The British Consulate General New York participated in a week-long celebration of the Fab Four in the Big Apple.
In a series of events beginning on Thursday 6 February and running for a week, Beatlemania hit New York all over again. The occasion was the celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ arrival in New York in February 1964 and their first appearance on TV’s The Ed Sullivan Show. The British Consulate General New York marked the occasion with a reception celebrating this cultural milestone and its effect on the UK-US relationship.
The “Music is GREAT Britain” reception was hosted by Consul General Danny Lopez with Peter Brown, who was part of the band’s management team in the 1960s. More than a hundred people from the business and media community attended the reception at the British residence on Wednesday 12 February. Special guests included Pattie Boyd, who was George Harrison’s first wife, and Peter Asher, who was one half of the recording duo Peter and Gordon in the 1960s and has since had a long and successful producing career with acts including James Taylor, Neil Diamond and Cher.
“The Beatles drew a record 73 million viewers on that first night on Ed Sullivan,” said Consul General Lopez. “And just two months later they became the first and only band to hold simultaneously the top five spots in the Billboard Hot 100.”
Peter Brown, who now runs PR firm BLJ Worldwide, went on to pay tribute to their enduring legacy, saying that it was a testament to the extraordinary creativity of The Beatles that we should be celebrating their US debut 50 years later.
The Residence had been decorated for the night with soft furnishings depicting the band in their Sgt. Pepper phase, kindly loaned by UK-based design firm Andrew Martin International, demonstrating the far-reaching influence of their music in all elements of culture both in the UK and abroad.
Earlier in the week, the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Gary Millar, and Assistant Mayor Wendy Simon, who is also Cabinet Member for Culture & Tourism, visited New York to participate in the celebrations and promote Liverpool as a tourist destination and a great place to do business. On Friday they were joined by Deputy Consul General Nick Astbury at John F. Kennedy International Airport for a recreation of The Beatles’ arrival in New York 50 years earlier, organised by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Guests included former staff of the Pan Am aircraft the band flew in on, and over a hundred members of a New York-based Beatles fan club.
On Saturday, the Lord Mayor and Deputy Consul General joined Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention Richard Tobin from the Fire Department of New York at Strawberry Fields in Central Park, a short walk from the Dakota Building, John Lennon’s home when he was assassinated in 1980. The delegation laid flowers at the park bench the City of Liverpool had dedicated to the victims of 9/11 back in 2003. The weekend was rounded off with a tribute concert by the Cavern Beatles at the Hard Rock Cafe.