The Beatles now have their very own academic journal
More than 60 years since they released their debut single, The Beatles now have their own academic magazine.
The Journal of Beatles Studies, published by Liverpool University Press, is the first journal to recognize The Beatles as an object of scholarly research.
Articles in the first issue include ‘Beatlemania: On Informative Cascades and Spectacular Success’ and ’80 at 80: Commemorating Paul McCartney’s eightyth birthday’.
The biennial, peer-reviewed journal will publish original, rigorously researched essays and notes, as well as book and media reviews.
The first issue of the magazine has just been published, while the second issue is due sometime in spring 2023
The Journal of Beatles Studies is the first journal to identify the band as an object of academic research
The Journal of Beatles Studies: Vol.1 Articles
– ‘Beatlemania: about informative cascades and spectacular success’
– ’80 on 80: commemorating Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday’
– ‘There are places I remember: (Re)constructions of the Beatles as a heritage object in Liverpool’
– ‘Across the Universe: A Happy, Good Historian: Notes on Lizzie Bravo’s Do Rio a Abbey Road (From Rio to Abbey Road)’
– ‘Streaming through a glass onion: Curation, chronology, control and the Beatles’ legacy’
– ‘Learning and Teaching from the Beatles: Experiences with Liverpool Hope’s MA The Beatles, Popular Music and Society’
The magazine’s editors are Holly Tessler of the University of Liverpool and Paul Long of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
The editors pointed out that a wide variety of scholarly articles on the Beatles have already appeared, linking them to a variety of topics.
These range from math to the computed tomography scanner and a AI powered music composition engine.
But so far they have all been published in different magazines despite having a common theme.
“In addition to conferences, edited collections and research projects of limited duration, Beatles scholars have worked in comparative isolation, forced to publish their findings for non-Beatles specialists and the public,” the editors say in the journal’s introduction.
It’s a situation that begs the question, why isn’t there an area of Beatles studies?
‘Furthermore, what would it look like, who would set the agendas, methods, quality and potential, and who would it speak to?
“This is a scientific gap that the Journal of Beatles Studies is trying to fill.”
The new journal is open access – meaning it’s available online for free without being behind a paywall or needing a subscription.
There is also a limited edition commemorative paper copy, priced at £16 and available through the Liverpool University Press website.
The Beatles pictured in June 1967. Left to right: Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon
Earlier studies on the Beatles
– ‘(A) Data in Life: Attribution of Authorship in Lennon-McCartney Songs’
– “Math, Physics and a Hard Day”
– ‘Do we really have to thank the Beatles for funding the development of the computed tomography scanner?’
– ‘BandNet: a neural network-based, multi-instrument Beatles-style MIDI music composition engine
The first issue of the magazine has just been published, while the second issue is due sometime in the spring.
One of the articles in the first issue, written by Long, commemorates Brazilian Beatles fan Lizzie Bravo, who died in October 2021.
Bravo was hanging out at Abbey Road Studios in London on February 4, 1968 when she was presented with an opportunity that every Beatles can now only dream of.
Bravo – who was 16 years old at the time – was invited to the studios along with a friend by none other than Paul McCartney to sing backing vocals on ‘Across the Universe’.
In 2015, Bravo published a book about her many interactions with the Beatles called ‘Do Rio a Abbey Road’, although it has yet to receive an English translation.
Another article debates whether the Beatles’ music would have had the same effect if it had been first heard in the present rather than the 1960s – echoing the premise of the 2019 film ‘Yesterday’.
Written by Richard Curtis, the film features a struggling musician who becomes the only person on Earth who knows The Beatles’ songs.
The Beatles pose on the steps of NEMS (North End Music Stores), Brian Epstein’s record shop in Liverpool, January 24, 1963
Beatles fans can also study for a master’s degree in the Fab Four at the University of Liverpool
Yet another article examines how the internet and streaming can disrupt the “consistent chronological narrative” that makes up the Beatles story.
In future issues, the magazine will “give voice to new and emerging research to place the Beatles in new contexts, groups and communities.”
It also promises to challenge “narrative, cultural-historical, and musicological tropes” about the band, approaching them as “a prism” for understanding broader “historical, social, and cultural issues.”
There are already Beatles degrees for fans to study – a concept Paul McCartney described as “ridiculous yet very flattering.”
The Beatles perform at the Cavern Club in Liverpool in February 1961, with Pete Best on drums
In September 2021, the University of Liverpool has started offering a Master of Arts in ‘The Beatles: Music Industry and Heritage’ run by Tessler.
In March 2009, Liverpool Hope University also launched a master’s degree, ‘The Beatles, Popular Music and Society’, which ran for ten years.
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Apple Electronics: Inside the Beatles’ eccentric 1960s tech subsidiary that spawned color-changing paint, the robotic housewife, and the “memory phone”
Say the word Apple today and we think of Steve Jobs’ billion-dollar company that spawned the iPhone and the Mac computer.
But a decade before the California-based company was founded, Beatles-owned Apple Electronics was working on several groundbreaking inventions.
Apple Electronics was led by Alexis Mardas, a young electronics engineer and inventor originally from Athens in Greece, known to the Beatles as Magic Alex.
Dressed in a white lab coat in his London workshop, Mardas created prototypes of inventions that would be marketed and sold.
These include the ‘composing typewriter’ – powered by an early example of sound recognition – and a telephone with advanced memory capabilities.