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The Beatles: An Evening with the Fab Four

Evening Program

Thursday, May 9, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1M2020
The Beatles during the filming of Magical Mystery Tour, 1967

As Pan Am Flight 101 from London descended on the newly named John F. Kennedy International Airport on February 7, 1964, four young men from Liverpool were eager to greet the crowd of frenzied fans that awaited them. Their latest record, “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” had soared to number one on the charts, and Ed Sullivan had invited them to perform on his variety show for three consecutive Sundays. With their shaggy hair, slick suits, and thin ties, America had never before seen anything quite like John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

During their years together, the Beatles recorded and released 214 different songs and became the most significant band in history. Their musical style, a combination of pop ballads and traditional 1950s rock and roll, was eventually spiced with classical elements, Indian ragas,­­ and psychedelic hard rock. Their genesis contributed to the evolution of pop music into an art form, while their aura generously sweetened the counterculture of the 1960s. Let It Be, their twelfth and final album, was released just a month after the group's break-up in 1970. Although their musical life existed for just a decade, the Beatles’ contribution to world music is inestimable.

Musical raconteur Robert Wyatt guides a “magical mystery tour” of the life and works of the Beatles spotlighting recording of timeless songs like “Hey Jude,” “Something,” “Yesterday,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Help!,” “The Long and Winding Road,” and “A Day in the Life.” The evening abounds with clips from their five films, recording sessions, and interviews that showcase the individual personalities that collectively became known as the Fab Four.

Smithsonian Year of Music

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)