This Beatles fan dreams of going to all the places the Fab Four have
by Christopher Toh
Mar 26, 2011
JUST over a week ago, a couple of friends of mine packed their bags
and did something that I've always longed to do but never had the
gall - or finances - to pursue: Take a jaunt around the world.
Actually, I'm pretty sure all of us have, at one time or other,
dreamed of just dropping everything and just take off into the sunset
to see what tomorrow will bring. Most of us haven't done anything
about it because to us, that's just ... a dream.
But now, as I reach the ripe old age where I worry about mid-life
crises, planning wills and constructing a bucket list, I've begun
once again to dream. However, my ultimate round-the-world trip isn't
a trip to nowhere.
See, I am a Beatles fan. I have been for quite a while now. So I've
been thinking of making the ultimate Beatle pilgrimage.
True, I've already been to Abbey Road studios in London (where they
recorded almost all of their songs), and to be honest, until this
year, I'd only penned down "Liverpool" (where they were from and
where the Hard Day's Night Hotel is located) and "Hamburg" (where
they did stints before becoming famous) as the ultimate stops for all
things Beatles. (Plus, they have Beatles museums there.)
However, in January, a 53-year-old accountant called Rodolfo Vazquez
from Buenos Aires opened his own Beatles museum in Avenue Corrientes.
His collection has made it into the Guinness Book Of Records as the
largest collection of Beatles paraphernalia.
And it made me realise how truly global the Fab Four were. It also
meant I had to revise my pilgrimage plans, as I jotted down all the
different destinations to find all things Beatles. (To make things
easier, I only included destinations visited before the group
officially split up in 1970.)
The first was easy enough: Paya Lebar airport. Yes, the Fab Four did
transit there en route to Hong Kong in 1964. (And since I've been to
Hong Kong, I'm going to scratch that off the list.)
The list now includes several regional destinations, including
Adelaide, where a reported 350,000 fans lined the streets, from
Tapleys Hill Road and Anzac Highway all the way into the city to the
Adelaide Town Hall, to greet their heroes in 1964 - and Ringo Starr
wasn't even with them at the time! (He was temporarily replaced by
Jimmy Nicol). And Manila, where they got roughed up in 1966;
Rishikesh in India, where they studied with the Maharishi in 1968;
and of course, the most Beatles-mad city in Asia - Tokyo, where they
were the first rock band to perform at the Budokan arena in 1966.
Further afield, there's Paris' George V hotel, where they wrote their
No 1 hit, Can't Buy Me Love; there's Obertauern, the famous tourist
destination in Austria, where the boys filmed the ski scenes for the
movie, Help!; and New Providence in the Bahamas - the Nassau Beach
Hotel to be exact - again for scenes in Help!. (Although traveller
reviews have said you do not want to stay there - and judging from
the photos, I agree.)
Of course, there's the United States. Pick any city and you can
probably find some Beatles reference: There's Waycross, Georgia, for
example, the site where the one of the now-infamous "Beatles
burnings" took place after the public got incensed by John Lennon's
"Beatles are bigger than Jesus" quote. There's Candlestick Park in
San Francisco, where the Fab Four played their last gig. Los Angeles,
where they played the Hollywood Bowl. Or even Washington DC, where
the Beatles played their first ever concert at the Washington Coliseum.
But if you only can go to one Stateside destination, it has to be New
York City. They made their first TV appearance there on The Ed
Sullivan Show (the Ed Sullivan Theatre is still there), did their
first Stateside photoshoot in Central Park (where there are other
John Lennon tributes), and they performed at Shea Stadium (now called
Citifield Stadium) - the first rock band to play outdoor arenas.
So yeah, yeah, yeah - there're loads to choose from.
The only thing is this: I figure by the time I save enough to go on
this pilgrimage, I'll be 64 (geddit?). And who knows if there'll be
life left in these old bones to go on a world tour? Maybe it'll be
only in my dreams.
And yes, you may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm sure I'm not the only one.