- Associated Press - Monday, January 16, 2017

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - The Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County is rocking in the new year with a set list of events featuring The Beatles.

The Fab Four made a splash heard round the world in the 1960s, and their music has lived on in the decades since.

“You always know about them, but you don’t always think about them,” said Sean Farrell, director at Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County.

The library’s programs will offer Pine Belt residents the opportunity to get to know The Beatles a little better. Their music played a major role in the shaping of popular music in the second half of the 20th century and continues to have an influence on today’s music.

The Beatlemania seed was planted last summer when noted Beatles music scholar Aaron Krerowicz contacted Farrell to offer one of his programs because he would be in Louisiana this month.

Farrell took him up on his offer and thought why not create a series of events around The Beatles.

“The Beatles are amazing, interesting and fun, so let’s do them up big,” he said.

Farrell applied for and received a $2,000 Mississippi Humanities Council grant to help fund the Beatlemania program, and things began to take shape.

He recruited Southern Miss history professor Rebecca Tuuri to talk about the social impact of the band because Krerowicz will be talking about the music.

In addition to the professors’ presentations, a book was chosen for reading and discussing. Copies of Philip Norman’s “Shout! The Beatles in their Generation” are available at the library. There will be two book discussions on Jan. 19. Participants don’t have to have read the book to join in the conversation.

“Most of the reviewers say a lot of the books about The Beatles assume an existing knowledge base. This is the best introductory book that covers them really well,” Farrell said.

The library also will show The Beatles’ first movie, “A Hard Day’s Night,” on Jan. 26, and there is an exhibit of most of The Beatles’ U.S. album releases in the library galleries.

Farrell decided to reach out to T-Bones Records and Cafe to host a couple events because it could feature the music and reach people who don’t normally go to the library. Krerowicz’s talk will be held there Jan. 25, and there will be a lunchtime music listening event on Jan. 27.

“Whether someone’s a Beatles fan or not, the contribution made by them to music on so many levels, it altered the course of music,” said Harry Crumpler III, T-Bones’ owner. “They really were there at the perfect time, and it was the perfect storm.”

T-Bones has worked with the library on previous events and had hosted the library’s former rock ‘n’ roll book club. Crumpler said he is looking forward to partnering with the library again.

“There are a lot of similarities between record stores and libraries- we both house historical data,” Crumpler said. “Ours just happens to be with records - they’re snapshots of time through sound.”

Mahogany Bar and T-Bones staff spin vinyl records every Tuesday night and plan to play only Beatles on Jan. 24.

Mahogany Bar owner Robert St. John is a huge Beatles fan.

“It’s the first music I can remember,” St. John said. “The Beatles were so big that every time an album was released it was a big event.

“There hasn’t been anything like that since - not even close. You can just look at what they did in the music world and their influence on everybody that came since then.”

Kicking off Beatlemania festivities will be a showing of Ron Howard’s “The Beatles, Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years 1962-1966,” which will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday at the Saenger Theater.

The 2016 documentary, presented by VisitHattiesburg and the library, highlights the rise of the Beatlemania phenomenon and The Beatles’ career from their first tour in Liverpool, England, to their final performance in San Francisco in 1966.

The film is a compilation of footage featuring music, interviews, and stories of the band’s 250 concerts between 1962 and 1966.

In addition to the showing, Beatles fans will have the opportunity to see a 30-minute exclusive, theater showing of the band’s 11-song concert at Shea Stadium in 1965 with digitally remastered sound and restored 4K picture, Hattiesburg Tourism and Convention Commissions officials said in a news release.

“We are excited to offer a deeper dive into their music and work with the library to highlight community events like these for guests of all ages,” said Rick Taylor, executive director of Hattiesburg Tourism and Convention Commissions. “The Beatles’ music crosses multiple generations, and we believe people will react positively to this exclusive showing.”

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Information from: The Hattiesburg American, https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com

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