Attractions and venues across Liverpool are coming together this week to celebrate what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday.
Strawberry Field is set to unveil a very special new exhibit on Friday, the world-famous piano that John Lennon used to compose and record ‘Imagine’. The piano has been loaned to the venue from the estate of the late George Michael and is set to stay at the Liverpool venue for some time, giving future visitors to the city the chance to see the iconic symbol of peace. The piano was bought by George in 2000 and is now one of the most valuable instruments in rock ‘n’ roll history. At the time of purchase George revealed it was always his intention for the piano to be enjoyed by people in John’s home city and that goal will come true on what would have been John’s 80th birthday.
The Beatles Story is marking the occasion with ‘Sgt. Pepper Way’, a photography exhibition showcasing previously unseen photographs of John at the Beacon Theatre in New York, captured by photographer Bob Deutsch in October 1974. The photographs and negatives, which have remained hidden for almost 30 years, have never before been on public display and feature images of John sitting at an organ in the theatre, meeting the cast of the ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road’ musical and changing the name of West 74th Street on Broadway to SGT. PEPPER WAY. The exhibit will also feature alongside John’s favourite Last Piano from Record Plant Studios and a new immersive ‘White Room’. It will be on display for three years.
There will be a one-off Magical Mystery Tour, dedicated to John and his life in Liverpool. ‘In My Life- John Lennon 80 Sightseeing Tour’ will take visitors to some of the places most associated with John, telling the story of his childhood and teenage years in south Liverpool. The three-hour tour will feature various photo opportunities along the way and include a special stop at Strawberry Field, where visitors will get the chance to see the original gates.
They will also have the chance to visit Strawberry Field’s new Peace Garden. Here, visitors can write a message of hope, love or peace on the pebbles which will stay in the garden as a temporary installation. Continuing the theme of peace, Strawberry Field has launched the People of Peace awards. Marking John’s landmark birthday, the awards are an opportunity to nominate a Liverpool resident who helps to promote peace within the community, someone who they think is a Person of Peace. To submit your nomination head to http://strawberryfieldliverpool.com/peopleofpeaceawards-2020.
Strawberry Field will also be dedicating a stone on Strawberry Lane, the path that runs from the iconic red gates to the new visitor centre, to mark John’s 80th birthday. Visitors are invited to do the same and are able to purchase their own stone on the lane from the Strawberry Field website with all proceeds going towards the Steps to Work programme at Strawberry Field.
The world’s only Fab Four inspired hotel, Hard Days Night, is also set to mark the day for its guests with a special John Lennon 80 themed guest check-in and a Lennon-inspired afternoon tea. Set to run until the 30th November, this will feature John’s favourite cake, chocolate cake and a Brandy Alexander Cocktail. The hotel is also offering the ‘Imagine Package’, a special package which includes a stay in The Lennon Suite, full English breakfast and the new JL80 afternoon tea with rates starting at £187.00 for two.
All of the events planned to mark the occasion will be following strict social distancing rules. Famous faces will be talking about what John Lennon means to them, so make sure you’re following the VisitLiverpool channels and #JohnLennon80 so you don’t miss it! The activity for the day has been coordinated by Marketing Liverpool alongside members of the Beatles Industry Group and marks the start of John’s 80th year which is set to be a prominent year for the city as it starts to recover from the implications of the pandemic.