Celebrating Beatlemania in Miami

Today is September 9, 2009, or 9/09/09.  Besides being a cool-looking date, it’s a special day for Beatles fans.  Today the digitally remastered versions of the Beatles studio albums will be released, as will “The Beatles: Rock Band,” a video game that lets you play along with the group.

Why 9/09/09?  Besides songs like “One After 909” and “Revolution #9,” the number 9 had special meaning for John Lennon.  It was his lucky number; important things seemed to happen on the 9th day of the month.  Both he and his son Sean were born on October 9th (1940 and 1975 respectively), Brian Epstein first saw the Beatles at the Cavern Club on November 9, 1961, the Beatles got their recording contract on May 9, 1962, and John met Yoko on November 9, 1966.  So it’s fitting that such a big release takes place on this date.

The Beatles on Ed SullivanEven though I was born long after the Beatles broke up, I’ve been a Beatles fan for longer than I can remember.  I think it started when my parents used to sing “All Together Now” to me when I was an infant.  Growing up, my room was covered in Beatles posters.  My first celebrity crush was Paul McCartney (the early 1960s version, not the guy who was in his 50s when I was a teenager).  I had parties with a Beatles theme.  My first dance with my husband at our wedding was to a Beatles song.  Ever since I was young and still to this day, precious brain space is taken up by random Beatles facts and song lyrics.

So yeah, you could say I’m a big Beatles fan.

DeauvilleI’m celebrating 9/09/09 by checking out the Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach.  Never heard of it?  If you’re a Beatles fan, chances are you’ve seen it on TV.

In a performance that has become part of Rock and Roll history, the Beatles made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York City on February 9, 1964.  Lesser known is the Beatles’ second appearance on the show a week later on February 16th.  This performance was broadcast live via satellite from the Napoleon Ballroom at the Deauville Beach Resort.  In front of their Florida fans, the Beatles performed “She Loves You,” “This Boy,” “All My Loving,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” “From Me To You,” “Til There Was You,” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”

The Fab Four spent a week at the Deauville, enjoying Miami’s sun and surf.

Deauville lobbyIn 1964 the Deauville was a popular hangout spot for stars like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.  Today the Deauville remains a full-service hotel but it is a bit off the beaten path for Miami Beach tourists.  At 67th Street and Collins Avenue it’s far away from the excitement of South Beach, and more than 20 blocks north of the recently renovated Deauville elevatorFontainebleau Resort.

I visited the Deauville to imagine what it was like when Beatlemania swept through.  It wasn’t too hard — much of the hotel looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 1960s.  Stepping into the lobby is like stepping back in time.  From the floor to the chandeliers, to the “this car up” sign that lights up when the elevator arrives, everything is reminiscent of another era.  Though the lobby was empty when I was there, I could picture it packed with screaming fans.

Deauville pool deckDeauville poolOutside, the pool deck has the charm of a decade long gone.  Looking out it’s easy to imagine John, Paul, George and Ringo splashing around in their “Help!” style swim trunks.  And sure enough, the Napoleon Ballroom is still there, up a few steps from the lobby.

It was neat to look at the beach and imagine what the Beatles thought about their first visit to Miami.  It certainly must have been an exciting trip for the four lads from Liverpool, who had just flown in from chilly New York City.

Though many years have gone by and popular music has changed, it’s nice to find a bit of Beatles history right here in Miami.