‘It’s good for the soul’: New Salem library hosting Beatles multimedia program

  • Fran Hart will present his multimedia event “A Cultural and Historical Reflection of the 1960s Through the Music of The Beatles” at the New Salem Public Library on Tuesday, Aug. 16, at 6:30 p.m. COURTESY OF FRANHART.COM

  • The New Salem Public Library will host Beatles expert Fran Hart in its Community Room at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 16. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer
Published: 8/7/2022 4:04:49 PM
Modified: 8/7/2022 4:01:32 PM

NEW SALEM — A record-breaking 73 million people tuned in to watch “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Feb. 9, 1964, and saw The Beatles introduce the United States to moptop haircuts and Cuban-heeled boots. One of those Americans was 8-year-old Fran Hart, who that night began a lifelong fascination with the four Liverpool lads and has crafted a multimedia program highlighting their influence on world culture.

Hart received a grant from the New Salem Cultural Council to present “A Cultural and Historical Reflection of the 1960s Through the Music of The Beatles” at the New Salem Public Library on Tuesday, Aug. 16, starting at 6:30 p.m. The hour-long presentation will feature live acoustic music and audience sing-alongs, coupled with audio and video clips of the band.

“I kind of walk people through a little bit of the history of The Beatles and also remind them of what was taking place in the early ’60s, in the time leading up to The Beatles,” Hart said. He said important context is carried in the era’s political climate, the Cold War and the fact that “people telling us to live in harmony and peace,” notably John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “were getting killed.”

The presentation, which is family-friendly and is suitable for all ages, opens with “All My Loving” — the first song The Beatles played on “The Ed Sullivan Show” that historic night. It is also the song said to have been playing on Roosevelt Hospital’s sound system on Dec. 8, 1980, when John Lennon was pronounced dead after being shot by Mark David Chapman.

The multimedia program transports guests back in time to get a brief overview of the band’s beginnings, noting the major milestones during the group’s formation. Hart explores the importance of the famous 1964 performance and sings all the songs played that evening, as well as other notable Beatles tunes.

“We’re just going to have some fun,” he said. “It’s good for the soul.”

Hart said he started crafting his presentation in 2018 and it took him about six months to complete it.

Linda Chatfield, a New Salem Public Library staff member, said she booked Hart after he contacted her to say he had received a Cultural Council grant.

“I figured, what the heck,” she said. “I’m sure there’s some people who would be interested in it.”

Chatfield said the event will be held in the library’s Community Room.

Hart, a former Burlington Police officer of 30 years, said he fell in love with The Beatles “the same night everybody did.” He recalls classmates talking about the upcoming performance and then watching it in his parents’ Somerville home shortly before he turned 9. His mother was “basically mortified — that they looked dirty and their hair was too long.”

Hart is also a member of 4EverFab, a Beatles tribute band, alongside Bob Hinsman, Kevin Dooley and Phil Donovan. Hart said he and his bandmates do not dress like the famous blokes from a working-class dock city, but play entire shows by audience request. He said the quartet’s most-requested song is “Yellow Submarine.”

“We try to bring real authenticity to the music,” Hart said. “We try to be as authentic as we can be.”

More information about Hart and 4EverFab can be found at franhart.com and 4everfab.net.

Reach Domenic Poli at:
dpoli@recorder.com or
413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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