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John Lennon: “We were born in Liverpool, grew up in Hamburg, reached maturity in London and immortality in New York” (paraphrased)
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These four cities have been connected for centuries, and so it is no surprise that they are also connected by The Beatles.
Liverpool: John, Paul, George and Ringo, like other boys born in Liverpool during the 1940s, were obsessed with all things American. In fact, as a city, it is fair to say that Liverpool looked more towards America than it did towards London and the rest of the UK. Boys were always on the look out for American comics, candy, and Saturday mornings at the local cinema watching American films. Ringo was so obsessed with America that he even looked at emigrating, and ordered the paperwork from the US embassy to help him move there. John, at the age of 15, contemplated joining the Merchant Navy with his pal Nigel Walley, but when the phone call was made to Aunt Mimi, it is no surprise that it never happened. The spirit of adventure was always there.
Hamburg and Liverpool have been connected for several hundred years, though the fact The Beatles went there just 15 years after the end of the war; their parents were not impressed! But they immediately felt at home in this huge German port, so similar to Liverpool.
London was the capital city, and the centre for the country’s media; newspapers, radio and tv. It was also the only city with the recording industry at its heart. But London and Liverpool are both port cities, like Hamburg and New York, with cosmopolitan populations.
New York: Was it coincidence that John ended up in New York? The city may be the other side of the Atlantic, but for a Liverpudlian, New York is just like a big version of Liverpool. This is not a unique, or even new concept. In 1851, The Banker’s Magazine called Liverpool “The New York of Europe.”
Each of the four cities has its own unique musical culture, which is essential to understanding the similarities, and differences, between the four cities. The local music scene propelled The Beatles from Liverpool, where they were born, to Hamburg where they grew up, and back to Liverpool, before they headed to London, where they matured and began their recording career. These records resulted in the Fab Four being invited to New York to appear before 73 million people on the Ed Sullivan Show: Immortality was achieved.
So travel to these four cities of Liverpool, Hamburg, London and New York to trace the history of The Beatles through the local experts from each city, and discover the similarities and idiosyncrasies of the cities that defined the greatest pop group of all time.