We headed out by coach bus a few weeks ago with 25 of our "closest" friends to Liverpool, the native home of the Beatles. There we walked in the steps of the Fab Four and tried to imagine the early days, before the boys made it to the big time.
A crash course was necessary, of course, so we made our way through the Beatles Story, a museum of their early careers where we gleaned a lot of information and trivia of their "behind the scene" story.
Then, we hopped on the Magical Mystery Tour bus for a cruise around town to see some of its more famous landmarks.
We first saw the childhood home of Ringo Starr, which is one of over 400 homes built before 1919 that are scheduled to be demolished in the upcoming days. Attempts by fans of the Beatles and the Housing Minister to keep the home from being torn down have hit a dead-end, so this spot at 9 Madryn Street may not be around much longer. Did you know that Ringo's real name is Richard Starkey? It's little trivia like that, that can come in quite handy at the next pub quiz night or playing Trivial Pursuit!
Next we saw the birthplace of George Harrison, where he lived with his parents and 3 other children. George has reminisced that there was only one source of heat in the house, a single coal fire, and that in the winter, the children would often wake up to freezing temperatures and have to run outside for the toilet. The little house was just two rooms up and two rooms down, each room being only 10 feet square. His family stayed there until he was 6 years old.
The house was situated at 12 Arnold Grove, a name that George sometimes used later in life to sign in anonymously in hotels.
Next, on to John Lennon's childhood home, where he lived with his Aunt Mimi from the age of 5-23. Yoko Ono bought the property some years ago, and donated it to the National Trust at which point the interior was recreated to resemble the way the house looked during his time there. Tours of the home are now possible and one of the things visitors are able to see is his aunt's front bedroom where he and Paul McCartney created the Beatles' first UK number 1 song, "Please, Please Me."
Paul McCartney's childhood home was next--his family had moved there in 1955, the year before his mother died, leaving his father to raise Paul and his brother, Michael. This home is also run by the National Trust and is open for visits, where you can see various Beatles memorabilia and the rooms where Paul and John would get together to play their guitars. Over 20 of their songs were written here, including "I Saw Her Standing There."
A visit to Liverpool would not be complete without visiting Penny Lane, which is at a junction where Paul and John would catch a bus into town. The Penny Lane signs have been so popular through the years that they are often stolen by obsessed fans.
Moving along on the Magical Mystery Tour, we drove by Strawberry Field(s) which was the location of a Salvation Army Children's Home near John Lennon's home. John and his friends used to play in the field surrounding the home.
Probably one of the most famous locales in Liverpool's Beatles' history, is the Cavern, a rock and roll club located in the cellar, which has hosted some of the world's most famous rock and roll acts.
Just a small space for performers and observers both, the Beatles performed there some 292 times between 1961-1963. Their last performance there was in August of 1963 just 6 months before their trip to the US to perform at the Ed Sullivan show. On that day, over 74 million tuned in to watch them--over 40% of the American population at the time.
Our group of Americans enjoyed our weekend trip down memory lane in Liverpool, as we channeled John Lennon with our colored glasses.
Imagine all the people.
Living life as peace.
You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one.