Expectations-Music and Much More

“And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so.  God called the dry land Earth,[a] and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good”
Genesis 1:9-10

Sometimes persons, places, or things fail to live up to our expectations. At other times, we don’t have high expectations and end up pleasantly surprised!  Such was the case with Pam and me regarding our recent visit to Liverpool, England. Nothing against Liverpool, but we simply had anticipated a couple of touristy spots related to the Beatles and maybe a busy industrialized waterfront where cargo and container vessels left a little room for a cruise ship to dock.  Not the case!

Don’t be alarmed, but Pam and I, even though not yet teenagers in the early 60’s, were never Beatles fans. And, when you think Liverpool, you think music and in particular the Beatles. The reality of how music is a dynamic force that affects cultures locally, regionally, and even globally becomes very evident when visiting Liverpool. We quickly developed an appreciation and greater understanding of how surroundings influence people, and in turn, how people influence their surroundings. But, in Liverpool, it’s much more than the music and the sound that is unique to the Merseybeat. There is a rich history here that covers years and even centuries before the musical British invasion that we enjoyed learning about. You can read our previous post about Liverpool here: A Surprise Of A City.

It is a fact that I prefer the countryside and country living but I honestly enjoyed visiting Liverpool. If you ever have the chance to go to the region, be sure to drop by Liverpool. If not, we hope you enjoy visiting the city with us here on the blog. A destination that should be very interesting to Beatles fans? Yes- for sure! But so much more. More than we expected! (Interesting note: during the time I spent typing this, I heard no less than 3 Beatles songs on the 60’s channel that was playing softly in the background). When preparing for a trip, we have a longstanding habit of packing entirely too much. While our bags are normally so heavy they feel like they are made of stone, they aren’t nearly as solid as these concrete suitcases!!This “boat” definitely caught our eye as we approached Liverpool. It was fascinating to discover that it was one of the ferries that crosses the Mersey River. The operators leave you without any doubts when they pull away from the pier with loudspeakers resonating the Gerry and the Pacemaker’s song “Ferry Cross the Mersey”.The Merseybeat is to Liverpool as Motown is to Detroit. It’s just that one of a kind sound that originates in a place and takes on an identity all its own. As a guitar player and band member in the latter half of the 60’s,  I played a Fender guitar through a Fender amp. We also included a keyboard of sorts, better described as an electric organ. It was impossible for a bunch of guys from Alabama with our instrumentation to come close to a sound like that which came from Liverpool and other parts of the UK. The Merseybeat was guitar driven and seemed somewhat simple to me as a player yet I could not achieve it with my Fender Jaguar and my particular playing style. The Liverpool accent contributed a lot to the sound and the vocal harmonies were tight and unique.
People that end up having big influence or major impact in our world almost always have small, little known beginnings or opportunities along their path. Such is the case with the Beatles and many other artists who played numerous times at Liverpool’s Cavern Club. The opportunity to develop their talents and musical identities at a place like the Cavern was good for both artists and the club. Maybe without this no one would have ever heard of the Beatles? Who knows! And for sure, we would not have any idea of such a place called the Cavern Club, much less decide to locate it and take photos of the place (along with thousands of visitors each year). Which came first, the Hotel or the song?  The Hotel is just around the corner from the Cavern Club. It is almost impossible in Liverpool to get away from the influence of the music and the artists that are part of the Merseybeat. Did you know that Liverpool has the only Beatle-inspired hotel in the entire world?You can’t help but notice the life-size statues of the Fab Four just above the first floor!  I guess we expected a large bustling park or a big field where strawberries grew in season, but this is what we discovered as our local driver took us to some of the “out of the way” places that are spread out across Liverpool.  The gate, a replica of the original which was removed! . Behind the gate is a grown up, brushy area where the Strawberry Field, a Salvation Army orphanage, once stood.  Lennon grew up just around the corner from the orphanage and used to play in the wooded garden behind the home.  He attended garden parties there during the summer! We didn’t add our names to the graffiti on the entrance columns, but it looks like everyone else has!  The name of the home became world famous in 1967 with the release of the Beatles single “Strawberry Fields Forever” written by John Lennon.  Lennon left money in his will for Strawberry Field!    Not too far from Strawberry Field is the home where John Lennon lived with his Aunt Mimi from the age of five until age 22.  Yoko Ono purchased the house in 2002 and donated it to the National Trust, where tours are offered by appointment. Again, Liverpool has so much to see in a compact area around downtown and the river that can be achieved on foot, but this home is 10 or 15 minutes by car from downtown. Quoting Lennon from an interview, “I moved in with my auntie who lived in the suburbs in a nice semidetached place with a small garden and doctors and lawyers and that ilk living around…not the poor slummy kind of image that was projected in all the Beatles stories.”  The tour buses stop at a sign at the end of the street to allow tourists to get their photos of Penny Lane. But if you go down Penny Lane, which is a bit narrow, you will find this older and unfortunately abused sign embedded in a wall along the street. All of us are greatly impacted by our childhood and “growing up” years. Good or bad, we have our stories to tell, keepsakes we treasure, things we wish we could forget, and in this case, songs to write about those experiences. “Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes ….” so Paul McCartney wrote when he penned the song Penny Lane in 1967. Like John Lennon who wrote Strawberry Fields, these were real places that were part of their everyday living Just in case you are wondering, that is a giraffe peering over our heads!The City of Liverpool is a very welcoming city and displayed quite a fireworks show exclusively for our cruise passengers that began at the dock as we set sail. Very nice! Maybe it is their way of saying ”Y’all come back now, ya hear”.      Thanks for joining us as we discovered the unique city of Liverpool!butch-closer Linking with Pieced PastimesSilver Pennies, Life on Lakeshore DriveThoughts From Alice, Mod Vintage Life, Coastal Charm, My Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaThe Dedicated HouseDwellings-Heart of Your HomeSavvy Southern Style, Ivy and Elephants, French Country Cottage, From My Front Porch To Yours, Stone Gable, Confessions of a Plate Addict, Worthing CourtBetween Naps on the Porch, Cedar Hill Farmhouse, A Stroll Thru Life, The Style Sisters, The Charm of Home, The Winthrop Chronicles, Cornerstone ConfessionsA Delightsome Life, Imparting GracePosed PerfectionKatherines Corner, My Romantic HomeChic On A Shoestring DecoratingRooted In Thyme, Share Your Cup, TheEnchanting Rose, Alabama Women Bloggers, 21 Rosemary Lane, Northern Nesting, Oh My Heartsie Girl,  Cozy Little House, Rattlebridge Farm, The Turquoise Home, My Flagstaff Home, In The New House, Natasha in Oz, Vintage Refined, Rustic & Refined, Must Love Home, Grammie Time


  1. Paula Bradshaw says:

    Dear Pam & Butch,
    Thanks for sharing your interesting trip to Liverpool, a place I may never likely go. It gives me a new appreciation for the Beatles. ?

    Sent from my iPhone



    • Paula, so glad you enjoyed the journey with us. It is kind of funny that before we left home we had decided we weren’t interested in touring the Beatles sites, but we changed our minds upon arrival. It was so interesting!

  2. Great story and photos! I would have liked to have seen more… all of it! I loved the Beatles, a huge part of my growing up years… (and still love them). Now I’ll have to add ‘The Beatles’ to my Pandora list.

  3. Kim says:

    I enjoyed your post very much, Butch. I’m not a Beatles fan at all, but I enjoyed learning about Liverpool, the waterway, and especially Penny Lane. I think that’s the one song by the Beatles that sticks most in my mind the most. It’s nice to know Lennon left a legacy of Strawberry Fields – for forever (well, as forever as forever can be in this life). It was so nice to “hear” from you today! 🙂

  4. Judy Goddard says:

    I’ve never heard of the “Mersey Beat” before, but I’ve always recognized the original sound. When I first saw the bright boat I thought maybe it had been yarn bombed! Thanx for sharing!

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