A grand opening of “The Beatles Bench” sculptural composition took place on Koktobe the highest top of Almaty in May the 15th 2007. This is the first Sculpture in the world with all the members of Fab Four full length.
The great Beatles admirers took ten years to bring this outstanding event to pass. The idea of the sculpture execution in Almaty pulled together a group of enthusiasts – beatlemaniacs, and without delay they started moving toward their high- minded dream achievement. And what seemed to be impossible even five years ago now has come to pass. It was these beatlemaniacs, mastermind of this project who were glad the most when it all was accomplished.
So, at the new millennium threshold, in its very beginning, two cult Fab Four band admirers, whom in those 70-80th «yellow submarine» and «all you need is love» sank into heart, got an idea to set up the John Lennon’s monument in Almaty.
Rinat Shayahmetov and Arsen Bayanov are these very admirers who stood at the origins of this grand project. In October 2002 Rinat became a witness of John Lennon’s 60th birthday celebration in New- York, where he visited John Lennon and The Beatles memorial places.
“Almost all October was dedicated to The Beatles. The 60th birthday of this great musician in New- York traditionally was celebrated at Strawberry Fields in The Central Park. There you could see the old hippies, young people and people of older age. It was difficult to imagine that John would turn 60 that day. As in our hearts he would always stay a young rebel. Many people came with guitars, trombones, drums and other musical instruments.
I took out a candle and put it on behalf of all beatlemaniacs of Almaty next to the photos and postcards. There was a sign on the biggest one: “Happy Birthday Dear John! We will never forget you. Your sincere fans from the Former Soviet Union”. That is when I first thought to create the John’s memorial, where all sincere Almaty fans could gather together”.
In the same 2002 Arsen Bayanov, a journalist and a prose writer from Almaty, former drummer of the famous “Dos Mukasan” band, wrote to the “Arguments and facts” newspaper: “And though we haven’t got such holy places where Lennon’s, McCartney’s, Harrison’s and Ringo Starr’s foot would thread, however many places in Almaty are saturated with their spirit. Why don’t we give one of them a name after this Fab Four?”
In 2003 Bayanov and Shayahmetov made an initiative group that consisted of people that were consumed with a desire and believed that this monument definitely should be executed. Galina Galkina, Struan Stevenson, Sulushash and Kamilla Magzievyi – these are one of those people who have been supporting this memorial Beatles Bench project for two years.
Without any doubts an initiative group members were facing definite difficulties on the way to their dream, but despite everything by the year 2005 the project entered the final straight.
Non commercial charitable Seimar Social Fund obtained an official permission for the monument building from Frank Roderick the mere of Liverpool, from Apple Corp, the Beatles brand right holders, from cult musicians - Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and also from John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono and George Harrison’s relatives.
European Parlament member Struan Stevenson and Rinat Shayahmetov are those who helped to obtain official permission. And also Seimar Social Fund allocated a grant to organize the Beatles bench monument execution competition among sculptors and architects of Kazakhstan.
Eduard Kazaryan a famous Kazakhstan sculptor won this contest.
And so two years later a bronze bench with John Lennon sitting on it and Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison standing behind appeared in a picturesque park at the Kok-tobe mountain. For the first time in history all the members of the band executed in bronze here in Almaty.
“One day (the Beatles band first drummer) teenager Stuart Sutcliffe said to his friend Paul: “one day planets will be given your names”. And now 25 years later International Astronomical Union confirmed the following names “McCartney”, “Lennon”, “ Harrison” and “Starr” after small asteroids 4147, 4148, 4149 и 4150. Where ever we are these four space bodies always circle above us. And they will circle above our great grandchildren and grand grand – grandchildren as well.
The boldest dreams may come to pass if they are followed by creativity, constant search and persistence. As it happened to the Beatles triumph march on the planet. And it happened to Almaty beatlemaniacs, when their dream to create in their home town a sculpture commemorating their idols, have come to pass. Now “the Beatles bench” became one of the most popular places of the city.
And Almaty is on the list of the few cities where the John Lennon’s monuments exist.
A monument commemorated to the Beatles is located in Liverpool, at the John Lennon’s airport, the second monument is also located in Liverpool near to the Cavern club. A monument to the Fab four member stands in Havana. Five tones John Lennon made of bronze rises above revolutionary Cuba. And now The bronze Beatles – idols of generations, soar over Almaty and when twilight draws near, a great city put on the light, city that is forever in love with their songs.
Photos courtesy of Rinat Shayahmetov