Thursday, February 5, 2004

Beatles invaded 40 years ago

By Jim Knippenberg /The Cincinnati Enquirer

Paul McCartney (left) and John Lennon share a microphone during a Crosley Field concert in 1966. The Beatles visited Cincinnati twice, this was their last stop for 22,500 people attending. Their previous visit came in August 1964.
(Enquirer file)

Can it really be 40 years since the Beatles invasion? Forty years since that chilly Feb. 7 when they first landed on U.S. soil? Forty years since that even chillier Feb. 9 when they made their U.S. television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show?

Yep. And even though the band is no more, it's still a hot commodity. Google the Beatles and you'll find 4,620,000 sites. Type it in on an books search and you'll find 7,272 books about them and by them. Check out its DVD category and you'll find Ed Sullivan Presents the Beatles, the historic Sullivan shows from Feb. 9, 16 and 23, 1964, and Sept. 12, 1965, popping up at No. 123 in Amazon's sales rankings. It's no Janet Jackson Super Bowl halftime show, but that's a powerful lot of interest in a group that disbanded in 1970.

They came to Cincinnati twice in those six years, first on Aug. 27, 1964, to Cincinnati Gardens and again on Aug. 21, 1966, (their last tour) to Crosley Field.

They stayed at the Vernon Manor in '66 in a suite that is today called the Beatles Suite. It's a one bedroom (it was two with a connector bedroom in '66) with two baths, living and dining rooms, kitchen and den, with walls full of Beatles memorabilia, an end table full of Beatles coffee-table books and furniture done in light, bright Sgt. Pepper colors. The hotel rents it out as a package that includes champagne, chocolates, a Beatles CD and breakfast for $313.

Sting, Dave Matthews, Vince Gill and the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams will pay tribute to the historic landing on Sunday at the Grammy awards, and author Larry Kane has just published Ticket To Ride: Inside the Beatles' 1964 Tour that Changed the World (Running Press; $19.95), a book that includes information on their stop in Cincinnati.

Several Cincinnatians had brushes or near brushes with the Beatles, some shared them with us as the anniversary of their arrival approaches.


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