Author: Margot Winick

The Windy City is just now getting over its recent visit of a few thousand Beatles fans who happily dropped some Beatle Bucks in the marketplace and visited with fellow fans and members of The Beatle Brunch Club!

BBC members, yours truly, along with (front row l to R) Jennifer Sandi, Kathleen Leaf, Carol Ghesquire, Judy Blackwell, (back row) Ed Hartnett with his wife Paula off-camera holding his wallet, then Margot Winick with Tim Stout far right back. The gang reunited at the Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans (formerly known as Beatlefest) to enjoy the offerings of the annual event celebrating the music of The Greatest Band in Rock History: The Beatles! It was the first time in 4 years they were able to get together in person as previous Fests were made remote-only do to Covid..

The keynote speaker was George’s first wife Pattie Boyd Harrison, promoting her book “My Life in Pictures.” Musical guests included a few Lads from Liverpool: Billy J. Kramer, Joey Molland of Badfinger, and Terry Sylvester from The Hollies, while a  mainstay of the Fest were The Weeklings and Liverpool, the house band for the Fest, who rocked fans each of the three days with rousing sets of Beatles hits.

The Beatle Brunch Club’s Tom Frangione, also a host on The Beatles Channel on SiriusXM hosted a “Name that Tune”contest and also gave a showing of his recent interview with Paul McCartney revisiting the “Tug of War” album. Tom worked with Natalie Palumbo to add historical photos and animations to this excellent radio special.

Among the panel discussions was Fab Four Generations of Beatles Fans, which included The Beatle Brunch Club and The Beatles Channels Caitlin Larkin, Kit O’Toole, Skylar Moody, and moderator Susan Ratisher Ryan, among others, discussing how they first discovered The Beatles and on what medium. Since Apple is releasing the final new Beatles song any minute now, the group discussed how it would impact Beatlemania on various platforms.

Fest guest Jay Bergen (above) spoke about his book “Lennon, The Mobster & The Lawyer”, the saga of a court case in which Bergen represented John Lennon suing over the rights to his own recordings. Scholar & author Ken Womack teased his forthcoming two-volume book and accompanying documentary on Beatles manager Mal Evans.

Ringo Starr’s drum gear curator and archivist Gary Astridge brought the 8 and a half foot-tall Peace & Love sculpture, which became the backdrop for a zillion selfies during the events, including members of The Beatle Brunch Club.  All Starr Ba drummer Gregg Bissonette gave a drum clinic and joined Liverpool on stage.

For the BBC group, highlights included Kathleen Leaf singing karaoke on “I’m Happy Just to Dance With You” with Drew Hill of the Weeklings. She has been a fan of Drew’s for years and has watched him play on FB Live and interacted with him online.

AND Jennifer Sandi getting to talk to talk to Pattie Boyd. seen here with BBC member Judy Blackwell meeting her for an autograph on her first book in 2007, and recounting The Beatles Tribute Cruise with Billy J. Kramer and Joey Molland. One of her favorite memories was talking with Robert Bartel, (below) the man who saved Louise Harrison’s house in Benton, Ill., where George had stayed months before The Beatles came to America.”

Carol Ghesquiere won a box of British Cadbury cookies from author Jude Sutherland Kessler after answering a trivia question, while Ed Hartnett also won a prize of Beatles related items from a contest that Kessler ran. All in all, our BBC members had fun in person and didn’t miss a beat, joining the weekly Sunday morning chat with lots to talk about like Peace & Love.


Listen to Joe Johnson’s Beatle Brunch for more details and join The Beatle Brunch Club to hear Beatle Brunch programs on-demand.

Joe Johnson’s Beatle Brunch supports the getting together of Beatle fans, whether in Chicago, New Jersey, Charlotte, Jeffersonville, IN and London / Liverpool. Listen to Beatle Brunch, a nationally syndicated radio program featuring The Beatles. Beatle Brunch began on the radio in 1992, broadcasting on five radio stations. Today The Brunch can be heard on more than 100 radio stations across the country PLUS on demand in The Beatle Brunch Club. As a member of The BBC, you’ll have full access to NEW programs each week containing bonus tracks not broadcast and expanded segments, plus click on the Old Brown Shows tab and access classic Beatle Brunch programs, and promotional radio shows like a new 50th anniversary radio special on Aerosmith. Join the club!