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Live from Havana's John Lennon park, Cubans keep Beatlemania alive

Friday, June 02, 2017 - 01:06

Cuba celebrates the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper' album. Rough cut (no reporter narration)

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ROUGH CUT. NO REPORTER NARRATION. Cubans geared up for a rare Beatles tribute concert in the capital's John Lennon Park on Thursday (June 1), celebrating the 50th anniversary of the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the permission to listen to the music on the island where it was once banned in the name of, conveniently, enough the "revolution." Among those preparing for the gig, involving seven national groups, was Aleyda Rodriguez, whose unique job is to look after John Lennon's glasses, or rather those of the popular statue in the central square. Rodriguez takes pride in the job, employed she says as an older person with greater responsibility, and works 11 to 12 hour days before taking the glasses home. After the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power, Cuba banned music from artists such as the Stones, the Beatles and Elvis Presley on the radio and television. It has also been said he intended to prevent the arrival of drugs and hippie culture to the island. He later regretted the censorship of music and attended the unveiling of Lennon's statue in Havana on the 20th anniversary of his death on December 8, 2000. The tribute to The Boys of Liverpool was organised by musician and composer X Alfonso, critic Guille Vilar and the Ministry of Culture. Other groups taking part are Coro Renacer, La Vieja Escuela, The Kent, Sweet Lissy Project and the project La Flota. Released on June 1, 1967, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is The Beatles' eighth album, which won four Grammy Awards in 1968.

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Live from Havana's John Lennon park, Cubans keep Beatlemania alive

Friday, June 02, 2017 - 01:06