Fifty years after The Beatles last show in Merseyside at the Empire Theatre on 5 December 1965, a new statue of The Beatles was unveiled in Liverpool this week. It is sculptured by Andy Edwards and was given to the city by the Cavern Club – where The Beatles played over 200 times in the early 1960s. The statue, which weighs 1.2 tonnes, is located at the city’s Pier Head.
The pose of The Beatles is based on a real photo of the Fab Four from 1963 walking along the Mersey waterfront. The sculptor said that he hoped the statue would become a focal point, “a place of ritual,” for people coming together to mark events and anniversaries related to The Beatles. He continued: “I can remember walking around the waterfront with the original sketch models and everybody wanted to talk to us … Everybody has a Beatles story. Our image of them seems to bring past, present and future together, like a time machine.”
The statue was the idea of Chris Butler of Castle Fine Art Foundry Ltd. He said: “This is a statue that needs no title, no explanation, no instruments, no gimmicks … It’s a monument to a moment and the moment started in Liverpool.”
Julia Baird, John Lennon’s sister, said: “The statue stands in loving memory of the best band in the world – the band that leapt from The Cavern stage to worldwide recognition.” Meanwhile, the city’s Deputy Mayor said: “Talk to anyone in or outside the city about our history and you can guarantee The Beatles will get a mention, so it feels right that this sculpture of these iconic men stands proudly on our iconic waterfront.”
The statue is secured to the pavement via the feet of the figures, but is done so effectively that you have the illusion that they are just walking along. There is no plinth or visible support that would spoil the illusion. The statue was proving popular with tourists today when I went to photograph it – all the photos in this blog entry are some of the ones I took today (except the 196 photo at the end of the blog entry). They were queuing up to have their photos taken with The Beatles. Some were holding John Lennon’s hand, which is perfectly placed for the purpose. The statue has The Beatles walking towards the River Mersey with the Three Graces in the background.
Julia Baird, who unveiled the statue spoke more about the statue: “We’ve got statues and bronzes of people all along this waterfront who have brought their skills, their labour and their love to Liverpool and helped it grow. It’s very apt that The Beatles are here. What have they done for Liverpool? What haven’t they done for Liverpool? … I know John would have loved it. And I bet Paul comes to see it soon as he comes back here.”
There are a couple of small details added to the statues to look out for. On the base of Ringo’s shoe is “L8”, standing for Liverpool 8 – the district of Liverpool that includes Toxteth and Dingle – were Ringo spent his childhood. The acorns in John’s hand were cast from ones picked up outside the Dakota Building in New York, were John Lennon lived with Yoko Ono and outside which he was shot dead in December 1980.
After a search on Google I found the photo below which seems to be the inspiration for the statue, although The Beatles are not in the same positions. A huge blown-up copy of this photo is in the windows of HMV in Liverpool’s retail district, Liverpool One.