Opened in December 1967 on London's Baker Street, the Beatles' Apple Boutique closed less than a year later in July 1968. Paul McCartney initially described the shop as "a beautiful place where beautiful people can buy beautiful things." At the time of the shop's closing, however, his enthusiasm had waned. On display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in the Museum's Beatles exhibit is a mandarin collard green velvet jacket from the Apple Boutique. In this clip, assistant curator Meredith Rutledge-Borger discusses the Apple Boutique and how it and this jacket were indicative of an era. Visit the Beatles exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, to see more from the Fab Four.
After the Beatles achieved success, they could afford the kind of instruments they had only dreamed about as struggling musicians. Although Gretsch guitars were primarily associated with George Harrison, John Lennon acquired this particular guitar in 1966. He used it during the recording of "Paperback Writer" in April of that year.
In this video, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer discusses the guitar and the unique circumstances that brought it to the Rock Hall, where it is on display as part of the Museum's Beatles exhibit.
WATCH: Spotlight Exhibit: John Lennon's 1963 Gretsch 6120
The arrival of the Beatles triggered a musical revolution in the Sixties. Emerging from Liverpool, England, the Fab Four's sound took root in Europe, with songs like "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me" touching an audience who were looking for something to take them from the doldrums into which rock and roll had fallen. "In England, during those very early days, just while the Beatles were recording their first songs, it was a real wasteland – England had nothing to really offer as far as pop music was concerned," said the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger when he inducted the Beatles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. "At that point, the Stones were playing in these little clubs in London, doing Chuck Berry songs and blues and things, and we loved doing that. And we were a pretty scruffy lot, and we thought we were totally unique – animals – I mean there was no one like us. And then we heard there was a group from Liverpool."
The Beatles’ music - with its simultaneous refinement (crisp harmonies, solid musicianship, canny pop instincts) and abandon (energetic singing and playing, much screaming and shaking of mop-topped locks) – ignited the ...
A very different Beatles had emerged by the genesis of "Strawberry Fields Forever." The Fab Four – George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr – had traded much of the mop–topped gaiety and matching-suit panache for a more bohemian consciousness. They were no longer married to the stage, but rather exploring the boundaries of studio recording, indulging creative whims as producer George Martin helped realize the band's ambitious visions. Such musical acumen came to fruition with "Strawberry Fields Forever," a song born of fantast Lennon. "Of all the Beatles recordings, 'Strawberry Fields Forever' is known for being among the most complicated and difficult to record," noted writer Mark Lewisohn in The Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Abbey Road Studio Session Notes, 1962-1970.
Despite esoteric lyrics about a childhood haunt of Lennon's (No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low / That is you can't you know tune in but it's all right) and a beguiling arrangement, "Strawberry Fields" remains a singular pop song. It was the first song recorded for Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band when sessions began on November 24, 1966, following a months-long period when ...
Billy Preston has the distinction of being the only musician besides the band members to be credited on a Beatles record. Preston’s status as “the Fifth Beatle” came about only because “the Third Beatle” – George Harrison – had, for all intents and purposes quit the band and would only return to the fold if certain criteria were met. It was January 1969, just 11 weeks after the contentious and seemingly interminable The Beatles (The White Album) recording sessions had ground to a close. During the sessions, an atmosphere of outright hostility had developed between the band members. Beatles archivist Mark Lewishon describes the root causes of that hostility as the perception that Yoko Ono was encroaching on the band’s sanctity, Paul McCartney's “bossing” the group around and allegedly “preaching” to Harrison about his playing. At one point during the sessions, Ringo Starr walked out and came very close to completely quitting the band. After the stressful White Album sessions, “As (the Beatles’) natural motivating force,” says Lewishon, “Paul could think of only one solution: to have them ‘get back’ to what had united them best before inconceivable fame and fortune had clouded the issue – live performance.”
One of the strongest and most enduring relationships the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has enjoyed is the one we have with Elvis Presley Enterprises/Graceland. As the Museum was being developed, Graceland was on board from the beginning to loan items for exhibition. They’ve always strongly felt that Elvis Presley should have a prominent presence in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and we’re grateful for it.
Every few years, I meet with Angie Marchese, Graceland’s director of archives, in Memphis, to update and gather new items for the Rock Hall's Presley exhibit. Few people in the world are as knowledgeable about Presley’s life and career as Marchese, and she’s been instrumental in helping the Museum curate our exhibit dedicated to “the King of Rock and Roll.”
Two years ago, Marchese reached out to the Rock Hall with an idea for an exhibit that examined Presley’s influence on other artists – and she wanted our help. She didn’t have to ask twice, as it was a fantastic idea and a perfect opportunity for our respective institutions to collaborate. It is Graceland's mission to tell ...
On November 29, 1969, the Beatles were at the top of Billboard's Hot 100, earning their first two-sided Number One single with "Come Together/Something." It became the Fab Four's 18th Number One single – one more than Elvis Presley's 17, which he reached on November 1 that year with "Suspicious Minds." On the week of November 29, Billboard changed the way it calculated its charts, ranking both sides of double-sided singles in the same position rather than separately. This was key to the Beatles' Number One climb, as the previous week saw "Come Together" fall to Number Seven and "Something" hold strong at Number 3.
"Come Together" and "Something" appeared on Abbey Road, the Beatles' 11th studio album, released in the United States on October 1, 1969. George Harrison's "Something" was the first of his musical compositions to be released as an A-side to a Beatles' single. In Harrison's partial autobiography, I, Me, Mine, he explained of "Something": "This I suppose is my most successful song with over 150 cover versions. My favorite cover version is the one by James Brown – that was excellent." Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, Shirley Bassey, and Booker T. and the ...
The Beatles played Shea Stadium in New York City on August 15, 1965. They were the first rock group to play an outdoor sports stadium, and the show attracted 55,600 fans - the most attended show of the time. The promoter of the show, Sid Bernstein, said that the concert grossed $304,000, the largest gross from any event in show business up to that point. “It was the biggest crowd we ever played to anywhere in the world,” John Lennon said of the Shea show. “I heard a jet taking off, and I thought one of our amplifiers had blown up. We couldn’t hear ourselves sing.” The noise was so deafening that at the end of the show, during “I’m Down,” Lennon began playing a keyboard with his elbows while the whole group laughed hysterically. A documentary about the show, The Beatles at Shea Stadium, was produced by Ed Sullivan and was broadcast on ABC-TV the following year. The Beatles played a second show at Shea on August 23, 1966. It was one of their final live performances.