1964 capitalizes on the phenomenon of The Beatles

Chris Kallio

1964 — A tribute to The Beatles

at Roosevelt High School

Saturday, Feb. 2, 8 p.m.

$20 presale

$25 at the door (proceeds go to Roosevelt High sports boosters)

In our culture, few elements have reached the iconic status of The Beatles. But years have passed since the Fab Four disbanded and moved on. One would think that the popularity of and passion for The Beatles would disappear, but it has not.

This is especially evident in 1964, hailed by many — including Dick Clark and Rolling Stone — to be the best Beatles tribute band ever.

In 1984, Gary Grimes (Paul), Mark Benson (John), Tom Work (George) and Terry Manfredi (Ringo) came together to create their tribute band with determination.

Grimes learned how to play the bass with his left hand (as McCartney does.)

“It took me two years of practicing to play bass guitar left-handed to learn the instrument well enough to play out in front of an audience,” he said. “No one told me back then that if I did that I would get to perform on the Carnegie Hall stage in New York City.”

1964 started as a monthly gig in Akron, then evolved into performances from colleges coast to coast, from America to Canada and elsewhere — London to Liverpool, South America to Germany, with 135 shows a year. 1964 capitalizes on the phenomenon of The Beatles, and does so by bringing that energy and brilliance to life on stage.

“Every five or six years The Beatles get reinvented,” Benson said.

He is precisely correct. Julie Taymor’s ode to The Beatles, Across the Universe, is now an Oscar-nominated film, and Ringo Starr seems to be on every television show promoting his hit new album Liverpool 8.

“Even Elvis wasn’t selling out stadiums,” said Benson.

Despite being a symbol of the baby boomers, The Beatles appeals to many generations.

“I just think that the songs speak to all ages with their simple melodies, great harmonies and rockin’ music,” said Grimes. “We play Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado every year for PBS Denver and it’s sold out and the crowd is eight-years-old to 80. That’s an amazing testament to the music and show of the early mop-top Beatles.”

Why is there still a fascination with the The Beatles?

“Love,” says Benson. “Their songs and their images were very positive. They covered rock, country, jazz, blues — they set the benchmark. They are a common denominator.”

For tickets call 330-676-0104 or e-mail [email protected]. Visit 1964’s website at www.1964thetribute.com.

Contact all reporter Chris Kallio at [email protected].