Beatles provide inspiration for Eurovision contestants in Liverpool

Liverpool’s most famous band, the Beatles, is providing inspiration for this year’s Eurovision entrants.

Reminders of the Fab Four are all around the acts as they prepare for the song contest, which culminates in the city with the final on Saturday.

Contestants have been visiting the Cavern Club on Mathew Street and some delegations are staying at the Hard Day’s Night Hotel, entirely themed around the band, which had its first hit with Love Me Do in 1962.

Eurovision 2023
Sudden Lights, the Latvian Eurovision entry, wear outfits which match those worn by the Beatles on the Abbey Road album cover for the Eurovision operning ceremony (Peter Byrne/PA)

At Sunday’s opening ceremony, Spanish act Blanca Paloma said she was planning a Beatles tour of the city, where tourists can visit the childhood homes of John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney.

She said: “I’m a big fan.”

Latvian group Sudden Lights appeared on the contest’s turquoise carpet wearing outfits which matched those worn by the Beatles on their Abbey Road album cover, including the barefoot look sported by Sir Paul.

But the outfits were not enough to channel the success of the rock and roll stars, with Latvia failing to qualify at Tuesday’s semi-final.

Italian singer Marco Mengoni said he had been to the Cavern and was exploring the Beatles’ old haunts.

He said: “I love Beatles, so I’m in the correct city.”

Mary Chadwick, general manager of the Beatles Story museum on the Albert Dock, said they had been welcoming contestants.

“We’ve had a few of the artists in here, a lot of them are saying they are Beatles fans,” she said.

“I’m sure they have been inspired by the Beatles, the Beatles are an international group.

“They conquered the world in delivering their music.”

Music – The Beatles – Saville Theatre, London
The Beatles (l-r) Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr with their MBEs (PA Archive/PA)

According to Dr Holly Tessler, who runs the University of Liverpool’s MA in Beatles Studies, at the start of their career it was Europe which influenced the Beatles,.

A series of residencies in Hamburg, Germany, in the early 1960s even led to them sporting the famous mop top haircuts.

“Up to that point they were still in leathers, looking like rockers,” she said.

“Having a European influence both on their style as well as their artistic sensibilities really influenced the Beatles.”

Since then, the group went on to have an impact on music “around the world”, Dr Tessler said.

She added: “The Beatles set the standard in terms of how pop songs are constructed and how they’re performed.

“Up until recently rock bands were always four guys playing guitar, bass and drums.

“That’s begun to change, but their legacy has been so enduring.

“They really are a part of the country’s heritage.

“I think people still see them as an inspiration.

“They threw out the rule book.

“They really started to play with the idea of what pop music could be.”

Dr Tessler said she was unsure if the Beatles would have been willing to enter Eurovision, which began in 1956, the year Lennon formed group The Quarrymen.

She said: “I think the Beatles in the early part of their career would have been game for anything.

“They were very ambitious, very keen to work with people who could help them progress their career to that level.

“I think they would have given serious consideration to being in Eurovision, especially if they could play their own music.”

Ms Chadwick said if they had taken part, there would have been only one possible outcome.

“I’m sure if they had been in Eurovision they would have won!” she said.