What better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles coming to America than by experiencing a recreation of The Beatles performing live in concert with the band, 1964 The Tribute. It's been 30 years since 1964 was formed and the Beatles tribute band is still going strong as evident by their show in Anaheim, California last Saturday.
What makes 1964 different and exceptional when compared to the countless number of Beatles tribute acts around is the fact that they specialize in the Beatles' touring years from 1964 to 1966. They are one of, if not, the best at replicating the Beatles' vocals, speaking voices, attire, musicianship and mannerisms specifically during those early years in the Fab Four's career.
1964's repertoire consists of approximately 50 numbers that The Beatles played while on tour ranging from songs on the "Meet the Beatles" to "Rubber Soul" albums. One of the highlights is their unique medley of "Love Me Do," "Thank You Girl" and "Please Please Me."
Host of LA's Breakfast with the Beatles radio show on 95.5 KLOS, Chris Carter, acted as the emcee of the evening at Pearson Park Amphitheatre where 1964 has played in previous years. Largely an East Coast/Midwest band, 1964 ventures out to the West Coast a few times a year playing at dynamic venues including Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado.
Back on the East Coast, 1964 The Tribute is known for their annual show at Carnegie Hall in New York, now going on their 13th year. In February, they played a special set of shows at the Deauville Hotel in Miami, Florida on the very same stage where The Beatles performed live on The Ed Sullivan Show.
After 30 years, the group has gone through several personnel changes. Two original members are still performing with the group: Mark Benson who plays a dead-on harmonica-playing John Lennon, and Tom Work who, after a long absence, returned to play George Harrison. Sadly, Gary Grimes, who played the original "Paul" for 25 years, died in 2010 from cancer.
While it's hard to fill Gary's shoes, Mac Ruffing does a great job impersonating Paul McCartney authentically playing the bass left-handed. Drummer Bobby Potter may not bear as strong a resemblance to Ringo Starr as former member Greg George, but he still matches up in terms of musicianship.
As Mark Benson told Daytrippin' Magazine in 2000: "Once every couple of months, we'll videotape ourselves to see if we're staying on track, just to see if we can brush up on something. There's always a natural drift, and we're aware of that. But when you're in the suit, with the same boots and the same guitar and the other guys are too, it's almost foreign to act any other way. We do work hard at it, but the best compliment we get is that it doesn't look like it. That's a good barometer for us, because we want it to look natural. We want people to get caught up in the illusion and even believe it for a little while."
For more information on 1964 The Tribute and their touring schedule, visit