A Beatles journey
With this video I wanted to create a work of art, combining my photography with a wonderful contemporary-oriental musical backdrop and subtitles in English and Japanese, paying tribute to the band whose music dominated my early childhood. I wanted to portray a side of Liverpool that’s different to the clichés, a magical side, a place of hidden corners, nostalgic views and special places, each one with connections to the Beatles. I wanted to reach out to another culture, and overlay Liverpool with an Oriental quality.
Written and produced by Aidan O’Rourke | Tuesday the 14th of July 2020
So what’s the connection between Liverpool and Japan? It’s because John Lennon married Yoko Ono of course. There are many Beatles fans in Japan who visit Liverpool to find out more about their heroes, where they grew up and the story of how they became famous. Even before the Beatles arrived, Liverpool had a connection with the Orient: It is home to the oldest Chinese community in the UK.
I’ve chosen music that mixes genres – an Oriental sound blended with Classical-style violins, set above contemporary synthesisers with a strong beat. The strings at the start of the track named ‘Shibuya’ have overtones of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and towards the conclusion of our journey, the piano has a quality of ‘Hey Jude’.
The young artist who created this music is called Bad Snacks and is she is based in Los Angeles though I understand she’s originally from Boston. Her YouTube channel is called Bad Snacks and she contributes to the YouTube Audio Library. That’s where I found the six wonderful tracks I used in this video.
All the photos are by me except two: The photo of the New Brighton Tower taken possibly around 1910 and the one of Ringo Starr’s birth house, 9 Madryn Street, taken in 2020. I hope that this video will be appreciated by people from Japan and those who are learning Japanese.
I spent many hours placing the Japanese subtitles into the video. They were translated from English into Japanese by teacher and translator Maya Shimizu, who did a fantastic job.
So here is English text of the video. You can read it as an article and you can play the video. I would
Liverpool and Japan are linked through the marriage of John and Yoko. The Beatles are very popular in Japan and many Japanese fans come to Liverpool. For this reason I wanted to make use of Japanese language. I’ve chosen music with overtones of Japan and of the violins in ‘Eleanor Rigby’.
These city tour buses will take you to the main tourist attractions in Liverpool.
The Magical Mystery Tour will show you many of the most important Beatles locations. For a personalised Beatles tour you can take one of the Fab Four taxis. There’s a transcript of the commentary in eight languages including Japanese.
Location number one: In 2002 Liverpool Airport was named Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Inside the terminal is a statue of John Lennon by the artist Tom Murphy.
Number 2. This Yellow Submarine stands outside the terminal. The film ‘Yellow Submarine’ was released in 1968.
3. Third location: The old airport terminal is not far away. Here, in 1964, thousands of fans welcomed the Beatles home after their US tour. Today it’s the Crowne Plaza hotel.
4. The 86 bus runs between south Liverpool and Liverpool city centre. It’s not a tour bus but it travels through many of the places the Beatles knew in their childhood. This advert is for the 2018 Double Fantasy exhibition which was on at the Museum of Liverpool from May 2018 to April 2019
5. The Sgt Pepper Bistro stands on a traffic island at the top of Penny Lane. Unfortunately it has been closed for a few years.
6. Penny Lane is famous for the song released in 1967 about Paul’s childhood memories of this place. This sign was new in 2006. This is how it looked in 2018.The council painted this sign on the wall to prevent people from stealing it. In June 2018 Paul returned to Penny Lane with James Corden for the Late Late Show and wrote his autograph on the sign
7. The song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ is about John’s childhood memories of a children’s home called Strawberry Field. It’s not far from the house where he lived with his Aunt Mimi. Beatles fans from all over the world write messages on the gates.
8. Not many people know that there is a Japanese garden not far from the childhood homes of John and Paul. It’s in Calderstones Park. Calderstone Park has many associations with the Beatles in their early years.
9. In the churchyard of St Peters Church in Woolton you will find the gravestone inscribed with the name Eleanor Rigby. It is possible that this gravestone inspired the famous song.
10. John and Paul first met at St Peter’s Church in 1957. They played at a garden fete on a stage in the field behind the church.
Location number 11 is 10 Admiral Grove, the house where Ringo Starr lived until he became famous in 1963. Today it’s a private home.
12. In 1943 George Harrison was born at 12 Arnold Grove. He lived here until 1950.
13. In 1940 Ringo Starr was born in this house, 9 Madryn Street. The house has been saved from demolition.
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14. In 1964 at the height of Beatlemania, the Beatles stood on the balcony of Liverpool town hall in front of thousands of screaming fans. Twenty years later they were awarded the Freedom of the City . Their names are written on this plaque, which you can see in the foyer of the town hall.
15. The Liverpool Institute was a boys’ grammar school. Paul McCartney went to this school. Today it’s LIPA, co-founded by Paul McCartney and opened in 1996.
16. The Blue Angel Night Club a music venue. In the 1960s, the Beatles and other famous bands played here. It’s on Seel Street in Chinatown.
17. Falkner Street is a historic street with houses from the 18th century. John Lennon and his first wife Cynthia lived for a while at 36 Falkner Street.
18. The Philharmonic is the most magnificent pub in Liverpool. John Lennon liked to come here and in June 2018, Paul gave a surprise performance herefor the Late Late Show with James Corden.
19. The Beatles often went to Ye Cracke pub on Rice Street. Inside the pub there are photos and memorabilia.
20. The John Lennon Peace Monument was unveiled in 2010. It was designed by the American artist Lauren Voiers when she was only 19 years old. It stands next to the Echo Arena.
21. The Museum of Liverpool is about the history of Liverpool and there are some exhibits about the Beatles. It’s situated on the Pier Head.
22. You can learn about British pop music including the Beatles at the British Music Experience. Here on the Pier Head you will also find the most popular photo opportunity in Liverpool…
And now we take the train under the River Mersey to the seaside town of New Brighton.
24. This is where the Tower Ballroom used to be. It once had the tallest tower in Britain. The tower was taken down over 100 years ago. The Beatles played here from 1961 to 1963. The Tower Ballroom was destroyed by fire in 1969.
25. This is the Grosvenor Ballroom in Liscard, not far from New Brighton. The hall looks almost the same as it did when the Beatles played here.
Many tourists come to Port Sunlight to visit Lady Lever Art Gallery and to see the beautiful English traditional-style houses
26. At Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight on 18 August 1962, the Beatles played their first concert with Ringo Starr as drummer.
Now we return to Liverpool.
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27. The Eleanor Rigby statue near Mathew St was inspired by the song Eleanor Rigby and was created by the singer and artist Tommy Steele.
28. The Hard Day’s Night Hotel on North John Street is a Beatles-themed hotel. On the exterior there are statues of
of the four Beatles.
29. Mathew Street is dedicated to the Beatles and to other famous Liverpool stars.
30. The John Lennon statue depicts John as a young man before the Beatles were famous. Lots of people have their picture taken next to him.
31. The Cavern Club is the most famous club in Liverpool. The Beatles played here 292 times between 1961 and 1963. This is not the original Cavern Club but a reconstruction that is very similar to the original.
32. The Beatles often went to the Grapes Pub before playing at the Cavern.
33.Four Lads Who Shook The Worldis an artwork on Mathew Street. John Lennon was added as a baby after his death in 1980.
34. The Magical History Museum opened in 2018 and presents a huge collection of Beatles memorabilia on three floors.
36. The Beatles Story is about the amazing career of the Fab Four from childhood to worldwide fame.
Our 37th location is number 20 Forthlin Road, where Paul McCartney lived with his family from 1955 to 1963. Inside, the house looks the same as it did in the early 1960s. You can visit the house by booking on the National Trust tour.
38. Not far away is 251 Menlove Avenue, where John Lennon lived with his Aunt Mimi. You can visit the house on the National Trust tour. The house is a time capsule of the early 1960s, but I can’t show you what the interior looks like as photography is not allowed. You’ll just have to come and see it with your own eyes!
My name’s Aidan O’Rourke. Thank you very much for watching and I’ll see you again soon in Liverpool.