I was on a Fab journey recently, feeling a bit like Beatles’ royalty on board The Queen Mary 2, one of Cunard’s luxurious ocean liners. I was invited by Cunard to come aboard and present three lectures on The Beatles, “The Beatles Ed Sullivan Show Appearances”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, and “The Beatles from Sgt. Pepper to Abbey Road.”
This transatlantic crossing was new to me because it was on a non-stop journey across the north atlantic from New York to Southampton. This type of traveling gives one a chance to relax and enjoy the ocean liner for all she has to offer. There were films, live performances, high tea at 3:30, pools, a gym, an amazing spa and specialty programs, with a Beatles theme running through our entire week on board.
The highlight was being invited to present three talks on The Beatles and enjoy our other special Beatles guests, Ivor Davis, who was with The Beatles on their first American tour in 1964 and The Beatles’ Experience tribute band, who played two shows for us on board The Queen Mary 2 and participated with Ivor and me in a live question and answer for a nice crowd of Beatle fans.
Ivor Davis and I have become fast friends, having The Beatles in common, of course. Ivor has a new book out called “The Beatles and Me on Tour” full of personal stories of spending intimate time with The Beatles in their suites, their limousines, on the charter jet and backstage. Ivor has never before heard stories of his time with The Beatles, like the night The Beatles met Elvis (he was the only press person allowed inside the house with The Beatles that night). So many other stories and photos fill the book. It’s a must-read for Beatle fans.
I met a shipload of Beatle fans on board, who were kind enough to come up and chat after each of my lectures, and I was invited by DJ Chris to be on his ship-wide radio show the night before my last lecture.
There’s no way I could have had a successful trio of lectures without my Production Manager and now Fiance, Coop, who was there when my videos went dark and saved the day with her backup Mac. Thanks Coop!
Here now is Ivor Davis’ blog account of the transatlantic crossing. I urge you to find his book on Amazon.com and order a copy for yourself and a friend. Also visit his website for more on this wonderful author and friend.
MY ADVENTURES ON THE VENERABLE QUEEN MARY 2
By Ivor Davis—
“Travelling by boat has this wonderful, timeless romantic aspect. The Atlantic just rocked me peacefully to sleep each night”
I have a particular fondness for the Queen Mary passenger liners. The original Queen Mary of course, was the way to go in the heyday of the glamor pre World War II years. But then during the War it became “The Grey Ghost” and was retro-fitted as a troop ship carrying at one time 15,000 servicemen and women on a single voyage.
But then in l967—back as a glorious luxury passenger liner– it brought my wife to be, Sally Ogle from Northern Ireland to the United States, and then in late l967 I travelled on the very last historic voyage, the final leg of the legendary liner from Acapulco to Long Beach California— its final resting place, on an historic voyage.
Fast forward to 2014—and I recently had the opportunity to sample the delights of the new Queen Mary II, on a trip from New York to Southampton. This year is the 50th anniversary of The Beatles invasion of America—and on a recent crossing to Southampton my “gig”—if you can call it that—was as a guest lecturer talking about The Beatles. I chatted about my new book “The Beatles and Me On Tour”, which as blog readers know, recounts my amazing first hand travels with The Fab Four when they first came to tour America in the Summer of l964.
As most Beatle fans know, the tour followed hard on the heels of their sensational appearances on the Ed Sullivan TV show in February l964 and went on to change the face of rock and roll history. Part of my job–I told passengers– on that amazing journey with the Fab Four, was to ghostwrite Beatle George Harrison’s newspaper column.
Also along for this crossing, was a popular British Beatles cover band (“The Beatles Experience.
”) There was me, of course, along was another Beatles expert, Joe Johnson,
who is the host of the enormously successful syndicated Beatle Brunch
radio program. He has interviewed The Beatles
and listening to him speak I learned lots of stuff I never knew about the Liverpool lads. Joe’s producer, the lovely Jamie Cooper, was a precious resource during lectures.
My transatlantic passage was fun. I got the chance to tell some of the 2,600 guests on the crossing what it was like to hang out with John, Paul, George and Ringo, at a time when even The Beatles didn’t think their popularity would last longer than a few years. As a lecturer (and there have been many) I joined the ranks of rocker Rod Stewart, Monty Python stalwart John Cleese, the late David Frost, Donald Trump and Carly Simon who have entertained guests on the liner.
I enjoyed fine dining, good wines, superb entertainment and a tremendous diversity of passengers from all over the world who were on the crossing. The highlight for me was a performance by a British singer named Phillip Browne, (“The Lion King”) who has an incredible voice and is hugely popular on the QM2.
I also enjoyed looking for the “ghosts” of The Queen Mary, and viewing the wonderful gallery of big blow up black and white photos of some of the greats of showbusiness and the literary world, who had traveled on the Queen. They included Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, Buster Keaton, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, Noel Coward, Bing Crosby, Burt Lancaster, David Niven, Rita Hayworth and screen Tarzan Johnny Weismuller.
The lectures were well attended—mainly, I presume, because those on the crossing were not having to worry about whether to sign up for a tour during the Atlantic journey. There’s no stops on this voyage–except to disembark in England.
Following my lectures, I went up to the 8th floor library and book store where I signed and sold my books. My only blip was the time an elderly gentleman, not being aware of the scheduled book signing in the library, which required me to converse and be friendly with those who wanted to share Beatle stories and get their books autographed, charged up to me and declared, “Sir, have you no respect for the library noise etiquette.” Of course, I did. I apologized for not speaking in a whisper– and then the gentleman sat back in a comfortable armchair in the library– and promptly fell fast asleep!
(above, our maitre’d Luis, along with Coop and Beatle Brunch host Joe Johnson)