Guests viewing several articles of clothing, instruments and instruments used by the Beatles in the Rock Hall Beatles exhibit

British Invasion

Besides boasting a massive collection of Beatles memorabilia, the British Invasion exhibit spotlights other acts of the swinging '60s.

The exhibit includes nearly 70 artifacts, including a few that have not been exhibited before:

  • George Harrison’s striped suit from the 1966 US tour
  • Ringo Starr’s 1969 birthday card to John Lennon
  • John Lennon’s black wool coat worn in Help!
  • Paul McCartney’s handwritten arrangement for “Birthday”

Additional highlights include:

  • John Lennon’s Gibson J-160E acoustic guitar. Lennon used this guitar to record “Norwegian Wood” and “Give Peace a Chance” and numerous other classics.
  • A page from Stuart Sutcliffe’s sketch pad that shows his self-portraits, his illustration of John Lennon and Lennon’s illustration of Sutcliffe.

The impact of the Beatles has often been noted but cannot be overstated. The “Fab Four” from Liverpool, England, startled the ears and energized the lives of virtually all who heard them.

Their arrival triggered the musical revolution of the Sixties, introducing a modern sound and viewpoint that parted ways with the world of the previous decade.

In a career that lasted less than a decade, the Beatles changed the course of rock and roll and popular music.

After launching the British Invasion of the United Stated and scoring 20 Number One hits, the Beatles went on to indulge their creative energies in the studio, layering sounds and crafting songs in a way that was experimental yet still accessible. This retreat from the ceaseless mayhem of pop celebrity yielded such musically expansive and lyrically sophisticated albums as Rubber Soul (1965) and Revolver (1966).

The group retired from touring in August 1966, and 10 months later, they released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, an album that has almost universally been cited as the creative apotheosis of rock and roll, a watershed event in which rock became “serious art” without losing its sense of humor. The group continued to break new ground with the White Album and Abbey Road before calling it quits in 1970.

All of the band members went on to successful solo careers. The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.