The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has beefed up its Beatles exhibit with some never-before-displayed artifacts related to the Fab Four.
Watching various Beatles artifacts “Come Together” is what told the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame the time was right to update its Fab Four exhibition. Specifically, over the last year, the venue received an Archibald Ramsden upright piano Paul McCartney and John Lennon used to write some of The Beatles’ most-iconic songs, as well as the latter’s Hofner Senator electric guitar.
“We’ve had tremendous growth in the last couple of years, where we’ve freshened up the experience,” Rock Hall VP of Marketing and Communications Todd Mesek said. “It’s not just about artifacts, but it’s about connecting the legacy artists and the inductees. It’s about telling the story and not just to explain things. “Now we have these new Beatles artifacts, as well as a great collection of stuff that’s either on display or in the vault. So we had these things come together.”
Additional items featured in the exhibit include drumsticks used by Ringo Starr during the Beatles’ 1964 concert at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium, a suit worn by George during the Beatles’ 1966 tour and Paul’s musical score/notes for “Birthday.”
“We’ve always had a significant Beatles exhibit, for obvious reasons,” Mesek said. “They’re so big and impactful. And this is still one of the biggest displays of Beatles memorabilia, but to see this stuff that’s never been on display before is incredibly important for us.”
Regarding the prized piano, Paul played it after he moved in with girlfriend Jane Asher at her parents’ home in central London. The piano was located in the basement music room. It’s where Lennon and McCartney composed songs such as “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “And I Love Her,” “We Can Work It Out,” “Got to Get You Into My Life” and “Eleanor Rigby.”
Eventually, Asher’s younger brother, Peter — of pop music vocal duo Peter & Gordon — owned the piano.
“As for the Hofner Senator guitar, in the early days of The Beatles, when they were in Germany, it was Lennon’s kind of go-to daily practice studio-composition instrument he always had with him,” Mesek said. “So that paints a picture, too. These are items that have never been on display before.”
After celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015, the Rock Hall has spent the last two years redefining its next chapter by rebranding the popular tourist destination, which annually attracts more than 400,000 visitors. That included moving the café to the first floor and this past summer the debut of “The Power of Rock Experience” film, which can be screened in the revamped Connor Theater featuring arena-quality sound, huge video screens and fan interactivity.
“The next significant phase is the third floor will become the entire Hall of Fame,” Mesek said. “We’ll have a representation of all of the inductees. No matter who is your favorite artist is, you’ll see some representation. “It’ll also connect to the ‘Power of Rock Experience.’ There will be some interactive elements. That’s coming in April, just in time for the inductions. So, overall, it’s a multi-year, multimillion dollar transformation that will broaden that experience.”
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Where: 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., Cleveland.