Relive the British Invasion at Lincoln’s Center’s “Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles!”

Women at a drum-kit receiving video lessons from Ringo from The Beatles

As I'm sure you've heard (was it the shrieking teenagers echoing across the decades?), The Beatles first came to America 50 years ago in February, landing at JFK to begin their historic TV-radio-concert-tour across the country, spearheading the so-called British Invasion which would redefine music and culture forever.

The initial encounter and subsequent years of mania were hugely influential, it was all covered, promoted and merchandised to the hilt AND it was all also a whole lot of fun… which makes it an excellent subject for the exhibition at Lincoln Center's New York Public Library of the Performing Arts, "Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles!" 

Image of a guy posing in front of the actual instruments used by The Beatles from the Fab Four's first Ed Sullivan appearanceFrom the Lincoln Center's New York Public Library of the Performing Arts exhibition is this "typical" teenager's bedroom filled with The Beatles magazines, posters, and other memorabilia

The Beatles Vintage Memorabilia

I went to "Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles!" and expected to be entertained, as it'd be difficult to make the subject boring for anyone who was alive for any part of the band's magnificent ten-year run. I was kind of blown away by the breadth, depth, and delightfulness of the collection here. Most amusing were the examples of Beatles memorabilia, mainly from 1964 to 1966:

  • The sneakers and rings"Disk-Go" 45-LP carrying cases
  • The posters and pennants and color forms sets
  • The ticket stubs, set lists, and first-pressings
  • The cheesy, breathless fan magazines
  • The somewhat baffled coverage by the "grown-up" press.

Just to name a few… The next time you find yourself ranting about our current tendency toward celebrity-worship and product-licensing just remember, the practice is not unique to the present day.  

Image of the cover of Summer Love Magazine with The Beatles on the coverA wall displaying vintage The Beatles memorabilia at the NYPL of the Performing Arts exhibition in NYC

Creative, Entertaining Installation Layout 

It's not just all the goofy and/or nostalgic ephemera that makes the "Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles!" exhibition a great reason to spend an hour or so in Lincoln Center's NYPL of the Performing Arts. There are about a dozen video stations with classic footage and recollections from those who were there, as well as the actual instruments from the Fab Four's first Ed Sullivan appearance, which set viewership records that still stand and introduced the vast majority of the country to the band. It's all very cleverly laid out, with installations such as:

  • A "typical" teenager's bedroom
  • A Woolworth's store window
  • A drum-kit at which you can sit a receive video lessons from Ringo.

It's free, it's totally fun, it's definitely worth a visit or two before it closes May 10th.

Image of an original Set list from The Beatles 1966 North American Tour

More Information: The Beatles at NYPL

Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles will be on display at the NYPL of the Performing Arts in Lincoln Center through May 10. The NYPL is located in the northwest corner of the Lincoln Center campus, and is open Monday through Saturday at 12:00 noon, closing at 8:00 p.m. on Monday and Thursday, and at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday.

Image of an original black The Beatles t-shirt that says "Stamp Out the Beatles" on display at NYPL

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