A wave of guitars has been unveiled on the banks of the Mersey to mark 50 years of Merseybeat music, a sound made famous by The Beatles.
100 donated guitars were hung at the Beatles Story to symbolise a wave of music by Liverpool artist and musician, Bill Hart, in the impressive Mersey Ferry terminal building, which is also home to the Beatles Story.
McCartney’s iconic Hoffner base guitar, which he used for much of his Beatles career, stood impressively at the centre of the guitar collection, with the River Mersey as a fitting back drop.
Hart said: “Guitars have been donated from all over the world as well as by a number of local artists and school children who have played a big part in getting this off the ground.
“It’s been a very hard year, but what a journey it’s been too. It turned into a real community achievement, and I’ve made some amazing friends on the way to the Soundwave’s destination.”
The art installation is the product of a year of “following a dream”, building interest and finding a way to mark the half-century since the sound was born.
The Merseybeat was seen as England’s answer to 1950s Amercian music, but played with more energy and intensity. Other guitars of note
included in the wave was a white Fender played by Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys and another used by Status Quo. The value of these guitars mean they’re on short-term loan from their home, The Cavern.
It wasn’t just about using other people’s pride and joys though. Bill included his prized, limited edition Fender Telecaster, which he bought to celebrate his 50th birthday.
Guitar donations were made from a host of Liverpool musicians, school children and even actor-turned-politician Ricky Tomlinson, who donated one of his beloved banjos.
Ken Shalliker played with Merseybeat band The Kingsize Taylor and the Dominos, who some say created the famous Merseyside sound. He designed and built a mandolin for the exhibition.
Ken said: “I remember playing all those years ago, especially before The Beatles took off… we’d be playing every night around the city. A lot of people think The Beatles created the Merseybeat, but in actual fact it was the other way around.
“I was already making the mandolin when I heard about the Wave. It already looked a little bit like a wave so I thought this has to be the sound wave mandolin, so I phoned Bill up and got involved… I want it back though, eventually,” jokes Ken.
Hart says that all that is left to do is wait for a reaction to his dream before deciding where the wave will break next. Entry is free and will be in the Mersey Ferry Terminal building until 7 May, 2010.