Course Description

Gain an understanding of the skiffle music that pre-dated The Beatles and then the development of rock in Britain. You’ll quickly move into where The Beatles fit into this and how their legacy helped change what music sounded like. You’ll dig into the sequence of events that led to Fabness and Beatlemania and how a fad turned into lasting art. You’ll hear the leaps of their recording career, including how George Martin was essential. You’ll discuss the unique blend of talents that shaped The Beatles’ art as you come to understand where they fit alongside their contemporaries and how they changed rock from a genre of hit singles to album-length statements.

Course Outline

The course will take place over the course of three two and a half hour sessions.

Part one: The world pre-Beatles and post-Beatles: how the skiffle craze in England, on top of rock ‘n’ roll coming into being, shaped a generation in a perfect storm of events, paving the way for the British Invasion and rock’s evolution from Bill Haley to Jimi Hendrix during the 1960s. Where did The Beatles fit into this and what did they help to change? What was their legacy in the decade after their split and the ensuing years?

Part two: The Beatles History - an overview: detailing the sequence of events that led to Fabness and how what should have been an ephemeral fad turned into lasting art, confounding the doubters at every turn. Traces their career from the Quarry Men skiffle group, through Hamburg - Brian Epstein and a recording contract - Beatlemania - conquering America - quitting touring - post-Brian and break-up.

Part three: The Beatles on Record: Starting with “Love Me Do” and the leaps and bounds their recording career took - why George Martin was essential - the resistance to repetition and how they changed the currency of rock from the hit single to an album-length statement. How the unique blend of talents shaped their art, and where they fit alongside acts operating at the same time.

Learner Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to: Sum up what made The Beatles exceptional, both alongside their peers and by reputation today, over half a century after they last recorded together. Students should also be able to discuss their best work and the singular talents of each individual Beatle; furthermore, they should be able to identify demonstrable examples of their ongoing influence or things that they pioneered.


Robert Rodriquez is an award-winning Beatles scholar; author or contributor to over a dozen books including five on The Beatles (with two more in the works). Additionally, he is an acclaimed public speaker and go to authority in Chicago for media requests on Beatle related topics. He is also the creator and host of the Something About The Beatles podcast.


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