September 14, 2011 Edition

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Liverpool Legends to
headline free Beatles event

David Smith (front) and Jerry Ballard of Cavenaugh Auto World check out the immaculately restored red 1962 GMC Suburban Carryall ridden in by Beatles George Harrison and Paul McCartney during their 1964 visit to Walnut Ridge. The Suburban will be on display at Cavenaugh's until Saturday before it is taken to Jonesboro to be displayed for the day. It will be returned to Walnut Ridge for The Beatles at the Ridge celebration on Sunday.
TD Photo ~ Gloria Wilkerson

Gretchen Hunt

The Liverpool Legends, a Branson-based Beatles tribute band, operated by Louise Harrison, will be the headline act during Sunday's "Beatles at the Ridge" concert and tribute unveiling in downtown Walnut Ridge.

The free concert will be held a block north of the Main and Second Street intersection, at the site of the annual Iron Mountain Festival.

Musical performances begin at 1 p.m. with J.R. Rogers and the All Stars. Memphis singer Nancy Apple takes the stage around 2 p.m., with rockabilly band Stunning Cunning to perform around 3 p.m.

Louise Harrison, sister of late Beatles band member, George Harrison, will address the crowd around 4 p.m., leading into the headline act at 4:30. The Walnut Ridge High School PRIDE Band will also perform selections from their Beatles-inspired halftime show around the time the Legends take the stage.

Following the Legends' performance, the Beatles sculpture will be unveiled at around 6 p.m. Created by Danny West of Walnut Ridge, the sculpture is an artist's rendering of the Beatles' iconic Abbey Road album cover. The work is known as "The British Invasion of the Rock 'n' Roll Highway."

Nancy Apple is a singer and songwriter often referred to as the "Cadillac Cowgirl." Delivering songs influenced by 1950s rockabilly and country, Apple is a musician and performer who reveres the recordings of Wanda Jackson, Johnny Cash and the early rebels of rock 'n' roll, according to event organizers.

Stunning Cunning is a popular Memphis band dedicated to bringing rockabilly to a new generation. The group is led by Brandon Cunning, an energetic showman whose stage moves and musical skills reflect the influence of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly and Brian Setzer.

The Liverpool Legends are four musicians and actors who were hand-picked by Louise Harrison to recreate the band that changed the face of music forever. Headlining their own production in Branson since 2006, the Legends have been voted Best New Show, Best Band and Best Show in Branson.

They appeared on The Travel Channel's "Beatlemania Britain" and headlined "International Beatles Week" in Liverpool, where 100,000 Beatles fans jammed Victoria Street to hear them in concert. The Liverpool Legends received national attention as they re-created The Beatles 1966 concert at Busch Stadium in St. Louis in 2005 and now are the first and only Beatles tribute to star in a continuing showcase in Branson.

To accommodate the expected crowd, the sculpture will be unveiled at the concert site. It will be installed at its permanent home on Second Street, just south of Main, the next week. The city of Walnut Ridge is currently working to change the name of that block of Second Street to Abbey Road, in honor of the sculpture.

Beatles at the Ridge is being sponsored by All Star Music, Cavenaugh Auto World, Craighead Electric, Faultline Studios, Goin' Postal, Jonesboro Radio Group, KAIT-TV, KASU Radio and Special Things.

Movie, Book Signing, other activities set

Beatles at the Ridge has developed into much more than a concert. A Saturday night showing of a Beatles film is also part of the festivities, as well as a book signing by the authors of "Come Together," presentation of one documentary on the Beatles' visit to Walnut Ridge, and filming of still another documentary.

"A Hard Days Night" will be played Saturday night at the Regions Bank parking lot in Walnut Ridge. The film, which starred the Beatles, was made in 1964, the same year the group made their visit to Walnut Ridge. The movie will begin around 7:15 p.m., and it will be shown on a giant screen Umbotron projection television. Those attending are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs.

On Sunday, the authors of "Come Together: The Business Wisdom of the Beatles" will be on hand to autograph their book. Richard Courtney and George Cassidy wrote the book, which was published this year. It chronicles the calculated and highly successful effort that turned four teenaged musicians from Liverpool, England, into a multi-billion-dollar franchise with multi-generational appeal.

Courtney and Cassidy will be selling and signing their book at a tent pavilion near the concert Sunday afternoon.

A documentary film of The Beatles' visit to Walnut Ridge will be playing at a new downtown business Saturday and Sunday, as well. Mike Bowman of Jonesboro produced the documentary, which features interviews with many of those who witnessed the Beatles' stop here. It will be shown throughout the afternoon at Imagine, a new gallery that is opening at the corner of Main and Second Street.

And, as that documentary is premiering, another will be in the works. Jerry Mitchell, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated reporter from Jackson, Miss., and his partner, Michael Roden, will be shooting footage in Walnut Ridge this weekend for their documentary on the subject. Roden, a Clay County native, is an assistant U.S. attorney in Nashville.

And an important piece of history from the Beatles trip to Walnut Ridge is on display in the area this week. An immaculately restored 1962 Chevrolet Suburban will be on display at Cavenaugh Auto World and other locations. It is the same Suburban that carried some of the Beatles from the Walnut Ridge Airport to their retreat destination near Alton, Mo., and back to Walnut Ridge.

All events are free to the public. Concessions will be available during the movie screening on Saturday night, as well as during festivities on Sunday. There will also be event T-shirts available on Sunday for purchase.

Public parking may in short supply, so local residents are encouraged to use other parking solutions if they have them available.

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