In 2017 I was invited to the Beatles Story in Liverpool, to experience the history of the Beatles through this immersive museum. Located in Albert Dock, not too far from the iconic Beatles Statue at Pier Head this dedicated space takes you on a journey from the Quarrymen to Sgt Pepper, Abbey Road to Beatlemania via the Cavern Club and the Yellow Submarine.
Early Days and Influences
The museum’s exhibits begin with the Mersey Beats and the introduction of John and George. The memorabilia includes George’s first guitar and flyers from the village fete that was to be the first ‘gig’. From there, visitors can step into a replica of the Star Club in Hamburg, where the band honed their experience and early legend. The exhibit also includes a replica of the Liverpool record shop where the boys first purchased their instruments on monthly payments.
The Cavern Club and Beyond
One of the most iconic locations associated with the Beatles is the Cavern Club, where the band played many of their early shows. The museum features a full replica of the club, complete with the stage and seating. Visitors can also grab a cup of tea at the museum’s cafe and soak up the atmosphere of the club. Up close, you’ll realise just how small the stage really was!
Moving through the museum, visitors can see the Liverpool shop where the band purchased their instruments, as well as a replica of the Grapes pub in Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter. The exhibit takes visitors outside the CBS Television studio, which was a pivotal moment in the band’s history and catapulted them into the American consciousness. Their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show was seen by 73 million people! Think about that… seventy-three million people!
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
One of the most iconic albums in the history of popular music is Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the Beatles Story Museum does an excellent job of celebrating the album’s legacy. Visitors can see the exact replicas of the suits worn by the band on the album cover. These suits were commissioned by the Beatles Museum with the exact same material working to the original patterns. On display is the original album cover with a guide to the famous faces, as well as an alternate version that was not used.
This alternate version of the album cover for
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was given to
EMI record executives in 1987 to celebrate the
20th anniversary of the album’s release. This alternate
arrangement depicts Ringo Starr beside a Tuba and
Paul McCartney kneeling to the left of the bass drum.
More significant is the inclusion of characters who were
later obscured or removed from the final arrangement,
including Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi and
Bette Davis in costume as Queen Elizabeth.
The Yellow Submarine and Abbey Road
Another iconic album in the Beatles’ catalog is Yellow Submarine, which is celebrated in a replica of the inside of a yellow submarine. Visitors can also explore the Abbey Road exhibit, which includes memorabilia from the band’s classic studio album.
And in the end… the next chapter of the Beatles story
As you walk through the museum, you’ll likely experience some personal moments of reflection and connection with the band’s music and legacy. For me it was the very last exhibit.
After seeing the early solo work from Ringo, and George Harrison’s appearance on Rutland Weekend Television, plus Paul’s stellar solo career, we are taken into one final space. Just a simple white room with a white piano, guitar, and just one song playing on the speakers: “Imagine.” Hard times were over. Tears were shed.
Visiting the Beatles Story
The Beatles Story Museum is open daily from 9am to 4pm on most days (but do check!). Admission fees vary depending on the season and the age of the visitor, but start at around £19 for adults and £10.50 for children. You can spend a good few hours in here and the price is totally worth it.
The museum is easily accessible by public transport, with Liverpool Lime Street and James Street stations both within walking distance.