Beatlemania (Finally) Reaches Cuba

Daily Mail: Their songs are as famous now as they were 45 years ago.

But while Beatles fans may have flocked to the Cavern Club in Liverpool, crossed the zebra crossing outside Abbey Road and played every album hundreds of times, one country missed out on the fun.

Now, though, Cuba is catching up, albeit a little bit late. In the capital city Havana, a new club has opened, named the Yellow Submarine ('Submarino Amarillo'), to celebrate everything to do with the band.

Such an act during the band's heyday may have led to countless arrests as dictator Fidel Castro cracked down on anything English, claiming it was therefore American. The Beatles look and music did not sit well with the authorities and countless people recall stories of snatching a listen to whatever songs they could lay their hands on.

But with the opening of the Yellow Submarine, fans have a chance to listen to their favorite songs being played live.

Last weekend, queues formed outside the club to hear the house band play hits including Dear Prudence and Let It Be. And as the music plays, there are guitars and Beatles lyrics on the walls of the bright yellow and blue interior.

There were also mass sing-along’s during the biggest hits as fans of all ages turned up at the door - with some experiencing something they missed out on their youth. One fan told local newspaper the Havana Journal: 'You don’t understand. This music, it used to be banned.'

Despite the fan's happiness at the venue's opening, it does still have elements of the dictatorship hanging over it. The club is owned by the Cultural Ministry, who charge $2.50 for entry, while all the images of John, Paul, Ringo and George are used without official licensing.

The bar staff also have to wear black vests.

The government was partly behind the project as they try to reopen closed spaces and broaden the city's nightlife.


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