Before the restaurant GRAY’s on Main opened its doors in 2013, the circa-1876 building sat vacant for almost a decade. During that interim, the owner rented out the space for a three-day event that brought a taste of The Beatles to Franklin.

On April 29, 2011, an article in The Tennessean announced an exhibit titled Come Together-The Artwork of John Lennon was open in the former Gray Drug building in Franklin. Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono created the traveling show, which contained close to 100 of his drawings, lithographs, serigraphs, and handwritten lyrics. The pieces spanned from the height of Beatlemania to Lennon’s murder in 1980.

Yoko told The Tennessean that the artwork had messages of peace and love. “I think they’re going to be surprised that he had an incredible warmth expressed in his artwork. But at the same time, passion and complexity in his music. They’ll see that they are very similar.”

However, the exhibit wasn’t without controversy. Detractors called the art show a fraud, saying that Yoko and her associates had colorized and/or altered certain pieces of Lennon’s work. “The dead don’t create artwork” was their catchphrase.

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