The Beatles Story will display a new photographic exhibition titled ‘Sgt. Pepper Way’, showcasing previously unseen images of John Lennon to celebrate what would have been his 80th birthday on October 9th 2020.
The black and white photographs captured Lennon at the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road’ theatre show at The Beacon Theatre, New York on October 17, 1974, and have never before been on public display.
In the snapshots, which have remained unseen for over 45 years, John Lennon can be seen changing the name of West 74th street on Broadway to SGT. PEPPER WAY, sitting at an organ and relaxing in a dark velvet suit, top hat and ‘ELVIS’ lapel badge.
The photographs were all taken by Robert Deutsch who worked as a freelance photographer in New York during the 1970/80s.
Deutsch was recently on a cruise ship which docked in Liverpool and he was able to explore the city in a day-long tour, which included trips to Strawberry Field, The Cavern Club and The Beatles Story. After visiting, he got in touch and offered to share his previously unpublished photographs with the Albert Dock-based attraction.
He recalls; “I met a John a few times and he was always very charming and very easy to talk to, but I was very nervous because he was a Beatle and I was a big Beatles fan!
He went up on the ladder and changed the street sign to Sgt Pepper Way and when that was over he went into the theatre and invited us all to come in with him.”
Deutsch continued: “He was having a great time talking to us, then he sat down at the organ and started playing – I couldn’t believe it, this is John Lennon, playing music for me!
He was very nice, very friendly and very accessible.”
The display, titled ‘Sgt. Pepper Way’ will showcase the images alongside an video featuring their photographer in the exhibition, where fans can also see John’s last piano and enjoy an immersive experience in the updated ‘Imagine White Room’.
Mary Chadwick, General Manager at The Beatles Story said:
“We’re so pleased to be able to share these amazing photographs, which have remained hidden in Robert’s home for so many years.
“Despite everything, 2020 is a significant milestone year for The Beatles Story – celebrating what would have been John’s 80th birthday, along with a special exhibit to mark Ringo’s 80th birthday and our 30th anniversary so it’s important to honour these occasions appropriately and in the best way we can.”
“As the world’s leading permanent exhibition dedicated to the lives and careers of the Fab Four from Liverpool, we’re delighted to be able to mark what would have been John’s birthday with a brand new display we’re sure our visitors will love.”
The exciting new exhibition will run at The Beatles Story for three years, during which time further never-seen-before images from Robert Deutsch’s collection will also be added.