Never before seen Lennon photos go on display

Popular attraction The Beatles Story in Liverpool is launching a new exhibition of never before seen images of Beatle John Lennon taken in the early 1970s. Tony McDonough reports

John Lennon
John Lennon in New York in 1974. Picture by Robert Deutsch


Liverpool attraction The Beatles Story is launching a new exhibition of previously unseen images of Beatle John Lennon.

Its new exhibition, Sgt. Pepper Way, will begin on what would have been Lennon’s 80th birthday on Friday, October 9. It will feature images taken by photographer Robert Deutsch and will run for three years. Other pictures will be added over time.

Mr Deutsch worked as a freelance photographer in New York during the 1970 and 80s. His black and white images, which have remained unseen for 45 years, captured Lennon at the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road theatre show at The Beacon Theatre, New York on October 17, 1974.

In the pictures, Lennon can be seen changing the name of West 74th street on Broadway to SGT. PEPPER WAY, sitting at an organ and relaxing in a dark velvet suit, top hat and ‘ELVIS’ lapel badge.

Mr Deutsch was recently on a cruise ship which docked in Liverpool and he was able to explore the city in a day-long tour, which included trips to Strawberry Field, The Cavern Club and The Beatles Story at the Royal Albert Dock. After visiting, he got in touch and offered to share his previously unpublished photographs with the Albert Dock-based attraction.

He said: “I met a John a few times and he was always very charming and very easy to talk to, but I was very nervous because he was a Beatle and I was a big Beatles fan. He went up on the ladder and changed the street sign to Sgt Pepper Way and when that was over he went into the theatre and invited us all to come in with him.

“He was having a great time talking to us, then he sat down at the organ and started playing – I couldn’t believe it, this is John Lennon, playing music for me. He was very nice, very friendly and very accessible.”

John Lennon
John Lennon changes the street sign in New York in 1974. Picture by Robert Deutsch


Sgt. Pepper Way will showcase the images alongside an video featuring their photographer in the exhibition, where fans can also see John’s last piano and enjoy an immersive experience in the updated Imagine White Room.

Mary Chadwick, general manager at The Beatles Story, added: “We’re so pleased to be able to share these amazing photographs, which have remained hidden in Robert’s home for so many years.

“Despite everything, 2020 is a significant milestone year for The Beatles Story – celebrating what would have been John’s 80th birthday, along with a special exhibit to mark Ringo’s 80th birthday and our 30th anniversary so it’s important to honour these occasions appropriately and in the best way we can.”

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