San Diego Beatles Fair to celebrate all things ‘Fab’

Saturday’s 2017 San Diego Beatles Fair comes 53 years and 45 days after The Beatles first performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

An audience of 73 million tuned in to watch that telecast on Feb. 9, 1964. The impact of the four-man band from Liverpool was profound for several generations of musicians and fans alike.

How profound? These quotes from various Union-Tribune interviews help tell the story.

“That one performance changed my life,” Billy Joel recalled.

“I was like every kid in America: I sat there, mesmerized, and it was life-changing,” said former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

“I’m amazed at The Beatles’ ingenuity and willingness to experiment with different instruments and music,” Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello said.

“There was nothing like them, before or since,” agreed John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants.

“A blueprint for me was The Beatles,” Sting said.

2017 San Diego Beatles Fair

When: Noon to 11 p.m. Saturday

Where: Queen Bee’s Art & Cultural Center, 3925 Ohio St., North Park

Tickets: $10-$25

Phone: 619.255.5147


“They turned me on to music,” Ozzy Osbourne concurred. “Hearing The Beatles is what made me want to do what I do.”

“They created an excitement that made music magic,” Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry marveled. “And then they took it beyond that.”

To be held at Queen Bee’s Art & Cultural Center in North Park, this year’s edition of the San Diego Beatles Fair - the 15th since 1995 - is set to be the biggest yet.

More than three dozen bands and solo artists are scheduled to perform on four stages, three indoor and one on the street in front of Queen Bee’s.

The lineup includes such area favorites as Dave Humphries, True Stories and The Baja Bugs, whose bassist - Hector Penalosa - co-founded pioneering San Diego punk band The Zeroes back in the 1970s. Flying in from Liverpool to perform are Barry Sutton of The La’s and singer-songwriter Cal Ruddy.

Two of the biggest musical draws this year will likely be Billy J. Kramer and former Billy Joel band drummer Liberty DeVito.

Now 73, Kramer (born: William Howard Ashton) grew up in Liverpool. He had the same manager, Brian Epstein, and producer, George Martin, as The Beatles, and toured with them in 1963 as the leader of his band, The Dakotas.

More significantly, Kramer was the lucky recipient of a slew of songs - written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney - that fueled his career. They include “I Call Your Name,” “Bad To Me,” “I’ll Be On My Way,” “From a Window,” “I’ll Keep You Satisfied” and “Do You Want to Know a Secret?”

Kramer’s most recent album, “I Won the Fight,” came out in 2013. His autobiography - “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” - was published in 2016. Intriguingly, at least to jazz fans, he co-wrote it with Alyn Shipton, the author of well-regarded biographies of bebop trumpet great Dizzy Gillespie and big band legend Cab Calloway.

Kramer isn’t the only musician/author appearing Saturday. The schedule includes a talk by John Borack, whose books include “John Lennon - Life is What Happens: Music, Memories, and Memorabilia” and “Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide.” Borak’s latest, “The Beatles: 100 Pivotal Moments That Shaped A Band and Its Music,” will be published in July.

Twitter @georgevarga