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Rome Fest Celebrates Beatlemania

October 5, 2002

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ROME (AP) _ Beatlemania is again sweeping the Italian capital, with a 17-day ``Fab Four″ festival starting Saturday, including cover bands blaring the group’s songs around Rome from trucks, theatrical productions and even new mobile-phone rings.

City officials, led by Mayor Walter Veltroni, have organized the tribute to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the band’s first single, ``Love Me Do,″ which made the Top 20 in Britain in October 1962.

``The Beatles were the symbol of their era, but their music and their success transcends their time to arrive at ours,″ organizers said in a statement. ``The cultural objective of the project is to demonstrate the radical change of mentality and customs begun in the first years of the ’60s and the developments of this revolution up to the present day.″

Radio stations have promised to spin ``Love Me Do.″ Beatles cover bands will play old favorites in city squares, then will perform on the back of two trucks traveling around Rome. Three plays have been organized, including one in which Italian actors will sing Beatles’ songs.

Many events will take place in the hip Trastevere neighborhood, with documentaries and films such as ``Yellow Submarine″ screened at the area’s Museo di Roma. This museum will also show three exhibitions of photos and art of the band.

On Oct. 20, ’60s pop star Donovan will perform at Rome’s newly built Auditorium.

And for those preferring a more modern take on nostalgia, a mobile phone company has agreed to offer customers new rings: ``Love Me Do,″ ``Yellow Submarine″ and ``Hey Jude.″

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