will take everyone to the final chapter of The Beatles. But stepping into Macca’s townhouse at 20 Forthlin Road, five miles from downtown, helps you relive the days before the Beatlemania frenzy.
Beatlemania: statues of the band on the Liverpool Waterfront. Rob and his family posed with the Fab Four on their tour.
I am here with my wife and our 13 year old son on the first stop on a tour of the Beatles sights in Liverpool.
The house, in the Allerton suburb, is now managed by the National Trust. McCartney and his younger brother Mike advised the Trust closely on every detail, so it has a wonderful 1960s authenticity, from the choice and placement of furniture, to the shabby curtains and rugs.
About a mile away on Menlove Avenue is Mendips, John Lennon’s row house where he lived with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George Smith.
The house was bought by Yoko Ono in 2002 to prevent it from falling into private hands. He then donated it to the Trust.
It’s creepy to be standing in Lennon’s meager upstairs bedroom. Framed on the bed is a touching letter from his widow Yoko. “Everything that happened afterwards sprouted from John’s dreams in his little bedroom,” he writes.
Rob enjoyed taking ‘a deep dive into The Beatles Story museum’, pictured
From the house, we see the place where John’s mother, Julia, was killed by a car in 1958 when John was 17 years old. Then we went down to Strawberry Field, the grounds of a large house where I played as a child. It is now a newly renovated Salvation Army center.
We then hopped in a Fab 4 Taxi to go here, there and everywhere with our cheerful driver Phil as the lead vocals. An expanded playlist of Beatles anecdotes unfolds with a grinning flash of golden grindstones. He takes us to the houses of George and Ringo, and then to Woolton to see the grave of Penny Lane and Eleanor Rigby in St. Peter’s Church. Across the street, we find ourselves in the exact spot where John and Paul first met on July 6, 1957.
Our tour proceeds at a breakneck pace, so we later relax in the Lennon Suite at the Hard Days Night Hotel, complete with a white baby grand piano, before reaching the city center. We posed next to the bronze statues of the Fab Four on the docks, before diving into the nearby Beatles Story museum. We then walked to Mathew Street, home to the original Cavern Club, which is still a popular basement music venue.
Our latest gig is just down the street at the new Liverpool Beatles Museum, owned by Roag Best, half-brother of legendary ex-Beatles drummer Pete. They have the same mother, Mona, but Roag’s father is a former Beatles executive and Macca’s childhood friend Neil Aspinall.
There are drum kits, rare signs, costumes, McCartney’s lighter, Brian Epstein’s fountain pen, letters, and original ’60s merchandise galore. There’s even a plastic bag from Apple and some hardwood floors that support Pete’s battery.
Even the most arbitrary artifact related to The Beatles gains reliquary status in Liverpool.