It was da Vinci that said everything is connected. Such is true in my Liverpool experience. During my last few weeks in Australia I began reading biographies on some of my favorite rock and roll bands such as the BeeGees and The Rolling Stones. What I realized from reading these biographies is that they all had one thing in common: they all compared themselves to the Beatles. Thus, I realized the Beatles were the ultimate tool of measurement for this time period of music. I like the Beatles but I've never been a true die hard fan, but because I am engrossed in the music from this era as a whole, I decided I must read a biography on the Beatles. I ordered a book online and to my surprise it was as thick as the Holy Bible. It was The Beatles Bible. I spent the several weeks learning far more about the Beatles than I ever intended on learning. Still, I ended the book with a new-found appreciation and an extensive knowledge on the band.
I suppose then that it is no surprise when I began planning my Europe excursion I desperately wanted to go to Liverpool to see all the wonderful sites I had read about. Unfortunately, this didn't fit into my original itinerary.
Fast forward three weeks to a night when Maggie and I were trying to nail out the remaining seven days of my time in Europe. I had arranged to meet a friend in Brussels, Belgium but I hadn't realized how expensive and time consuming the trains from Nuremberg were. With a little touch of Maggie's magic I found a cheaper and quicker solution—a flight to Brussels via 20 hour layover in Manchester. It was then Maggie who suggested I could enjoy the layover in Liverpool, thus receiving my Beatle's tour.
Sure enough I booked the flight and one seat on the Magical Mystery Tour Bus so I would be sure and see every site that related to the story of the Beatles. It worked out even more perfectly because two days before this trip I was in Prague, visiting the John Lennon Wall—the perfect event of foreshadowing.
When I arrived in Liverpool I was fully loaded with my backpack and travel gear. There was no time to drop my stuff off at a hostel so I had to enjoy the tour as a complete tourist. I had just enough time before the tour to make a quick walk through the Beatles Story Museum.
The museum was a great refresher of everything I had read in my Beatles Bible. The boys met when they were young, formed a small band, eventually they found gigs in Hamburg, Germany and many years later they met Ringo and ultimately became one of the greatest bands in rock and roll history.
One of the things that makes the Beatle's story so interesting is the fact that many pieces had to fall into place before success took over. The background characters were some of the most important pieces to making the band work. In fact, if it weren't for these pieces, I doubt if the Beatles would have made it big.
First you have Stuart Sutcliffe, sometimes referred to as “The Fifth Beatle”, he was John Lennon's best friend. It was he who brought the style to the band. Before they were quite a mismatched group of guys. It was also Stuart who designed the renown logo and changed the name from “The Silver Beatles” to “The Beatles.”
Stuart also had a huge indirect impact on the band. In Germany he met a girl named Astrid, who created the famous haircut that further synchronized the band. She also held the first photoshoot of the band, thus solidifying a rock and roll image with her black and white prints. It was also Astrid who invited all of her German friends to pack the bar where the band was playing.
As a former student of Public Relations, I find that perhaps the most influential character of the Beatle's success is the man who shaped them into the superstars they were meant to be. Brian Epstein.
Brian discovered the Beatles at a live show at the Cavern. The boys were sloppy—eating on stage, swearing and drinking, still a mismatched mess—yet they still had an electrical connection with the crowd. It was Brian who recognized the potential and therefore decided to take on the band in a manger position. Brian groomed and disciplined the boys. He got them their first record deal and promoted them on to superstardom.
All of these elements were the perfect stage set for the tour I later embarked on. Naturally, it was cool and rainy in Liverpool, so I was glad to know the tour took place on a rainbow colored Magical Mystery Bus.
Our guide was a charming older gentleman who had been giving Beatles tours for over 25 years. He filled our brains with all sorts of fun facts as we drove around Liverpool seeing the birth homes of each band member, the places where they met and played and even the inspiration for several songs such as Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane.
The tour ended at the famous club where the Beatles got there start, The Cavern Club. Here I got chills as I entered the underground club I had read so much about. To my satisfaction there was live music on stage and the place was full of locals enjoying the show. When the man on stage played Penny Lane, I couldn't help but melt a little. Here I was drinking a beer at the very place where The Beatles got started and I was listening to a Beatles' song that was inspired by a place I had seen just a few minutes earlier.
I was enjoying myself so much I wished I could have stayed all night but it was getting dark, my back was aching and I still had an hour train ride back to Manchester, where I was staying the night. Unfortunately, I had to leave but Liverpool looked like the coolest of towns. I would have loved to have spent a week wandering in and out of the pubs and museums...maybe someday.