The Beatles Arrive at Stax Museum, Memphis

May 27, 2004 12:00 PM, Editors


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Today, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music announced that on June 12, 84 behin-the-scenes, never before published photographs of The Beatles will go on display at the museum, marking only the third American venue to host the show, which runs through Sept. 12. The exhibition is being shown in conjunction with Memphis’ international 50th Anniversary of Rock-and-Roll Celebration, and the 40th Anniversary of The Beatles’ first North American appearance and tour, in 1964.

“The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes,” is the latest traveling exhibit from the CBS Television Photo Archive. Shown previously in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian Museum and in New York City's Museum of News and Radio, the exhibit is a fine art photography show chronicling The Beatles’ North American debut on the CBS Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 and on their first train journey that same year from New York City to Washington, D.C. The photographs of Paul, George, John and Ringo, in their early 20s at the time, were taken by various CBS photographers that year and by Bill Epperidge, a leading photojournalist for more than 35 years with National Geographic, LIFE, and Sports Illustrated. The exhibition is curated by John Filo, Pulitzer Prize-winning director of photo operations at CBS, who currently assigns, edits and distributes photo coverage of CBS’s current programming and is responsible for the marketing of the 30 million-image CBS photo archive.

Bringing this rare collection of Beatles photographs to Memphis is just one of the ways the Stax Museum of American Soul Music is helping Memphis celebrate this year’s 50th Anniversary of Rock and Roll. According to Deanie Parker, president and CEO of Soulsville, the umbrella organization that operates the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Stax Music Academy, “Our focus at the museum, of course, is soul music and in particular the soul music recorded at Stax Records, where the museum now stands. But we also celebrate the roots of soul music, which include blues, gospel, country music and other influences, all of which are intertwined in so many ways, and in so many ways came from Memphis. We are thrilled to host this exhibition of never-before-published photographs of The Beatles, as The Beatles are such an integral part of what popular music is today, and celebrating music of all genres brings together people from all walks of life, and that is also an integral part of our mission.”

An opening-night reception is planned for 6-8 p.m., June 12 at the museum. Photographer Bill Epperidge will be on hand to sign copies of the exhibition’s accompanying book, while supply lasts. Live Beatles music will be performed and cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

During the exhibition, the Stax Museum will carry The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes hand-printed commemorative exhibition poster containing five exhibition photographs. The retail cost is $64 and measures 20"x28".

For more information, visit the Web at

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