Once again, we are honored and humbled to announce that we will have FOUR important pieces of music history on hand this Friday night at Tonic Ball 16 Presented by Eskenazi Health Through the generosity of Indianapolis Colts Owner and CEO, Mr. Jim Irsay, we will have four truly extraordinary pieces of music history, including two Beatles, Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley – each former Tonic Ball feature bands.
Discussing his vast collection of instruments, Irsay told Rolling Stone magazine, “I feel I’m just a curator of history. I’m going to pass this thing on as time goes along.” We certainly appreciate his willingness to pass them our way for one evening.
Come to the Fountain Square Theatre to see:
John Lennon’s 1964 Rickenbacker 325
A replacement for his roadworn “Hamburg” 1958 Rickenbacker, this 1964 Rickenbacker 325 became John Lennon’s primary instrument in December 1964. Unlike the Hamburg 325, which was bought with a rent-to-own scheme, the 1964 was made specifically for Lennon. He played during a series of Christmas-themed shows and at the band’s second Ed Sullivan appearance. Lennon also used it on several recordings and in home demos, and eventually gifted it to Ringo Starr during the recording of the “White Album.” Starr eventually sold it at auction, along with a Marc Bolan’s Les Paul.
George Harrison’s 1964 Gibson SG
George Harrison used this 1964 Gibson SG during the making of the Beatles album Revolver, although it is legendary among musicians for being the guitar George played on the screaming guitar solo on Yellow Submarine’s “Hey Bulldog”. John Lennon also used it extensively during the White Album sessions. Harrison later gave the guitar to Peter Ham of Badfinger, whose family kept it after Ham died in 1974. It was “rediscovered” in 2002.
Bob Dylan’s 1964 Fender Stratocaster
On July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan played the Newport Folk Festival with a performance the writer Elijah Wald described as “the night that split the sixties.” Dylan carried this starburst Fender Stratocaster on stage, plugged in and shocked the crowd of folk fans. Along with Al Cooper and Mike Bloomfield of the Butterfield Blues Band, he played a raucous — and electrified — rendition of “Like A Rolling Stone.” The group played just three electric songs, before leaving the stage to a barrage of boos. The rest, as they say, is history — though Dylan did return to the stage for a few acoustic songs after the electrified set. The guitar fell into the hands of a New Jersey pilot after Dylan left it on a plane later in 1965. It remained in the pilot’s family for decades before going to auction in 2013.
Elvis Presley’s 1975 Martin D-18
Elvis Presley used Martin D-18 acoustic guitars throughout his career, from his original 1936 model, which he bought in 1954, to this 1975 model. Elvis also used several Martin D-28s in his career, and cycled through guitars regularly. While the rotating cast of instruments in the early days was likely due to him trying to find a guitar to match his booming voice – loud and full – in later days, his hard strumming style and bold belt buckles mandated regular re-purchases of even his favorite models. This guitar came to Irsay’s collection complete with its original case, which features 70s tour stickers.