(ETX Daily Up) – In England, The Beatles are serious business. So much so that the University of Liverpool has decided to launch a master’s degree specially dedicated to the study of the musical heritage of the Fab Four. On the program: seminars on their musical contribution and their impact on their hometown.
More than 50 years after the Beatles split, Liverpool still feeds off the energy of the group. Museum, bus tour, commemorative festival … and now a university diploma dedicated to the “four boys in the wind”. The University of Liverpool launched “The Beatles: Music Industry and Heritage” in September, a master’s degree aimed at “extending contemporary discourse on the Beatles beyond history and musicology”. The students of this course will immerse themselves during a year in the cultural and economic impact of the Beatles on the city where they were born, through seminars, but also visits to significant places in the history of the group.
According to the New York Times, one of the first lectures of the master focused on the importance of Penny Lane in the heritage of Liverpool. Last summer, several signs in the neighborhood where John Lennon grew up were vandalized on the sidelines of rallies linked to the Black Lives Matter movement. The reason ? Penny Lane would not take its name from the eponymous song of the Fab Four but rather from a slave trader who lived in the 18th century named James Penny, as suggested by the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool in 2007. The museum is since reconsidered his statements but the controversy underlines to what extent Liverpool is, and always will be, the city of the Beatles.
Local attractions to be researched
The English metropolis has capitalized on its association with the quartet for many decades. A 2015 Liverpool City Council report estimated that Beatlemania brought in £ 81.9million (or € 95.9million) to the city and created 2,335 jobs. And it is a sector which does not know the crisis. The economy linked to the Beatles would grow by 15% per year. Nothing too surprising for Dr Mike Jones, professor at the University of Liverpool and member of the Beatles Legacy Group. “Liverpool must be seen not only as the birthplace of The Beatles, but also as their birthplace. What the Beatles brought to the world was, in part, Liverpool’s unique culture,” he said. “The creation of a master’s degree in the Beatles finally gives the University of Liverpool a framework to explore this deep, meaningful and lasting relationship.”
In 2014, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had drawn the wrath of the Liverpoolians when he suggested, on the contrary, that London was responsible for the success of the Fab Four. “The largest group in the world came from Liverpool,” he said during a lecture at the London School of Economics. “But in the end, they recorded their songs in London and it was London that helped make them known around the world.” Statements against which the former mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, had rebelled.
The diploma “The Beatles: Music Industry and Heritage” aims to go beyond these regional disputes to establish the impact of John Lennon and his cronies on many cultural industries. According to the University of Liverpool, students enrolled in this master’s degree will be able to work in the music, media, but also tourism and heritage management sectors.
If the idea of devoting a college degree to The Beatles may be surprising, it reflects the growing interest of academics in the performers of “Hey Jude”. An academic journal dedicated exclusively to the Beatles will thus see the light of day in September 2022, under the supervision of Holly Tesler of the University of Liverpool and Paul Long of Monash University. We have definitely not finished hearing about the Fab Four on the benches of the university.