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Beatlemania - in the form of "1964 The Tribute" - returns to Tulsa

Spencer Cox / Red Dirt Report
The instruments played by Beatles tribute band 1964 The Tribute.
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TULSA, Okla. -- Every summer, for the past 32 years, Tulsans have been getting a glimpse of Beatlemania - and by Beatlemania I mean the touring act that Rolling Stone called the greatest Beatles tribute on earth - 1964 The Tribute.

There are plenty of Beatle tribute acts out there, but 1964 The Tribute is unique in the way they focus on The Beatles touring years between 1964 to 1966. This is the period when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, wearing their black suits and ties and iconic Beatle boots. This period, you may recall, is also known as pre–Sgt. Pepper era.

The band came out and right away teleported the audience back in time while they started performing ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand,” looking around I could see Baby Boomers with tears in their eyes as they watched their youth come back, some even danced and screamed out things like “Paul! Marry me!!”

I sincerely believe some audience members tried their best to suspend belief - momentarily - and imagine that The Fab Four was actually in front of them.

The band sounds almost identical to The Beatles while walking around backstage during the show they were playing “She Loves You” and I had to remind myself this was a tribute act and not someone playing a Beatles record over the sound system.

Red Dirt Report had the opportunity to speak with founding 1964 The Tribute member Mark Benson who plays (and looks a bit like) John Lennon after the show. He seemed surprised at how successful and popular their tribute has become over the past three decades since forming.

Mac Ruffing (Paul) and Mark Benson (John) with Bobby Potter filling in as Ringo Starr. (Spencer Cox / Red Dirt Report)

“We never expected this to be full time, we expected to do two or three shows maybe a month, and that would be it,” Benson said. “And to be playing Carnegie Hall 13 times in New York and Red Rocks 12 years in a row … is incredible. I would have never guessed this would have happened when we started this.”

If you are like me and learned of The Beatles some 40 years after their infamous final, 42-minute live performance on the rooftop of their Apple Corps building at 3 Savile Row in London, 1964 The Tribute will teleport you back to a time that was filled with peace, love, and rock n’roll.

To learn more about this fun group, check out their website here.

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About the Author

Spencer Cox

Spencer Cox is a journalist based in Tulsa, Oklahoma....

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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