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Expert Comment: Love Me Do – 50 years of The Beatles

033 Dr Mike Brocken Thursday 20 September 2012

Senior Lecturer in Popular Music Studies and director of the world's first ever Masters Degree related to the Beatles: The Beatles, Popular Music & Society, Dr Mike Brocken, prepares for the start of The Beatles 50 year celebrations.

The fourth year of what is still the world’s only MA dedicated to the academic study of the Beatles commences at Liverpool Hope University on the 1st October 2012. The beginning of any academic year is always an exciting time: meeting new students and discovering new ideas, perspectives and approaches to this important cultural and musical phenomenon, but this year, it’s a little different.

The early days of October back in 1962 must have been an incredibly exciting period for the young Beatles, for it was on the 5th October that EMI released on their Parlophone imprint record number R4949: ‘Love Me Do’ with ‘PS I Love You on the ‘b’ side – the first ‘official’ British release by the group. The record sold moderately well for a first release by a regional group on what was EMI’s smallest label, eventually reaching the ‘lofty’ position of number 17 on the national singles charts. From that moment on it could be suggested that British society would never be the same again.

October 2012, therefore will  signal the beginnings of a stream of  Beatles 50th anniversaries. Not only singles, EPs and LP releases, but also TV appearances, radio shows, movie-making and print media attention – culminating perhaps in February 2014 with the 50th anniversary of their appearance on the US Ed Sullivan Show.

All such issues, of course, have been on the MA curriculum at Liverpool Hope since the programme began and our postgraduates will be paying great attention to all such mediations over the forthcoming months and years. I have been invited to give a paper and chair a symposium at the ‘Love Me Do’ conference at Loughborough University on the 4th and 5th October and my latest work, the world’s first Annotated Beatles Bibliography, written in conjunction with Melissa Davis of the first MA cohort is available now (http://www.thebeatleworksltd.com/) – exciting times, indeed!

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