The fame, talent, and success of the Beatles need no introduction. Nor does the world need another book exploring the band's skill and its influence on music and society in the United States, Britain, and the rest of the world. Andre Millard instead studies the Beatlemania phenomenon from an original perspective-the relationship among the music business, recording technologies, and teens and young adult culture of the era.
Millard argues that, despite the Beatles' indisputable skill, they would not have attained the global recognition and been as influential without the convergence of significant developments in the way music was produced, recorded, sold, and consumed. As the Second Industrial Revolution hit full swing and baby boomers came of age, the reel-to-reel recorder and other technological advances sped the evolution of the music business. Musicians, recording studios and record labels, and music fans used and interacted with music-making and -playing technology in new ways. Higher quality machines made listening to records and the radio an experience that one could easily share with others, even if they weren't in the same physical space. At the same time, an increase in cross-Atlantic commerce-especially of entertainment products-led to a freer exchange of ideas and styles of expression, notably among the middle and lower classes in the U.S. and the UK. At that point, Millard argues, the Beatles rode their remarkable musicianship and cultural savvy to an unprecedented bond with their fans-and spawned Beatlemania.
Refreshing and insightful, Beatlemania offers a deeper understanding the days of the Fab Four and the band's long-term effects on the business and culture of pop music.
Andre Millard is a professor of history at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is the author of several books, including The Electric Guitar: A History of an American Icon, also published by Johns Hopkins.