HistoryMiami’s latest exhibit “Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles!” opens today in the museum’s new south wing, celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ arrival in the U.S. and their legendary performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Co-curated by Los Angeles’ The Grammy Museum and Fab Four Exhibits (a collective of four Beatles memorabilia collectors who have merged their artifacts for the show), Miami is the third stop for this traveling exhibition.
“Of course, Miami is part of that history,” points out Russ Lease of Fab Four Exhibits. “The Beatles performed in Miami on that first tour at the Deauville Beach Club.”
Amongst the artifacts of this British invasion is a press clipping from a Miami newspaper whose headline reads, “Thousands of Girls Swoon as Beatles Rock Miami Beach.” This is found next to the original Beatles logo bass drum head used for The Ed Sullivan Show performance in February 1964. “That’s the most important piece in the exhibit,” says Lease.
Other fascinating pieces include behind the scenes photography taken by Bob Bonis, The Beatles stage manager, that were only discovered after his death in 1989. These black and white snapshots depict quiet moments of The Beatles flying between gigs, backstage and during press conferences. There’s also a pair of John Lennon’s first yellow-tinted “granny glasses” from 1967 and a lock of his hair as requested by a fan in 1963.
The exhibit has interactive elements, as well, where you can take drum lessons from Ringo and record your own personal history from the British invasion. The exhibit focuses in large part on the years 1964-66 when The Beatles toured the U.S.
It also puts this time period of music history in context with American musicians of the era, like Bob Dylan, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Ray Charles and James Brown, all of whom have guitars, costumes and memorabilia on display.
“Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles!” runs through Jan. 18, 2015 at HistoryMiami, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; www.historymiami.org.