The Beatles Story museum in Liverpool must be the definitive account and collection of the Fab Four’s rise to superstardom.
Located in Liverpool’s Albert Dock, just a few minutes walk away from the Beatles Statue, the Beatles Story charts the early beginnings of the band from their beginning as the Quarrymen all the way through to their mega stardom and eventual split.
Before you even step into the building you are immersed into the Beatles Story. The Yellow Submarine sign looms whilst Beatles track play out across the courtyard.
Wandering up to the ticket desk you see images of the Liverpool, and country the young musicians were growing up in. helping set the cultural scene of their ‘birth.’
The exhibition itself combines themed rooms around central themes or events in the Beatles’ history. The essential audio guide gives you an audible explanation of the events interspersed with quotes from key players in the band’s history.
Starting with the Mersey Beats and the introduction of John and George, displayed memorabilia includes George’s first guitar and flyers from the village fete that was to be the first ‘gig’.
Moving through we are into a replica of Hamburg and Star Club that was to hone the band’s experience and early legend.
Moving on, we see the Liverpool shop where the boys first purchased their instruments on monthly payments, before we move onto a replica of the Grapes pub, in Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter. Another iconic location in the formation of the Beatles.
We walk past the Grapes into the Cavern Club! Yes, a full replica of the Cavern Club including stage and seating. The Beatles Story has skillfully included a cafe in this space so you can grab a cup of tea and soak up the atmosphere of the club. Up close you will realise just how small the stage really was. And then realise they played that stage 292 times!!
After we learn about the early meetings with manager Brian Epstein and producer George Harrison, we are outside the CBS Television studio that was to really catapult the band into the American consciousness.
Their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show was seen by 73 million people! Think about that… seventy three million people!
After that, things get crazy! A room dedicated to Sgt Pepper includes the exact replicas of the suits worn on the album cover. These were commissioned by the Beatles Story with the exact same material working to the original patterns. On display is the original album cover with a guide to the famous faces, as well as an alternate version that was not used.
After a quick trip through the insides of a Yellow Submarine, we arrive in Pepperland, replete with Blue Meanies.
Before we know it, the writing is on the wall and we learn about the breakup of the Beatles.
As the exhibition ends, we learn about their individual careers as they branched out into music, movie production and charitable causes. A dedicated area for each artist leaves us with a greater sense of their personal contributions to music and to the world.
There is just one room left of this amazing exhibition. It is a simple white room, with a white piano, guitar and just one song on the speakers. Imagine. I have to admit, this had me in tears.
I later learnt this piano was John Lennon’s last, and most famous piano. The museum writes, “The piano was instrumental in Lennon’s later music. He loved it so much that those closest to him renamed it as the “John Lennon Piano” due to his insistence on moving it to every studio he was working in.”
It is not, however the piano on which he wrote Imagine. This was an upright Steinway bought anonymously by George Michael back in 2000.
I thought I knew this history but the Beatles Story really brought it to life through immersive rooms and fantastic audio commentaries and the wonderful music of the Beatles. Walking ‘through’ the story helped you ‘live’ it from the existing start to the heartbreaking end.
The Beatles Story is a must for any music fan coming to Liverpool. The exhibitions work for young and old (with lots of tailored exhibits for the youngsters and some special events for little ones) and leave you with a real sense of how The Beatles became the most iconic band in the world.
I was a guest of The Beatles Story in June 2017.