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By Kevin M. Wilson

[email protected] 

 

In an interview conducted at the peak of his own fame, Sting famously remarked that music was in fact his religion and that encountering the Beatles had been like a sacrament of initiation. John Lennon himself accurately noted in 1966 that his band was more popular than Jesus, at least with the British youth. Though ranking the Fab Four as true spiritual avatars is problematic, there is little doubt among scholars or fans that the Beatles were the most important act in all of rock ‘n’ roll’s history.

 

Amazingly, the hit singles, classic albums, feature-length films, iconic television appearances, record-setting tours, the cartoon series, Brian Epstein’s merchandising revolution, the controversial pilgrimage to India, and the formation of an independent media group (Apple) were all crammed into eight intense years.

 

Now, almost 40 years after they originally disbanded, their legacy still looms large in popular culture. Somewhat surprisingly, the Beatles back catalogue consistently outsells many current artists. Beatles Greatest Hits packages and posthumous releases of previously unheard material from John Lennon and George Harrison always generate an enormous buzz in the music press. Each passing generation also boasts its share of cover versions of the Lennon/McCartney songbook. Even Ringo’s albums and “All-Starr” tours enjoy a fair amount of notoriety. And Sir Paul McCartney remains a top grosser when he elects to hit the road with his superb new backing band.

 

To celebrate the ongoing phenomenon of the Beatles, the Abbey Road On The River Festival invades Louisville for most of Memorial Day weekend, May 22-26.

 

Festivities will include numerous tribute bands, such as Cincinnati’s popular 8 Days A Week, appearing on six stages throughout Belvedere Park and the Kentucky Center. Additionally, there will be plenty of collectible merchandise for sale, talks by many noteworthy speakers related to the Beatles, and the Fabs’ original drummer, Pete Best, will also be performing. So it seems, a splendid time is guaranteed for all!

 

 

For a complete schedule and general information visit www.abbeyroadontheriver.com.

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