By Whitney Wilson Coy
The Beatles may be gone, but their legacy lives on through their music and fans like Marty Laney.
Laney, a Pickerington resident, has amassed a collection of Beatles memorabilia worthy of museums and that collection will be on display at Groveport Town Hall throughout the month of May, in an exhibit called “Beatlemania.”
Though he was only 8-years-old at the time, he still remembers The Beatles’ great rise to fame in the United States 50 years ago.
“I still remember seeing the Beatles on TV,” said Laney.
Laney has been a music-lover all his life, a quality he attributes to his parents.
“They were big music fans,” Laney said, adding his parents took him to concerts from a young age. “I got to see Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard. Rock music wasn’t really around yet, so I didn’t see that, but I saw some great shows.”
As The Beatles continued to rise in popularity, Laney began to collect their memorabilia. Those items, such as the Paul McCartney and John Lennon figurines he loves, now serve as the centerpieces of his collection. Some of his other favorite pieces include 14 posters and a copy of the photo that serves as the album cover for “Sgt. Pepper.”
Another of Laney’s favorites is a photo signed by all four members of The Beatles and Ed Sullivan.
“I have a friend in California who is also a collector, and I traded him (several items) for it,” Laney said.
Though he still searches for new items to add to his collection, he says the bulk of it are things he bought new and has saved.
Laney’s music collection doesn’t stop with The Beatles.
“I have a lot of things from a lot of bands. I have a lot of Led Zeppelin, too,” he said. “I like to call my basement the south wing of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.”
The Beatles collection has a special place in his heart, though.
“They’re the band that changed the world, and rock music,” he said.
Laney combined his career as a photographer and love for music for several years as a concert photographer.
“I’ve been to hundreds of shows in Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati,” he said. “I had some great seats. People let you up pretty close when you have a camera.”
This isn’t the first display Laney has hosted at Town Hall. In the past, he’s loaned his scenic photography, as well as some of his rock concert images, to other exhibits.
Groveport Community Affairs Director Linda Haley is excited about the exhibit. It comes at an important time for Town Hall, which is set to re-open in May after being closed for several months to repair water damage sustained over the winter.
“I can’t think of a better way to re-open Town Hall than with this exhibit,” said Haley. “Marty’s exhibits are always amazing. I’m positive that this will be one of the best.”
Haley said Laney has an eclectic collection, one that is sure to have something for everyone.
“Beatlemania” opens at Groveport Town Hall, 648 Main St., on May 2 and will run through May 30. Town Hall hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For information, call 614-836-3333.