While there have been literally millions and millions of words offered about the Beatles, none come close to what it was actually like to witness the music and mayhem that was reaped in their wake. The anticipation of each and every new album; the cool and charisma that found fans worshipping them like gods; their indelible influence on fashion and style; the revolutionary sounds they created and inspired. All of this was part and parcel of the Fab Four phenomenon, a cultural event that has never been replicated since. In less than a decade, they forever changed popular music, leaving an imprint that remains undiminished a full half-century since.
That's one reason why anything associated with the Beatles has taken on an air of awe and intrigue, as if it can somehow connect us mere mortals with some kind of sacred sacrament. The connection was especially clear here in South Florida, when in 1964 the band's second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show was broadcast worldwide from Miami Beach and the locals were given opportunity to watch them romp in the surf and travel about like tourists.
Those memories are reignited via a special traveling exhibition, "Ladies And Gentlemen...The Beatles!" that brings over 400 pieces of memorabilia, artifacts, rare photographs, videos and recordings to our environs. Curated by the Grammy Museum and an organization that dubs itself Fab Four Exhibits, the showing will take place October 10 through January 18 at HistoryMiami.
Truth be told, there is a certain bittersweet sentiment attached to all of this. Two of the group's members -- John Lennon and George Harrison -- died long ago and way too young, in tragic circumstance at that. On the other hand, Paul McCartney continues to tour, and his live concerts, replete with an ample stock of Beatles standards, keep the spirit of the music alive.
An annual visit by Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band can also be counted on, although Ringo being Ringo, has turned his performances into something akin to self-parody. U2 and Coldplay are the heavyweights now in a pop music culture devoid of legions of superstars, one that finds Justin Bieber, Pitbull and Lady GaGa substituting celebrity for any essence of transcendent talent.
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That's all the more reason then to succumb to a Beatles buzz, and though this exhibition may not equate to a stroll down Abbey Road, it will offer a fine trip down memory line regardless, all for the less than regal price of $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and students with ID, $5 for children 6-12 and free for children under 6. Family fun days on October 11 and November 8 get everyone in free from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. An opening reception on October 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. is also available for $5 for HistoryMiami members and $15 for non-members.
We could quote from any number of Beatles lyrics in order to end this narrative on a clichéd and corny note. And while we hesitate to do so, we also can't resist one appropriate piece of advice: Make plans to attend, so you can get back to where you once belonged.