Only one more day to check out The Beatles’ “Magical History Tour” exhibit at The Henry Ford

DEARBORN, Mich. — I visited the Beatles special exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum on Saturday.  The exhibit is called “The Magical Mystery Tour” and it began with black and white photos of Liverpool, England.  The exhibit continues with the drum set from the Cavern Club, several 45 rpm records, original hand-written letters by the band, the outfits the band wore on stage and photos from their concerts.

There are four listening stations each with an old radio and headsets.  One is American Rockability, Radio Luxembourg, British Radio and Elvis Presley.  Each member of the legendary British rock group were described individually throughout the exhibit: John, Paul, George and Ringo.

John Lennon was a born leader but a bad student with bad eyesight.  He was raised by Aunt Mimi who did not like rock and roll.  However, his mother encouraged him.  The Quarrymen was a band led by John Lennon.  To my surprise, a British visitor, walked up to me and told me he went to Quarrybank School with John Lennon.  Hence, the inspiration for the name of the band.

After teaching John to play the guitar, Paul auditioned for him and started the most impactful songwriting relationship in rock history.  In 1969, John married Yoko Ono and that was also the year the Beatles produced their last album, Abbey Road.

Mike, a Beatles fan and visitor, said John Lennon and Yoko Ono bailed out his cousin, John Sinclair, from jail for possessing two joints of marijuana.  John also offered to perform at the 1971 John Sinclair Freedom Rally in the Crisler Arena on the University of Michigan campus.

Paul McCartney grew up in a musical family.  His father was a jazz musician, so Paul first learned the trumpet, deciding later to learn the guitar so he could sing.  When he was 14, his mother passed away.  To cope, Paul lost himself in his music.  “The idea of maybe doing this for a living instead of getting what we thought was going to be a boring job, was exciting,” said Paul.

George Harrison was a schoolmate of Paul McCartney.   He was a dedicated guitarist and practiced til his fingers bled.  “I’d rather be a musician that a rock star,” he once said.  George played at the Cavern Club; a tiny, stinky, basement venue.

Ringo (Richard Starkey) grew up in Liverpool’s toughest slum.  He was ill a lot and was introduced to the drums during one of his hospital stays.  On occasion, Ringo would fill in for the Beatles drummer, Pete Best.

Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager, had seen John,  Paul, George and Pete come into his record store where they would listen to new American records.  He never managed a band before, but asked to manage the Beatles shortly after seeing them play at the Cavern Club in 1961.  He helped guide them til his death in 1967 of a drug overdose.

Curt Gunther begged to be the Beatles photographer during the 1964 North American Tour.  He took his role without pay.  He, however, was good at playing poker, and made money playing poker with the band.   The band members were not good poker players.   Many of the Gunther images in this gallery never been printed before now.

In the mid 60’s, the Beatles found themselves with money in the bank and the urge to experiment with music, drugs, spiritualism and cutting-edge visual arts.  Abbey Road was a busy studio used for audio recording for many uses.  Other popular bands would record at Abbey Road.  Ninety percent of all Beatles music was recorded at Abbey Road.  It was  here they tried sounds played in reverse which brought about an unworldly quality and rumors of hidden messages.

The Beatles played their final concert on August 29, 1966 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  Paul would have continued but the others were done.  The Beatles would not play another concert again.  The original break up letter in 1969 was displayed in this exhibit.  The Beatles are now musical history.

I greatly enjoyed this exhibit because I was a Beatles fan since I was a child.  It was interesting since I have never seen them in concert.  However, I would have loved to go.   I was surprised to see John Lennon’s album cover that he signed for Mark David Chapman before he died.

There is only one more day to check out “The Magical Mystery Tour” exhibit as it ends on Sunday, September 18. Tickets are $5 on top of regular museum admission prices.  The Henry Ford Museum is located at 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, Michigan.



Entrance to “The Magic History Tour: A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition” at the Henry Ford Museum. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)



One of four listening stations within the exhibit. Each plays the favorite songs of a Beatles band member. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)



The Beatles drum set and guitars from The Cavern Club in Liverpool where the band first became popular. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)



The Beatles Fan Club Flexi Disc, a holiday record by the popular British rock group. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)



Museum visitors can dress up as their favorite Beatles characters and pose for a photo. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)



Visitors checking out “The Magical History Tour” exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)



John Lennon’s jacket and fedora that he wore in Bermuda. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)



John Lennon’s album cover that he signed for Mark David Chapman before he died. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


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