It was a cultural lightning strike without precedent … a band from working-class Liverpool that conquered the world with its infectious melodies, intricate harmonies, and boundless creativity. In a recording career spanning less than a decade, notes “Sunday Morning” host Jane Pauley, The Beatles propelled the humble pop song into the realm of high art, to become the most inventive and influential musical act of their era.
Their most innovative songs were, as one biographer put it, “stone bowls in an era of cupped hands.”
“The songs sound as important and as vibrant today as they did the day they were created,” said Greg Harris, president and CEO of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, where a new exhibit explores the period leading up to the band’s breakup.
“The Beatles: Get Back,” the recent docuseries by director Peter Jackson, is on display as well, showing the sessions – once considered gloomy and acrimonious – in an entirely new light.
Harris said, “There’s these bursts of creativity. There’s laughter. There’s joy, there’s connection. And as a result, it kind of rewrites the whole history of how we picture the end of The Beatles.”
Handwritten lyrics and other one-of-a-kind artifacts are also on view. The museum’s permanent collection even houses the upright piano used to compose some of pop’s most indelible songs, including “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Eleanor Rigby.” “When you see it, you get goose bumps to think these iconic songs came out of this instrument,” Harris said.
The Beatles would break up in 1970, but not before one final triumph: a live, unannounced concert on the roof of the Apple Records building in London.
After so much time spent at the very pinnacle of their profession, The Beatles ended things – where else? – on top of the world.
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Story produced by Robert Marston. Editor: David Bhagat.
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