"Anyone here like Shakespeare?"
So began MMT 2005, as we sat on the luxury coach eagerly awaiting the words of Beatle wisdom we knew
Richard Porter, famed London Beatles tour guide, would dispel. It was our first formal guided tour of the MMT, and the itinerary
promised us views of "every locale we'd ever heard about in books, seen on postcards, or dreamed about visiting someday."
Anyone here like Shakespeare?" This question, of course, was met with silence and clear concern.
Did we get on the wrong coach? Was HE on the wrong coach?
Shakespeare aside, Richard Porter delivered the promised all-day Beatles tour. We saw sites we all had long
waited for Paul's London home, Cavendish (was that Nancy climbing in the bathroom window?), Ringo's apartment (34 Montagu Square), the
registry where Paul and Linda were married, sites made famous in A Hard Days Night, and, of course, the central location of the day's
sites - Abbey Road Studios and the Abbey Road Crossing, where tour leader Charles Rosenay!!! obliged us all by stopping traffic and
taking individual photos of us walking the crosswalk. The list of stops seemed endless, and we learned things we couldn't have
imagined knowing (for example: does anyone know WHY there are no trashcans in Marylebone Train Station?).
Thankfully, we never had to answer the Shakespeare question.
Technically, this was day 3 of our tour. By this point, we had already begun the transformation into
a group. Every group that forms for a purpose wants to believe they are unique, even after subgroups have been formed – and
ours was no exception. John Lennon is often noted as having an affinity for words that share more than one meaning. Such is true of
the "Magic" in Magical Mystery Tour, or,
in this case, the Magical History Tour. Clearly, the events of the tour and sites visited and experienced are magical for any Beatles
fan. But the "Magic" extends to the bond that quickly develops among the individual members united to create the group. There
is Magic in the whole that exists, even before it is clearly evident. You begin to recognize it the first time you enter a large
assembly (like at the Cavern Club) and feel the joy and relief of seeing someone from "your" group. Many might ponder
the benefit of making such a personal journey with a tour group – and this is the benefit. There is Magic in the whole. (It's
pretty cool having someone take care of checking you into the hotel, as well!)
Actually, events had already begun to shape our tour experience in the months before our departure date
airline strikes, subway bombings and, Macca touring among these. Our transformation into a group had already begun by the time we were pondering the relevance of Shakespeare to our trip. The MMTour officially began on Saturday afternoon, August 20th, 2005 in airports separated by hundreds of miles. We arrived in New York and Chicago, most of us strangers, greeted in Chicago by Dan Levine and in New York by (our eventual tour MVP) Dave, "60's" Jim, and, of course, our tour leader, Charles Rosenay!!!. We arrived from places all over the US: San Francisco, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, New Orleans, Boston, and Minnesota among these. Dave, a tour veteran who turned out to be this year's tour MVP, presented us with gifts and souvenirs, while Charles gave us our plane tickets plus "goodie bags." Actually, Charles spent his first hour in the airport negotiating for free food vouchers for our group. It seems a tour guide's work never ceases.
Rumor also has it that in the history of Magical History Tours, only 1 person has ever missed their flight. Make that 2. Boarding time arrived, and no Becky from Virginia. The first sign of our formation into a group was immediately evident, as everyone seemed a bit torn about leaving without Becky, whom we'd never even met. As a sign of good things to come, Becky successfully navigated separate passage to London and arrived at the Thistle Hotel Kensington mere hours after us. Ours was the MMT that, against all odds, somehow made everything work.
For our first night in London, we dined together at the famed Sticky Fingers, the Rolling-Stones themed restaurant owned by Bill Wyman. Many of us spent more time wandering the room examining the memorabilia then we did eating. We'd already settled into our rooms, had been inundated with more welcome gifts from Dave, and now were ready to experience London. As fate would have it, this was the only night almost everyone in the group retired before sunrise (there was a small fraction that slipped away to Durgin Castle in Camden City to catch a Ramones tribute show). A tip for future travelers: if you decide to break away from the group and wander to parts unknown, try to remember the address of your hotel for the cab ride home!
Morning brought us to the coach, and the aforementioned Shakespeare quiz. The all-day Beatles tour touched upon earlier also took us through Notting Hill (made more famous by the Julia Roberts film), Kensington Gardens (with a tribute to Princess Di, who met Paul at his Oratorio concert) and we followed in the footsteps of Ringo from his "A Hard Day's Night" walkabout. We saw Sonwest Studios where Paul recorded), BBC Studios but spent the most time at Cavendish and Abbey Road.
Ed from California pulled out his ukulele and serenading us at the Abbey Road wall. We begrudgingly left there after over an hour (and tons of photos), only to viewrare videos of The Beatles at Abbey Road (including soundboard footage of George Martin) on the coach. We enjoyed the restored video of "Hey Bulldog" which was recorded in Abbey Road Studio 3. We continued on to the Palladium, Baker Street (Apple Boutique & Madame Tussauds), and Wimpole Street, home of the Asher family where Paul wrote "Scrambled Eggs" (Yesterday). We ventured to the area of Twickenham Studios where the Fabs recorded, and a few blocks away was the Turk Head's Pub where Ringo played darts in AHDN. We saw more sites (too many to mention) and wound up at the Carling Apollo (formerly the Hammersmith Odeon). We expected to go around the back, but there were security guards everywhere! The rock band Weezer was playing a concert there later that evening! We explained that we were there for another reason, and the crew escorted us around back to marvel at the back steps, which served as the fire escape for The Beatles in AHDN. The Weezer fans camped out in line couldn't figure out why our group went around the back only to leave a few minutes later. We concluded our day trip at Royal Albert Hall, while on board we watched live footage of George's concert there. We still don't know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall. It was brought to our attention that this date -- August 22 -- was the anniversary of The Beatles' very last photo session together.
We ate, freshened up, and headed out to experience the "Chelsea Walking Tour," a first for any MMT group. This was Beatles plus! We saw the homes and recording studios of famous musicians including Clapton, Hendrix, the Stones, the Who, Queen, Bowie and others. This fun tour was embellished by pub stops along the way.
Monday night brought the first of our sing-alongs. We were blessed with three guitars + 1 ukulele, and the musical talents of Ed, Jere, Frank, Shannon and Ted. It was the sing-along that completed our transformation from a group of many individuals into a single group. Even we knew we were onto something special when, as we were packing up, the bartenders (self-proclaimed non-Beatle fans) yelled, "Please, please, American Friends! Please do "While my Guitar Gently Weeps." What could we do but oblige?
Tuesday brought tired or jealous faces
(tired as the encore ended after 3 am; jealous if by fate they missed the sing-along). But we were up early for breakfastand onto the coach. Irina Porter guided us around London for a proper historic sightseeing tour, and we experienced the famed changing of the guard (from a location known only by Irina where you really CAN get see the guards up close), views of the beautiful Thames, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, and Little/Big Ben. We witnessed Scottish marchers celebrating the commemoration of William Wallace (identified as such within minutes by Irina, whose knowledge of history apparently knows no boundaries).
We spent a
delightful sunny afternoon in Chiswick House (Park), where The Beatles filmed the promo videos for "Rain" & "Paperback Writer." We watched the videos on the coach and went inside where we traced the steps of the videos. The green house was open for the first time in years. We posed by the statues, snapped photos and soaked in the gorgeous scenery. We had some spare time so we went for a drink at the City Barge, where Ringo encountered the Bengal man-eater in "Help!" (we tried but couldn't fall into any trap doors). We whistled Beethoven's 9th.
At night, we descended upon the culture
of Covent Gardens for the annual Twist & Shout party. Here we discovered the "Magic" of Charles and his endless London connections. We partied and danced the night away to continuous Beatles favorites with Ella front and center. Ella, all of 8 years old(!), was voted best dancer of the party. Was that Norris we saw doing the Limbo??? Thanks to Dave for providing the inflatable guitars.
Wednesday was our fifth fab day, and Richard Porter headed our final walking tour of London. We began at SoHo Square and Paul's London (MPL) offices and discovered the location of the filming of "Yellow Submarine" (a first for any MMT group!). We visited the Apple Headquarters at Saville Row, and Richard shared memorable photos with us along the way as well – principally the autographed one of him and Paul, of which Paul is said to have commented "Didn't we make a lovely couple!" when he signed it.
The afternoon saw the group split up in many directions. Some went shopping at Harrod's, some re-visited some Beatles sites, some spent quality time with their British friends. Most of us joined Irina for a trip to the British Library and the British Museum, with artifacts ranging from the Magna Carta to Beatles' lyrics.
We all went for an evening on London's West End (our first experience using the tube as a group – this is where your tour guide comes in handy!) to catch the brand-new sixties British musical "Dancin' in the Streets!" Did I mention that we had front row seats? Appropriately, the show began with the Miracles' song that The Beatles covered, "You Really Got a Hold on Me." Was that Jilly & Jodi M. being serenaded to by the show's lead singer from the stage? Even the realization that nearly all Motown songs are consumed with themes of lost love or broken hearts didn't stop "60's" Jim from dancin' in the aisles. The production was great, and we had a ball. We were "dancing in the streets" when we left the theater.
After the show, we returned to the hotel for sing-along #2. Our voices were already transforming into something far more than tolerable (or maybe it was the beer that made it seem so) when the Magic of Ted M. blew us away with a tribute song he wrote for John Lennon (Once Upon a Lifetime, by Ted Myslinski). Even Charles was briefly speechless (only briefly). "That was the best sing-along EVER!!!" he emphatically stated, and glancing toward the designated report writer (that's me!) he added "and you can put THAT in the report." So, here it is. Dave described the sing-along as "…a night filled with brotherhood and sisterhood."
Any sadness we felt at leaving London was quickly replaced by the excitement of our visit to George Harrison's estate in Henley-Upon-Thames, Friar Park. For Nancy, the pilgrimage to Friar Park exemplified the wonder of
the trip ("A great transition and journey!"). We stayed a while, and paid our respects. It was very emotional for many of us. Our bus-ride to Liverpool passed quickly with Eddie from NY reciting Shakespeare (oh no, Shakespeare again), rare DVDs, and the famous (or infamous) penny auction, led by Charles. We bid on Beatles books, CD's videos, lunchboxes, items from Liverpool, and (best-of-all) the coveted Paul McCartney jersey, voted by our group as the best Beatles shirt of the tour. At that moment, the first (and perhaps only) sign of group tension appeared as Susan (that's me) and Kevin battled it out for shirt ownership. Guess who won?
How does one describe the arrival into Liverpool? There is magic everywhere in the Adelphi (and apparently some ghosts as well). You feel it immediately upon entering. It is instantaneously possible to imagine the Beatles there, and concurrently magical to see hundreds of Beatles fans reuniting in the lobby. No time for rest – we immediately hustled down the Cavern for Neil (Rutles) Innes' one-man show on the larger stage in the back of the club. In the front of the Cavern, Chicago's Instant Karma performed. For most of us, this was our first visit
to the Cavern, a site we had memorized from photos. Alicia remembered her first steps in the Cavern as among the most magical of her visit to Liverpool (of course, this was prior to her being kidnapped by the BEATLEMANIACS). "When we walked in the Cavern," Alicia noted, "I could hear ‘From Me to You' playing and it was like they were there!" The Cavern offered a non-stop programme of live music from noon to 2:00 am each day of our stay in Liverpool! What it didn't offer was air conditioning or ice at the bar. It's quickly forgotten as the music transforms you into another place emotionally – Frank referred to this experience as "heat bumping and banging our way around." By the end of the tour, people learned to arrive at the Cavern dressed lightly, with any top layers quickly removed upon arrival.
the Adelphi, fantastic musicians helped us pass our first night and greet the next morning. This is when we lost Alicia to the magic & lure of Liverpool. We put out a mock missing person's report first thing in the morning, and several people reported "Alicia sightings" throughout the week, apparently with a chap who looked amazingly like George. Did Alicia ever make it home? Perhaps we'll see her there, in Liverpool, on future tours.
It was Friday's Magic that convinced us that no other tour, in any other year, would have sufficed. After breakfast, the Magical Mystery tour bus left the Adelphi at 9:00 am sharp with Julia Baird, John's sister leading her first MMT. We were honored and blessed with hearing her memories of growing up in Liverpool with
John. As Ted noted, "…her first-hand recollections were insightful and added many facts about John and the Beatles that I did not know." We were moved beyond words at the location of John and Paul's first meeting – we even got a spontaneous tour in the church meeting house by one of the church caretakers, who had been present at St. Peter's Church on Saturday, 6th July, 1957 – the day John and Paul were introduced. We were given copies of the original program of the Garden Fete. Later, we visited John's house (Mendips), schools the boys attended, the site of the hospital where John was born, and many other intimate Beatles sites, made so much more meaningful with Julia's memories shared. The tour was co-hosted by Jena Catherall of Liverpool's BeatlesScene. We ended this historic tour at 38 Kensington Street (Percy Phillips Studios), where media and celebrities converged for a plaque unveiling and dedication to the Quarrymen. We were the only fans officially invited to attend, and we were given souvenir t-shirts and mugs – more magical surprises!
Original members of the Quarrymen and Julia spoke of the significance of the location, where John Lennon and the other members of the Quarrymen recorded "That'll Be The Day" and "In Spite of All The Danger." They played a recording of the original band. We celebrated our good fortune after the dedication at the Pilgim Pub with a complimentary buffet and wine reception. Our tour leader, Charles, was presented a replica of the plaque by the Kensington Region Committee for his contributions to tourism. He, in turn, dedicated the plaque to our group and all the tourists he's brought to Liverpool (and Kensington) for all these years. Rumor has it that one lagging group member experienced the only Cynthia Lennon citing of the week! The group itself had returned to the Adelphi, but a band played on, and the lone group member remaining at the Pilgrim swaying to "Hey Jude," right along with Cynthia. The Magic continued.
That afternoon was highlighted by a musical tribute to McCartney with acts such
as "Banned on The Run," "Wingspan" and "Laurence Macca Gilmour." The night featured the Rutles' farewell concert (opening act was the Australian Beatels).
Our 3rd day in Liverpool began with breakfast and the annual Beatles auction at the LIPA, Paul's "FAME" school. Members of our group bought small purchase such as a Beatles Scrapbook (combining Jodi's passion for scrapbooking with Ted's passion for the Beatles – who says it's not a romantic tour?) and large purchases (too many to list - apparently Eddie had to have most of his winnings shipped home to the states). Ted and Jody were excited to have purchased Shannon's original painting of John, which she painted in Strawberry Field (a last opportunity for that, as the school is closing its doors this year). Ted and Jodi's painting will be completed in Howell, NJ, and they will be visiting Shannon there to pick it up and watch the beginnings of the murals Shannon is creating for the Hard Days Night Hotel. It seems that Eddie from New York purchased all the rarest of the items at the auction. Rumor has it he has several apartments in Manhattan that he keeps just for his memorabilia.
The Strawberry Field Garden Party that afternoon was a highlight for many group members. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and this summer fair was staged at the Strawberry Field Children's' Home, which John made so famous. Earlier this year, the Salvation Army announced that Strawberry Field was closing its doors as a childrens' home, and this may have been the last event of its kind to be held there. Live music was provided by Instant Karma USA! and Brazil's Clube Big Beatles. More than a few eyes were misty at Jay's (lead singer of Instant Karma) rendition of Imagine that afternoon (including his). The fair featured games, snacks, and a single toilet for hundreds of visitors. Ted tells us of his experiences at the Fair here: "While walking at Strawberry Field, I felt a small bump under my foot. When I investigated, I dug up an old golf ball. When Julia Baird gave her tour, she spoke of when John and she used to go to the golf course and pinch balls to sell later. Could this have been one of the golf balls John pinched at the course?" The magic of our tour was that anything seemed to be possible.
When we thought the day couldn't provide any more excitement (or that we couldn't possibly have any more energy), we were led to Carling Academy for the music of the Fab Faux. The Fab Faux performed the music of all four solo
Beatles, and when their opening number played "Wah Wah," Charles proclaimed "Wow! Wow!" Jason described the Fab Faux as "magnificent musicians with an eye for detail." The Carling Academy is a splendid location for such a concert…hundreds of Beatles fans, side-by-side, each trying to get a little closer to the front row. Did anyone else notice that Charles always inched his way to the front for this band?
By Sunday, most of the group had slept little, eaten even less (except for Frank, who discovered the joy of Maple Brazil Nut ice-cream at Thornton's and pastry at Oggy Oggy's), and we could now understand a bit more of what the native Liverpudlians were saying. We knew, for example, what a wanker was, and that when someone said "I'm godsmacked!" it didn't mean they were doomed for all eternity. We knew that being "starved" did not mean being hungry, but rather cold, and that someone who is "pissed" is not mad, and someone who is "mad" is not angry. We could now find our way to all of the Beatles locales in Liverpool center, including the famed Beatles stores (where we spent all our pounds) and the Beatles Story exhibit at Albert Dock – a self-guided audio tour of the life of the Fab Four. Charles gave our group entry passes to experience the Beatles Story, and
many of us commented on the power of the tribute to John Lennon, among other moments shared in this tour, narrated on audiotape by John's sister Julia. Several group members also took private tours of the Casbah Club, led by Rory Best ("The Real Deal!" reports Jill, "The real birthplace of the Beatles. Amazing how they went from a basement bar to playing in Shea Stadium!"). Some group members participated in a service at the Liverpool Cathedral. Many visited the remains of the church bombed during WWII, located near the Adelphi, which now has no roof, and has been dedicated as a place of tranquility and peaceful reflection (Frank even taped his friend Pete singing a song there). Others joined the National Trust tours to visit inside John and Paul's homes. Kevin voted this experience as the ultimate part of his trip to Liverpool: "For me…the best part of the trip was finding myself in John's bedroom with tears in my eyes, thinking of him and all the beautiful music that came from him sitting in that room thinking about his life and all the other people that touched it."
Sunday (day 9) was officially Beatles Convention Day, with over 50 bands playing, a huge flea market, video shows, guests and exhibitions. This is said to be the largest Beatles Convention in the world, with a marketplace in the Adelphi that rivaled any other Beatles treasure chest. Some of the best Beatles buys in our
group were Beatles framed photos, great "live" CDs, posters, DVDs and many other coveted purchases (one of us went home with a "Butcher" cover). Guests included Allan Williams, Sam Leach, Mark Lewisohn, Tony Barrow, Tony Bramwell, Keith Badman, Shannon and Sid Bernstein. Exhibitors included Richard Porter, Rene of BeatlesUnlimited and many of Europe's top memorabilia merchants. It was non-stop.
On Monday, the festival continued with over 200 bands entertaining thousands of people throughout the City Centre. The Mathew Street Festival was unable and unwilling to contain itself to Mathew Street, with outdoor stages also set up at the Dockyards and Derby Square. The Castle Street stage was replaced by theme park sized carnival rides, and it really missed such acts as 1964, the Fab Four, Lenny Pane, Tim Piper and some of the other regular bands. The crowds were
stunning. 400,000 people were reported to be in Liverpool Center that day. There were also stands selling roasted nuts, children's rides and games offering stuffed animal prizes, a haunted house and blankets spread all over the lawn for people to experience the crowd and music simultaneously. The festival ended back at the Carling Academy for another evening of the Fab Faux. This is a band all Beatles fans must experience!
Tuesday (day 10) was our final day in Liverpool, and most of us expected a calm, peaceful ending (or perhaps we felt we needed one). We were simply too exhausted, excited, and amazed to believe we could be amazed any more, and more than a little pleased that we had the cushiony coach for the day. Yet Tuesday bought us Hilary Oxlade, the classiest and most experienced tour guide in the industry, who greeted us with a cheery "crack on!" and assured us that we would spend a good deal of the day "leggin' it." We departed the Adelphi at 9:30 and spent the day covering not only Liverpool but also the outskirts of Liverpool, driving the "back jiggers" (those are back roads in scouse talk) experiencing many more off-the-beaten path Beatles sites. We were joined by Rene of Beatles Unlimited, who endeared himself to us by giving us all Ringo "Choose Love" promo postcards, and also by video documentarian Ross Cohen. We saw homes, schools, and birthplaces; we heard stories we'll never forget. Again, there were too many to mention, but we'll mention a few: Stu's apartment before Gambier terrace, Lennon's grandparents home, Toxteth where the Quarrymen played their first gig (street fete), Sefton Park where Freddie Lennon met Julia, Quarrymen's homes, Brian Epstein's home and synagogue, Cilla Black's home, the job center
where Pete Best worked, and Town Hall – the 2nd oldest building in Liverpool and the place where The Beatles waved from the balcony to the thousands who greeted them when they returned to the city in July of 1964 for the premiere of "A Hard Day's Night." One of the more memorable moments of the tour occurred at Admiral Grove, where we were welcomed inside Ringo's childhood home for a personal tour by its current owner, Margaret. Even our bus driver got off to go inside. We drove through the tunnel into Wirral, one of the five districts of Liverpool. We visited the Barnston's Women's Institute, a former Beatles stomping ground, and were greeted by the kind, gracious members of the institute, who served us tea and crumpets (which was just in the nick of time for lunch!). It was there that The Beatles first wore their tailored matching suits. We visited the inside of Hulme Hall in Point Sunlight (again, a first for any MMT!!); this was the venue where Ringo first played with the Beatles on August 18, 1962 (they played there without Ringo on July 8, 1962). We saw Victoria Hall in Bebington, Paul's Rembrandt home on Baskervyle Road, and 18 Trinity Road – Cynthia (Lennon) Powell's family home. We saw Heathcotes (one of Paul's favorite restaurants) and Birkenhead Park (the basis for the design of NY's Central Park).
We toured Penny Lane (and treated ourselves to Liverpudlian lottery tickets, where the luckiest tour members (Audrey and Pete) won yet another prize (20 pounds), and the Liverpool John Lennon Airport, where we posed for group photos with John's statue. We finally ended the perfect tour with a magical ferry ride across the Mersey.
This was a day in life of the MMT, 2005, and the beginning of the end of our magical time together. We felt the end of the tour upon us, and many of us found comfort that evening in the Cavern -- jiving to Instant Karma USA and Hal Bruce -- losing ourselves just one more time in Beatle Heaven.
"In light of all the fear and confusion we live in today, in a world that has seemingly gone mad, being back in touch with the Beatles, with the spirit and positive meaning that their music represented, helps deal with today's reality. To bond with other Beatles Fans for these 11 days has been an unforgettable experience." (Ed Salvador, August 31 2005).
Our last MMT day was a bittersweet experience. We had to rise early for our bus to the airport (truth be told, some of us didn't "rise" at all, but stayed at the Cavern until moments before boarding the bus). It was a subdued bus ride and with the trip came the realization that we were changed somehow. We had come, seen, and experienced something we had all only dreamed of, but, even more significantly, we had discovered that we were now part of something -- a community -- that even the Beatles, in their heyday, couldn't have imagined giving birth to. Four lads from Liverpool – "just a band that made it really, really big" as John has said -- brought us together 40 some-odd years later to live the Magic of the Magical Mystery Tour and join the spirit and passion of Beatles fans everywhere.
"so it's hard not to imagine, and even harder to forget, that some of him was there in me…" "Once Upon a Lifetime, by Ted Myslinski"
Stateside addendum, from your Tour Report Author:
Reality brings us home, but our connections continue. Admittedly, I wore my wristband for over two weeks upon returning. And already for me, the group has become a part of who I am and the experience of the MMT is part of who I will always be. Our thoughts were with Jason and Norris, who joined us from New Orleans, whose city had to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Our prayers were with Sue and Ed's son, Chris, serving in Iraq, and other group members whose children and family members were also serving overseas. Many of us were preparing to see Macca live on tour. Pictures began to change hands, videos were being exchanged and plans were being made to join MMT 2006. Amsterdam! London!! Liverpool!!! Don't miss the Magic.
As promised, I'll end my report with the results of MMT 2005 "best of" contest, voted live on the tour bus from London to Liverpool. Future tour attendees meet the members of MMT, 2005!
Best dressed: Kevin; (with the endless collection of unique Beatles shirts)
Honorable mention to Ella, for the fabulous collection of stunning outfits and eyeglasses!
Funniest tour member: Dave
Most likely to return: Tie: '60's' Jim and Dave
Best performer: Tie between Frank, Jere, Ted, Ed, Shannon and Louis. We were blessed with talented musicians!
Honorable mention to Jason and Becky for their improvised drum work.
Special recognition for Eddie's Shakespeare recitation on the bus to Liverpool.
And a special, heartfelt thanks to Ted, for sharing his dedication song to John.
Luckiest tour members: Audrey and Pete (who won their trip through their local radio station in Hawaii!)
Special mention to Alicia, of BEATLEMANIAC fame!
Best Beatles shirt: As previously noted, Susan's MACCA jersey (sorry, Kevin!)
Sexiest tour member: Joe (you stud!)
Biggest Beatles Fan: Dave; no contest (although we are all the "biggest fan" in our hearts, it's hard to compete with Dave).
Best Beatles Tattoo: Tie: Susan's Imagine Tattoo and Kevin's Harley/ Beatles/ Baseball combination (Actually, mine won here, but I acknowledge the vote was swayed!)
Best story tellers: Frank and Peter
Most understanding spouse: Cathy; just along for the ride, says Ed. (Another Beatles fan lovingly said of their spouse "I just brought him along to pay the bills!)
Most romantic tour members: Jere and Theresa, celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary on MMT 2005. Jere and Theresa originally honeymooned in Liverpool in 1990!!
Cutest couple: Sue and Ed H. (Did everyone see them swaying together at Dancin in the Streets!)
Favorite Beatle: Votes were given for all, but in majority, we were suckers for George.
Favorite Beatles song: From our group (minus several spouses who did not vote) 22 different songs were noted. Hey Jude edged ahead of the others.
Note: This ballot item was met with strong opposition from '60's' Jim, who proclaimed: "You don't ask a Beatles Fan what their favorite Beatles song is! That's an insult!"
Well said, Jim. Half of you changed your vote by the end of the trip, anyway.