Four-Day Music Festival In NYC Marks The Beatles’ 50th Anniversary of Arriving In America, With 100% of Ticket Proceeds Going To Charity

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For more information on NYC: Fab 50, please visit: (http://www.nycfab50.com/index.htm)

For information on each concert, please see the end of the post.

“Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles!” And with that, Ed Sullivan kicked off The British Invasion on February 9th, 1964. This was the announcement that preceded four young Englishmen taking the stage of his show in New York City 50 years ago.  These were the five words that forever changed the landscape of music in America, the five words that captured our country and captivated 73 million people that evening and many more millions since, and the five words that will still bring back powerful, joyful memories for people of a certain age.  Perhaps that’s why so many anniversary events are taking place all over America during the first weekend in February, none more anticipated than NYC Fab 50: Celebrating The Music Of The Beatles, a four-day event set to run in New York City from Thursday, February 6th through Sunday, February 9th, to mark the 50 years since The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and took the country by storm.

At the helm of the planning is Charles Rosenay, one of the youngest television viewers the evening that most Americans got their first look at John, Paul, George, and Ringo in action. “My first memory in life is seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was like 3D. They weren’t just on that little black and white tube in my bedroom in the Bronx. They jumped out. They were in the living room with me,” says Rosenay.  He’s been a life-long fan of The Beatles, but has also spent the past 30+ years producing tours to Liverpool as well as Beatle-related publications and events, so it made sense to Rosenay to make sure that New York City would be front and center as a 50th anniversary mecca for eager fans.  “It started because we didn’t think there was anything going on in New York. We knew there was going to be something in LA, we knew there was going to be a Grammy special. We just thought there has to be something special, something that’s never been done in the city, something that’s really, really, New York-centric and most of the artists performing are from New York.”  With the help of co-executive producer Daniel Levine, coordinating producer Dennis D’Amico, and producer Patrice Samara who is handling the artists’ arrangements, Rosenay has been busily taking care of last minute details, and the addition of even more artists to an already-overwhelming line-up.

Looking at the list of performers attached to this music festival, the first thing that you notice is the eclectic nature of the list of celebrities. Just to name a few: Dick Cavett and Charles Grodin, The Spin Doctors, Dionne Warwick, Mary Wilson, all well-known, all talented, and all people you would be hard-pressed to find on the same bill at any event, much less in the same room together. And yet, there is a definite method to the madness. “We tried to really theme up different nights differently, but try to make something that would be appealing to so many different people. I mean, we didn’t go the obvious route and try to contact people like Denny Laine, and Joey Molland, and Laurence Juber, Beatle people who are friends, people you would first associate with Beatle events. We really went for artists who have fame, or hits, or who were notable in their own right.”  The result is four concerts with four distinctive themes in four different venues around New York City.  The genius of the events is that The Fest for Beatle Fans will be taking place that weekend in Manhattan, and so those who are attending the Fest by day can enjoy some stellar entertainment at night with each of the NYC: Fab 50 events.

As Rosenay reflects on both the 50th anniversary of The Beatles coming to America and the four-day event, he states, “I doubt we can ever get this pool of talent again, and what’s great about the whole series is it’s for charity. The money’s going to The Food Bank for New York City (http://www.foodbanknyc.org/), The Autism Think Tank (http://www.autismthinktanknj.com), and The Children’s Music Fund (www.thecmf.org). There’s actually three charities involved which gives me a lot of pleasure, as one of the producers, to know that 100% of net proceeds from ticket sales goes to charity, and I don’t know if any other Beatle event going on can say that. All the talent just stepped forward and is donating all their time. Not a penny is going into any of the artists’ pockets.  It’s amazing.”

When asked why The Beatles have had such a staying power over the past five decades, Rosenay responds: “The question is why? My question is why not? The Beatles were the biggest, best, most brilliant, most amazing act ever. It will always be that way and I think new generations of fans will continue to discover and love The Beatles, and I certainly hope so.”  When asked about his thoughts about the finished product of the music festival, Rosenay replies, “If it wasn’t a show I was producing, it’d be a show I’d be attending. I would have bought tickets right off the bat, there’s no doubt, for all four of them.”

Tickets are still available to the shows.

Please visit http://www.nycfab50.com/index.htm for more information on each of the shows and for ticket and venue information.

Night 1: Twist and Shout: New York Celebrates The Beatles

Thursday, February 6th, 7:30 p.m.

(http://www.nycfab50.com/Apollo.htm)

Rosenay: “The Apollo just made sense to start with, acts that were Beatle influences, and that is of course soul and R&B and all those acts, as well as people who were friends with The Beatles or who toured with The Beatles, or who had some connection with The Beatles besides being in their bands or regularly played their music. So Mary Wilson of The Supremes, she knew The Beatles, she was friends with The Beatles, and The Supremes and The Beatles were always on the charts together. So we invited her and said, “Will you do a Beatle song plus one of your own?” and she really made it happen in her schedule. The neat one that we got on that show which is really unexpected is Bobby Hebb’s daughter, because Bobby Hebb toured with The Beatles and was a friend of The Beatles and has passed on, and his daughter is carrying on his legacy. She’s going to sing “Sunny” and she’s going to sing one other Beatle song, so finding her was a real coup, and Gary US Bonds is interesting because he was on a tour with The Beatles as well. Dionne Warwick was a friend of The Beatles as well. So there’s a connection there or it’s artists who are really amazing who wanted the opportunity to sing Beatle songs at such an event….Speaking of Lulu, what’s really cool is the show is called Twist and Shout: New York Celebrates The Beatles, and she’s really not a New Yorker, she’s not American either, but Lulu’s song ‘Shout’ was covered by The Beatles who would do her version when they did “Shout,” not The Isley Brothers, so there was that connection there, and she was friends with The Beatles.”

Night 2: “Across The Universe”

Friday, February 7th, 8:00 p.m.

(http://www.nycfab50.com/Hudson1.htm)

Rosenay: “The Spin Doctors came about because we were really trying to get a lot of alternative bands or bands from the ‘90s up until now, nothing really retro-y as The Apollo show is and the Town Hall show is.  We wanted to build it around a headliner with all the international bands because going to Liverpool every summer, I see the best of the bands from all over the world, and we decided we would invite 50 bands from 50 countries for the 50th anniversary, knowing that there’s just a handful that could come over because flights are expensive, but also getting visas in time. Some of them have never been to America, some of them had to clear their schedules, some of them had to make sure the whole band could come. So that was its own challenge, but once the ones decided who could come came, we wanted to put them in a concert where it made a lot of sense, and The Hudson Theater is a great historic theater off Broadway, and its claim to fame is it was the original venue of The Tonight Show and where Steve Allen had Elvis Presley play on the same stage. It’s a Broadway theater, it’s small, it holds about 700, and we got some of the great Beatle bands from all over the world, plus two New York bands. We’ve got the Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra and the New York City School of Rock. They’ll open for that show. It’s going to be pretty great because I’ve always been a big Spin Doctors fan. “Two Princes,” “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong,” “Jimmy Olson’s Blues,” all great, great songs from the ‘90s and to get them to do that plus a ½ hour of Beatles stuff, their hits and that, that was a real score.”

Night 3: America Celebrates The Beatles: All Star Benefit Concert

Saturday, February 8th, 7:30 p.m.

(http://www.nycfab50.com/TownHall.htm)

Rosenay: “Moving on to the Saturday show, those were really some of the acts I’ve always loved all my life, and people who are friends. Looking at this show, how can you be a music fan and not want to see it? It’s like the Who’s Who of the greatest hits of AM radio of the past 50 years. We were lucky enough just recently to add Al Jardine from The Beach Boys and Melissa Manchester. They’re all going to do their own hits plus Beatle songs, their choice of Beatle songs, and it’s just really amazing.  They’re all probably going to be on the stage at one point because we expect at the end of each concert for there to be one of those gala encores where they’ll all play and share and alternate songs, so that should be pretty special.”

Sunday, February 9th, 7 p.m.

(http://www.nycfab50.com/Bitter%20End.htm)

Rosenay: “There were some bands that we still wanted to get on the bill but there was no room on any of these shows, so we’re sort of having an after-party on the Sunday, of course the 50th anniversary of the Sullivan Show, at The Bitter End which is New York’s oldest rock club. It’s a bunch of these great international bands plus a few US bands playing at The Bitter End for only $19.64, which we thought was appropriate.”

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~ by Jennifer Dodge on January 30, 2014.

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