A Virtual Tour of Every Place Referenced in The Beatles’ Lyrics: In 12 Minutes, Travel 25,000 Miles Across England, France, Russia, India & the US

Ach, the won­ders and the blun­ders of the Inter­net. The won­der: Van­i­ty Fair–lovely mag­a­zine, a bit too many sto­ries about the roy­als and bil­lion­aires though–has the bud­get and the where­with­al to com­mis­sion this video. It’s a 12 minute ride around the world using Google Maps, touch­ing down to show loca­tions men­tioned in the Bea­t­les lyrics, from Liv­er­pool to the Black Moun­tain Hills of Dako­ta to Moscow, where the bal­alaikas are always ring­ing out. The blun­der: it’s laced with inac­cu­ra­cies and guess­es about the most over­doc­u­ment­ed group of all time.

Is it worth your time? For the Bea­t­les know-it-all or the casu­al lis­ten­er, the answer is yes.
The video begins unsur­pris­ing­ly in Liv­er­pool with a tour of Pen­ny Lane, Straw­ber­ry Field, and the child­hood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCart­ney. There’s a brief vis­it to the Cav­ern night­club where they grew their local fan­base, and down the Mersey to sug­gest that the “cast iron shore” in “Glass Onion” is refer­ring to this iron ore clogged water­way. (Per­haps, but not def­i­nite that one.)

We go up to Scot­land (the Kirkaldy men­tioned in “Cry Baby Cry”) down to Lon­don for all kinds of loca­tions, num­ber one being Abbey Road stu­dios, and south to the “Dock at Southamp­ton” although the video points out that you can’t get to “Hol­land or France” as in “The Bal­lad of John & Yoko.” (That would be Dover.)

There are stops in India, where we get to tour the remains of the ashram in Rishikesh, now lov­ing­ly adorned with all sorts of Bea­t­les fan art, and over to Amer­i­ca to the Bel Air home at the top of “Blue Jay Way.”

All in all, the total miles on this Mag­i­cal Mys­tery Tour add up to 25,510, and all using Google tech. Not bad.

But a scroll through the YouTube com­ments reveals how much the video gets wrong. The bar­ber­shop men­tioned in “Pen­ny Lane” is the wrong one, and Paul just recent­ly vis­it­ed it in his endear­ing “Car Pool Karaoke” seg­ment with James Cor­den. And while there is indeed a Bish­ops­gate in Lon­don, that isn’t the one men­tioned in “Being for the Ben­e­fit of Mr. Kite.” That one lies to the north of Liv­er­pool. The rooftop where the Bea­t­les played their last gig is wrong (the map shows the cur­rent loca­tion of Apple Records, not the build­ing at 3 Sav­ille Row, where it hap­pened). And what, no tour of George Har­ri­son or Ringo Starr’s child­hood home? I mean, you guys were in the neigh­bor­hood, you could have popped ‘round.

Ah well, as we said, it’s a bit of both good and bad this video. If any­thing, it’ll make you want to give those clas­sic songs yet anoth­er spin.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Did Lennon or McCart­ney Write the Bea­t­les 1965 Song “In My Life”? A Math Pro­fes­sor, Using Sta­tis­tics, Solves the Decades-Old Mys­tery

The Bea­t­les as Teens (1957)

Watch HD Ver­sions of The Bea­t­les’ Pio­neer­ing Music Videos: “Hey Jude,” “Pen­ny Lane,” “Rev­o­lu­tion” & More

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

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