Die vier Beatles überqueren hintereinander einen Zebrastreifen
Foto: Ian MacMillan, Abbey Road 1969

05.03 - 24.09.2022

The Beatles Come Together

This lively exhibition rekindles fascination with one of pop culture's greatest phenomena.

Barlach Kunstmuseum Wedel

With well over a billion records sold, the Beatles are the most successful band in music history and have had a lasting influence on almost all genres of pop and rock culture.

The mass enthusiasm and worldwide youth movement triggered by this band provokes again and again the attempt to understand the incomparable history and the fascinating effect of this group.

The band reached the peak of its career between 1964 and 1969, when it temporarily topped the charts in almost all Western countries. Their musical roots, however, lie in the rock`n`roll of the 1950s, Liverpool beat music and the stylistic elements of blues, skiffle and boogie-woogie.

Still at the beginning of the 1960s, the Beatles were just one of countless bands hoping for success, money and fame. But February 16, 1963 was to change everything: Their song "Please Please Me" reached No. 1 in the British charts, sparking Beatlemania, an international mass hysteria of young teenagers.
On the one hand, the Beatles' appearance and charisma were a model for many male fans; on the other hand, the band members were perceived as particularly attractive by parts of the female audience. Screaming fits, nervous breakdowns and fainting fits were therefore not uncommon during Beatlemania.

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The Beatles were masters at adapting to social phenomena and at the same time helping to shape them without having to expose themselves politically too much. Although they experimented with drugs and the resulting psychedelic elements in their music from 1966 on, they remained much more moderate than, for example, the group Pink Floyd and other representatives of psychedelic and progressive rock of the same time.

Not least through their films - especially Yellow Submarine (1968) - the Beatles exerted a lasting influence on pop culture and made a fundamental contribution to the development of the music video. Their video clips for "Paperback Writer," "Rain," "Strawberry Fields Forever," and "Penny Lane" are the first music videos in pop history in which the band does not simply play their song, but integrates broader visual narratives and complex dramaturgical elements.

The exhibition "The Beatles - Come Together" attempts to approach the phenomenon of "The Beatles" from multiple perspectives via photos, videos and objects. The history of the band is accentuated anew and illuminated from its musical side through numerous music clips. In addition, the character traits of the four musicians are examined. And finally, it is shown to what extent the band was able to profit from an economically motivated and novel management, which made it possible for the group to present itself to such a large mass of people worldwide in the first place.

The exhibition starts with perspectives from the band as well as from observers and companions. At its core, however, the exhibition follows the fascination of their fans, who were mainly young at the time. A fascination that continues to this day.