Friday, February 08, 2008

What do the Beatles have to do with collecting signs?

Back in December, I got an email from a chap called Alex over in the UK. Alex is the producer of a radio program and wanted to know if I'd be interested in doing an interview for the show. We set up a date and they called on a Sunday afternoon (I knew it was them thanks to the crazy, un-American-like phone number on my caller ID), and I chatted with Nick, the show's host, for a good 15 minutes.

We rapped about the usual -- how the collection got started; how many signs I have in the collection; which is my favorite, etc...

But I was just as excited when the conversation turned to the Beatles. Over in the UK, the "Penny Lane" street sign is one of the most sought after by sign thieves, according to Nick. (For those who are not Beatles fans, Penny Lane is a steet where Paul McCartney and John Lennon would meet to catch the bus to the city; they wrote a song "Penny Lane" that was released on the 1967 Sgt. Pepper album.) He wanted to know if there are any signs here in the U.S. that have the same appeal. What is the most coveted sign in the States, he asked.

People over here usually want street signs with their names on it, I explained, or signs that can have a double, mind-in-the-gutter meaning (like High Street or the I-69 shield). But I did bring up that I had read about the Abbey Road sign as being stolen many, many times... so many times that the blokes who run the street department in Westminster finally posted the sign high enough out of reach in order to deter the thieves. (Another Beatles connection, as the group's 1969 album was named for the street/studio.)

Talking about signs and the Beatles on a Sunday afternoon. It doesn't get much better than that.

See the Wikipedia entry about Penny Lane »

1 comment:

Don Montgomery said...

"Penny Lane" was recorded just before the Sgt.Pepper sessions, but was not released on the album. It was released as a double-A side with "Strawberry Fields Forever", and became the first Beatles single to not make it to #1 since their debut single, "Love Me Do".

(My crazy hobby is Beatles music.)