On the drive from Nashville to Eureka Springs, somewhere just over the Missouri boot heel lies Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. After miles of empty plains and town populations in the low triple digits, we cross a railroad track with a small airfield on the right and the seemings of a quiet old frontier town. As we travel down main street the bright yellow and vibrant blues of what appears to be the cut-out of a yellow submarine and four Beatles flashes like a dream, an immaculate acid flashback.
This small town’s intersection dubbed Abbey Road is an ode to The Beatles – and runs from the main artery of Walnut Ridge to the end of the street where the buildings meet open land — and at the end of Abbey Road, there is a permanent art installation which captures the fab four walking across it like, as they do on the album cover by the same name on a street by the same name in London.
Named after the Dakota (the building, not the state) and having grown up listening to Beatles cassettes, introduced to it by my mother who is featured on IMAGINE and SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS, you might imagine my shock and joy and utter mystification.
In 1964 The Beatles connected through Walnut Ridge’s airport to head to another city to play a show and connected back through the airport that same weekend to head to another city, never to play in Walnut Ridge. So, in conclusion, Beatlemania touched Walnut Ridge so deeply that peace, love and strawberry fields decorate it today, just by having ostensibly making a connecting flight. Paul and Ringo, if you’re listening, maybe it’s time to finally give that concert to Walnut Ridge.