The Beatles now have their very own academic journal

Paperback Writer! The Beatles now have their very own academic JOURNAL dedicated to studies on the Fab Four

  • The Journal of Beatles Studies is the first academic journal dedicated to the band
  • It contains ‘rigorously researched’ essays, notes and reviews about the Fab Four
  • The journal follows Beatles degrees being offered by two Liverpool universities  

More than 60 years since they released their debut single, The Beatles now have their very own academic journal.  

‘The Journal of Beatles Studies’, published by Liverpool University Press, is the first journal to establish The Beatles as an object of scholarly research.

Articles in the first issue include ‘Beatlemania: On informational cascades and spectacular success’ and ’80 at 80: Commemorating Paul McCartney’s eightieth birthday’. 

The biannual, peer-reviewed journal will publish original, rigorously researched essays and notes, as well as book and media reviews. 

The journal’s first issue has just been published, while the second issue is due sometime in spring 2023

‘The Journal of Beatles Studies’ is the first journal to establish the band as an object of academic research

– ‘Beatlemania: On informational cascades and spectacular success’ 

– ’80 at 80: Commemorating Paul McCartney’s eightieth birthday’

– ‘There are places I remember: (Re)constructions of the Beatles as a Liverpool heritage object’ 

– ‘Across the Universe: A lucky, 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 the Beatles: Experiences with Liverpool Hope’s MA The Beatles, Popular Music and Society’ 

Editors of the journal are Holly Tessler at the University of Liverpool and Paul Long at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. 

The editors pointed out that there’s already been a wide range of scientific articles about the Beatles, linking them with a variety of subjects.

These range from mathematics to the computed tomography scanner and an AI-powered music composition machine.

But before now, they’ve all been published in different journals, despite having a common theme. 

‘Beyond conferences, edited collections and fixed-term research projects, Beatles scholars have been working in comparative isolation, compelled to publish their findings for non-Beatles specialists and audiences,’ say the editors in the journal’s introduction. 

‘It is a situation that raises the question, why isn’t there a field of Beatles studies?

‘Furthermore, what would it look like, who would define its agendas, methods, quality and potential, and to whom would it speak? 

‘This is a scholarly gap that the Journal of Beatles Studies seeks to redress.’ 

The new journal is open access – which means it is be freely available online without being behind a paywall or requiring a subscription. 

There is also a limited edition commemorative paperback copy, priced at £16 and available from the Liverpool University Press website.

The Beatles pictured in June 1967. From left, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon

Previous studies about the Beatles 

– ‘(A) Data in the Life: Authorship Attribution in Lennon-McCartney Songs’

– ‘Mathematics, Physics and A Hard Day’s Night’ 

– ‘Do we really need to thank the Beatles for the financing of the development of the computed tomography scanner?’

–  ‘BandNet: A neural network-based, multi-instrument Beatles-style MIDI music composition machine

The journal’s first issue 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 around Abbey Road Studios in London on February 4, 1968 when she was gifted an opportunity that every Beatles can now only dream of. 

Bravo – who was 16 years old at the time – was invited into 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 multiple interactions with the Beatles, called ‘Do Rio a Abbey Road’ (From Rio to Abbey Road), although it’s yet to get a translation into English. 

Another article debates whether the music of the Beatles would have had the same effect if it was first heard in the present day rather than the 1960s – echoing the premise of the 2019 film ‘Yesterday’. 

The film, written by Richard Curtis, depicts a struggling musician who becomes the only person on Earth who knows The Beatles’ songs. 

The Beatles pose on the stairs of NEMS (North End Music Stores), Brian Epstein’s Liverpool record shop, January 24, 1963

Fans of The Beatles can also study for a master’s degree in the Fab Four at the University of Liverpool

Yet another article looks at how the internet and streaming may be distorting the ‘consistent chronological narrative’ that makes up the Beatles story. 

In future issues, the journal will ‘provide a voice to new and emerging research locating the Beatles in new contexts, groups and communities’. 

It also promises to ‘challenge narrative, cultural historical and musicological tropes’ about the band and approach them as ‘a prism’ for insight into wider ‘historical, social and cultural issues’. 

There are already Beatles degrees that fans can study – a concept Paul McCartney described as ‘ridiculous, and yet very flattering’. 

The Beatles perform onstage at the Cavern Club in February 1961 in Liverpool, with Pete Best on drums

In September 2021, the University of Liverpool 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 a decade.  

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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’ multi-billion-dollar technology company that spawned the iPhone and the Mac computer.

But a decade before the California-based firm was even founded, the Beatles-owned company Apple Electronics was working on several pioneering 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 were set to be marketed and sold.

These included the ‘composing typewriter’ – powered by an early example of sound recognition – and a phone with advanced memory capacity. 

Read more 

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