The Beatles image: Mass marketing 1960's British and American music and culture, or being a short thesis on the dubious package of the Beatles

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2007-05

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Abstract

The Beatles Image: Mass Marketing 1960s British and American Music and Culture is a thesis that discusses the creation of The Beatles, their image and how we as a culture remember their career and the 1960s. It utilizes serious historical work on various aspects of music and youth culture from the 1950s and 1960s, in addition to theoretical frameworks about memory. The thesis illustrates how a specific image and marketing campaign can create a package around a product, or musical act in this case. The Beatles "package" as it is referred to, engulfed an entire generation and redefined certain aspects of how we perceive and listen to music and the musicians producing it.

The thesis begins with a discussion of nostalgia, defining and separating it from conceptions and ideas of "retro," or retrospective. This discussion morphs into various aspects of The Beatles career as well as other musical acts outside the 1960s to demonstrate how a singular act or time period can be emulated and re-envisioned later. The story of The Beatles and the men responsible for their image and package creation is then told, reflecting on both the individual aspects in the lives of Brian Epstein and George Martin, but also how The Beatles as a group were responsible for their cohesiveness and "group-ness" before either of those individuals entered the picture.

Finally, the discussion addresses the package specifically and how it was successful: from the utilization of technology to the psychological effects of fame and popularity. In the end, memory addressed how our culture chooses to remember The Beatles and the 1960s, from nostalgic and "retro" thoughts to musical success and levels of popularity in comparison to more recent musical acts and phenomena.

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