The Beatles in Montreal

Three hundred and sixty – five days before Mick Jagger first opened his mouth and cried;” I Can’t Get No Satisfaction …” , the Fab Four touched down at what was formerly known as the Dorval Airport in the western suburbs of Montreal.


Forty – eight years later, the Beatles are back in town and the songwriters of ‘Satisfaction’ are embarking on a tour.

The more things change – the more things do not change.

The Beatles have returned to La Ville de Montreal as a group for the first time since the ‘magical mystery’ of who the boys from Liverpool was first solved. An estimated 20,000 screaming Quebecers who attended the Beatles two shows on September 8 1964, found out and how!

Amid Ringo death threats (really? Ringo?), because of the drummer strangely identified as being a Jewish lad from Liverpool? The boys were whisked in and out of Montreal quicker than the time it takes to eat ‘Pasta’.

One show at 4pm – another at 8:30pm. That’s it – that’s all! Ob-La-Di – Ob-La-Da … life goes on …

Not really.

Did anyone think on that date, that the ‘original boy band’ would become the biggest selling and most enduring pop band of all time? Did anyone who touched them, shook their hands or were in the same room realize they had just imprinted their souls into history …? Probably not.

As Lennon’s ( and The Beatles) Rolls Royce welcomes a visitor into ‘The Beatles in Montreal ‘ exhibit at Pointe-a-Calliere Montreal Archaeology and History Complex – a realization takes place. Reality sets in …

So long has passed since the
authors of ‘She Loves You’, ‘Michelle, ‘Get Back’ and too many other songs to list on a mountainside – it is easy to file the group and their legacy in the same cabinet drawer as Elvis, Charlie Parker and Hank Williams. ‘Phantoms’ of another era that exist through recordings solely.

Upon seeing John’s car, eying the various ‘Beatlemania’ souvenirs and hearing Ringo’s voice in it’s youthful playfulness via visual and audio representations … the Beatles become ‘real’ once more. Living, breathing monuments. Modern day Chopins or Bachs.


Alone, the group ‘set the stage’ for everyone to attempt to imitate. The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Beach Boys all the way to Oasis and recently Coldplay. Thousands of bands since and thousands to come (whether a new band realizes it or not).


The display, carefully orchestrated by men who were there at the time the Beatles first conquered North America, is a reflection of an era. An image of a simple time in music. No uploads, no downloads and no digital  piracy.

A couple of guitars, a bass and drums. All that was needed for a quartet of former Quarrymen to dominate a world through innocence.


Naive love songs comprised of feelings so small in the big picture yet so big in the small picture. Human feelings which made the world seem closer in an age far removed from the internet.

This is the legacy which lay before a visitor to the museum’s eyes. An immersion takes place if allowed. A sinking feeling of both sadness and elation fills the soul.


Kind of like The Beatles’ song book …

The Beatles in Montreal exhibition runs until March 30 2014. Please visit here for all the details.

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