The Beatles Arrive at Wellington Airport in 1964. Photo / Alexander Turnbull Library
No corner of the world was untouched by Beatlemania. The band and their iconic mops swept through New Zealand in 1964. Lennon left minus a clump of hair after being mobbed by women at the Auckland Town Hall.
There are places they’ll remember.
The music of the Fab Four reverberates across the universe. Even in the places they were banned from visiting. From Cuba to Mongolia you’ll find public statues of John, Paul, George and Ringo rocking out.
We’ve strung together a magical mystery tour of Beatle sites for an international pilgrimage.
Back in the USSR
Despite rumours sparked by their song USSR, it was not until the fall of the Berlin Wall and the break-up of the band that Ringo Starr became the first Beatle to play Russia in 1998. Their music was banned behind the Iron Curtain but this didn’t stop them from becoming superstars. Bootlegged records helped their music spread where the band could not go.
After his death in 1980, the John Lennon Wall “Lennonova zed” in Prague was painted in his memory. You’ll also find statues – of varying quality – across the former communist bloc, including in Almaty in Kazakhstan. There are also statues in Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, and a statue of Lennon complete with wire-rimmed glasses in Havana, Cuba.
In 1968 the Beatles went on a spiritual tour of Uttarakhand in northern India, following the death of manager Brian Epstein.
The ashram they visited, Chaurasi Kutia, fell into disrepair in the early 2000s but has since been restored as a gallery referred to as the “Beatles Ashram”. Visitors can pay $13 for a visit which includes yoga, meditation and contemplation of odder inclusions in the Beatles’ discography.
After Liverpool, London was a second home to the Beatles. Your first stop – as per the highway code – should be at the Abbey Road Studios. Or, as locals call it, “That bloody Beatles crossing.”
The zebra crossing to the recording studios that appeared on the Abbey Road album cover is now chocka from dawn to dusk with tourists recreating the picture. Other stops not to be missed include 3 Savile Row, the site of the band’s last ever live concert – on the rooftop of Apple Studios in 1969 – and Marylebone Station, the black and white station through which the band escaped hordes of screaming girls in A Hard Day’s Night.
Hamburger Hafen was the “city that built the Beatles”. Working in post-war Germany, they booked their first gigs in the Kaiserkeller and Star-Club. Playing as a cover band, the Beatles were booked to play American hits, dressed as rockabillies in leather and slicked-back hair.
Lennon once said the Beatles were “born in Liverpool, but grew up in Hamburg”.
Pauli, the district where the band was based, is now home to a Beatles-Platz square and several Beatles-themed musical bar crawls.