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A Hard Day's Write: The Beatles' Continuing Impact on Scholarly Literature

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This month's anniversary of the Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 marks 50 years of stateside and worldwide Beatlemania. A television special, newly repackaged versions of the band's U.S. albums, and the first, massive installment of a projected three-volume history by Beatles scribe Mark Lewisohn represent just three manifestations of this latest surge of interest in the group and its impact on music and culture.

Even apart from this milestone, of course, the Beatles have always commanded attention and scrutiny -- and not all of it confined to the popular press. ScienceWatch has taken a look at how academics and scholars have also turned their sensibilities to the examination of the Beatles' work and all its facets.

By utilizing Thomson Reuters' Web of Science -- the premier research platform for information in the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities -- to commemorate five decades of scholarly interest in the Fab Four, we searched for a selection of academic works treating various aspects of the Beatles, their music and their legacy.

Whether examining the Beatles' musical style, the nature of their collaboration, or the political and psychological aspects of their work, the sampling of papers hints at the variety of scholarly treatment, and attests to the Beatles' enduring stature and influence.

2014-02-12-BeatlesEdSullivan.jpg
Photo courtesy of Beatles.com

The papers are listed below, ranked according to how many times each has been cited, or explicitly footnoted in another publication -- a measurement of scholarly influence. (Note: for more discussion and detail from the papers' abstracts, see the full analysis at ScienceWatch.com.)

Paper
1) I.E. Hyman, D.C. Rubin, "Memorabeatlia - A naturalistic study of long-term memory," Memory & Cognition, 18 (2): 205-14, 1990. Cites: 26

2) C. Whissell, "Traditional and emotional stylometric analysis of the songs of Beatles Paul McCartney and John Lennon," Computers and the Humanities, 30 (3): 257-65, 1996. Cites: 15

3) S. Cohen, "More than the Beatles: Popular music, tourism and urban regeneration" [book chapter], Tourists and Tourism: Identifying with People and Places , ed. by S. Abram, et al.,) 71-90, 1997. Cites: 12

4) R.J. Kruse, "Imagining Strawberry Fields as a place of pilgrimage," Area, 35 (2): 154-62, 2003. Cites: 6

5) W. Everett, "Fantastic remembrance in Lennon, John 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'Julia' and voice-leading in selected Beatles songs," Musical Quarterly, 72 (3): 360-93, 1986. Cites: 6

6) G. Clydesdale, "Creativity and competition: The Beatles," Creativity Research Journal, 18 (2): 129-39, 2006. Cites: 5

7) J. Platoff, "John Lennon, 'Revolution,' and the politics of musical reception," Journal of Musicology, 22 (2): 241-67, 2005. Cites: 5

8) A. Elliott, "Celebrity and political psychology: Remembering Lennon," Political Psychology, 19 (4): 833-52, 1998. Cites: 5

9) S. Daniels, "Suburban pastoral: Strawberry Fields Forever and sixties memory," Cultural Geographies, 13 (1): 28-54, 2006. Cites: 4

10) N. Wagner, "Domestication of the blue note in the Beatles' songs," Music Theory Spectrum, 25 (2): 353-65, 2003. Cites: 4