Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Search Term: Beatles

9780195333251

The British are coming: the Summer of 1964 (part two)

In the opening months of 1964, The Beatles turned the American popular music world on its head, racking up hits and opening the door for other British musicians. Lennon and McCartney demonstrated that—in the footsteps of Americans like Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry—British performers could be successful songwriters too.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

The Beatles and Northern Songs, 22 February 1963

Songwriting had gained the Beatles entry into EMI’s studios and songwriting would distinguish them from most other British performers in 1963. Sid Colman at publishers Ardmore and Beechwood had been the first to sense a latent talent, bringing them to the attention of George Martin at Parlophone. Martin in turn had recommended Dick James as a more ambitious exploiter of their potential catalogue.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

December 1960: A wild time for the Beatles

By Gordon Thompson

The Beatles reinvented themselves several times over their career, from comic mop-tops to psychedelic gurus to post-modern self-directed artistes; but perhaps one of their most remarkable transformations occurred before most of Britain or the world even knew they existed.

Fifty years ago, as the winter 1960 seeped into Britain, the Beatles returned from a little over three months on the stage boards of Hamburg’s Kaiserkeller where they had put in hundreds of hours of performance. Back in August, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Stu Sutcliffe had recruited Pete Best (and his relatively new drum kit) at the last minute for their very first club residency in the St. Pauli District of West Germany’s busiest port.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Sixties British Pop in the Classroom

By Gordon Thompson

Baby boomers have not only fundamentally shaped our modern world, but also how their children (and grandchildren) perceive that world. The generation that gyrated with hula hoops and rock ‘n’ roll also embraced British pop music (among other things) and have bequeathed this aesthetic to today’s college students. On campuses across North America, students amble to classes with “Beatles” patches on their book bags while their college radio programs often include music by the Rolling Stones, the Who, and the Kinks. At Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York a few years ago, a Facebook survey identified the Beatles as the favorite campus musical artists, followed closely by Bob Dylan. Given the continuing importance of a band that dissolved in acrimony over forty years ago, a question arises: does this subject merit inclusion in the college curriculum? The answer is clearly, yes.

Read More
MTS_Spring2015

Composition, performance, and mashups

What does it mean to create an artwork? For centuries, we thought we knew the answer. In literature, an author recorded words on a page. In the visual arts, an artist put paint to canvas. In music, a composer jotted down notes and rhythms on a staff as the raw material for his/her creations.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

The Oxford Companion to the London 2012 Opening Ceremony

Many questioned how the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games Opening Ceremony was going to make a mark after the spectacular Beijing Olympics only four years earlier. While Beijing presented the Chinese people moving as one body — dancing, marching, and presenting a united front to the world — the British answer was a chaotic and spirited ceremony, shifting from cricket matches to coordinated dance routines, Mr Bean’s comedic dream to a 100-foot Lord Voldemort.

Read More