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England, the 1960s, and the Triumph of the Beatles

Join best-selling biographer Michael Shelden for 12 vibrant lectures on how the 1960s shaped the Beatles-and how the band, in turn, defined the revolutionary spirit of the age.
England, the 1960s, and the Triumph of the Beatles is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 79.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from After Lecture 1 I just finished the first lecture, and I look forward to the remainder by Dr.Sheldon. Like him, I lived it. Unlike most 11 year-olds, I wasn't enamored by the Beatles at all. Ed Sullivan and the Beatles were interfering with a show I liked on Disney. As a family, I was forced to watch by my 29 year-old mother, who loved music and dancing. It wasn't until the next day, on the bus to school and once in the building, that I thought perhaps I missed something in my anger, having missed an episode of a favorite show. All kids could talk about was the Beatles. I listened. I had heard the songs the evening before. The more I listened to others, the more my thoughts transformed. I was becoming a reluctant Beatles fan. The Beatles would not replace my desire to pitch a Little League game, but I looked forward to their next appearance. The Beatles were not enough to sway my dad to allow me a different type of haircut. It would remain for me a butch or a flat top for the foreseeable future. But in time, I would become a fan, and now, sixty years later, I seek out their music on YouTube.
Date published: 2024-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! I went from someone who was just aware of the Beatles to being a big fan in the matter of listening to the course. One tip that HUGELY multiplied my joy - I would pre-listen to the album(s) chronologically that were about to be discussed in the lecture and then immediately after it. It made the contexts come to life. Hope to see the professor take on other influential artists in the future!
Date published: 2023-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent material but... The presentation, style. information, etc. all rate in the high range. I sensed some myopia that American influences such as the Blues, Rock, The Byrds, etc. weren't covered more and in more detail. The Beatles members were born in the U.K. but the group was really made in the U.S., notwithstanding the Hamburg days.
Date published: 2023-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Adventure in Music, Culture and History I’ve gone through this series twice now, and I make more discoveries each time. I’ve gained such a deep understanding of the social and musical events of the period, and how the Beatles were a huge part of that era. Anecdotes and stories of things I’d never imagined, histories with bits we’d never heard of are included to add to anyone’s desire to know more about the most written about rock band ever. Thoroughly enjoyable, even just for a Beatles fan. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2023-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding! Michael Sheldon’s lectures about the Beatles are treasures! His stories and insights are deep and amazing. I am too young to have experienced Beatlemania first-hand, but watching these lectures has given me such an appreciation for the band and their songs. What a joy to listen to this series! Treat yourself to these lectures and learn so much.
Date published: 2023-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beatlemania explained! Fascinating history of the Fav Four. Well presented with ties to history at the time. Really enjoyed this and hoping for more like it!
Date published: 2023-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lots of Memories I grew up in the 60's and vividly remember first seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. This course was lots of fun and I learned alot of new facts about the Beatles and the 60's!!
Date published: 2022-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Very Interesting Story This course presents a very interesting presentation of the history of the Beatles. Where they came from, what kind of start did they have, what lead to them being the phenomenon they were and how they ended up. The speaker is very good and holds your interest throughout the course. I liked it so much that I bought the course for my friends as I knew the would enjoy it as well.
Date published: 2022-11-19
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Overview

In England, the 1960s, and the Triumph of the Beatles, best-selling biographer, Professor Michael Shelden offers a fresh look at how a pop band became one of the most compelling voices against the status quo. Taking you deeper than any simple music survey, these 12 lectures zero in on the story of how the Beatles emerged as a worldwide phenomenon-and the songs like Yesterday" and "Help!" that defined them."

About

Michael Shelden

There is much yet to discover, and lessons we can learn to help us chart a better path forward.

INSTITUTION

Indiana State University

Michael Shelden is a Professor of English at Indiana State University, where he has won the top award for excellence in scholarship, the Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Research/Creativity Award, three times. He earned his PhD in English from Indiana University. He is the author of six biographies, including Orwell: The Authorized Biography, which was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His other Great Courses include How Winston Churchill Changed the World; George Orwell: A Sage for All Seasons; and England, the 1960s, and the Triumph of the Beatles.

By This Professor

How Winston Churchill Changed the World
854
George Orwell: A Sage for All Seasons
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England, the 1960s, and the Triumph of the Beatles
854
Reconsidering JFK
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England, the 1960s, and the Triumph of the Beatles

Trailer

The Magical Mystery of the Beatles

01: The Magical Mystery of the Beatles

What happened between September 1963 and February 1964 to launch the Beatles toward international stardom? In this opening lecture, discover some of the major social and sonic factors at work in the transformation of these young musicians into a pop culture hurricane that would soon take over (or “invade”) America.

27 min
Fateful Intersections in Liverpool

02: Fateful Intersections in Liverpool

The Beatles were not born in a vacuum. Rather, they were a product of the many worlds contained within 1950s and 1960s Liverpool. Explore how the band soaked up this post-industrial and culturally vibrant scene, storing ideas and impressions that would later turn up, with surprising sophistication, in some of their early tunes.

27 min
Finding the Beat in the Beatles

03: Finding the Beat in the Beatles

The “beat” in the Beatles was about more than just the music—it was about the new group’s look and attitude. Explore the Bohemian fringe known as the beatniks; follow John, Paul, and George as they search for the right drummer; and consider the importance of the Beatles’ apprenticeship in Hamburg in refining their iconic sound.

26 min
Nowhere Men: The Dark Side of the Beatles

04: Nowhere Men: The Dark Side of the Beatles

Here, Professor Shelden reveals some of the less flattering characteristics of the Beatles. Chief among these: anger—both as a problem for John Lennon (who nearly killed a friend just months before the launch of Beatlemania) and as an outlet for creativity (best seen in one of the Beatles’ early successes, “Help!”).

26 min
Beatles for Sale: Brian Epstein’s Genius

05: Beatles for Sale: Brian Epstein’s Genius

Meet band manager Brian Epstein, without whom the Beatles would never have pushed their musical talents beyond the world of Liverpool. Discover how Epstein put the show on the road, and made sure that road went all the way around the world (and on The Ed Sullivan Show)—despite a strong degree of resistance to the band in its early days.

26 min
The Cold War, JFK, and the Beatles

06: The Cold War, JFK, and the Beatles

During the early 1960s, the Beatles became the West’s most irresistible export, as well as the best asset in the propaganda war with the East. Learn how the Cold War transformed the Beatles from a provincial act to superstars of the Western world. Also, consider new ways to think about the controversial song, “Back in the USSR.”

26 min
The Beatles Conquer America

07: The Beatles Conquer America

When the Beatles finally arrived in the United States of America, they did so with all the fanfare usually accorded to heads of state. How did so much sound and energy come from only four people? Plunge into the captivating fervor, communal spirit, and bacchanal of abandon that would soon be known as Beatlemania.

24 min
The Englishness of A Hard Day’s Night

08: The Englishness of A Hard Day’s Night

In summer 1964, the cinematic Beatles vehicle A Hard Day’s Night broke almost every rule in Hollywood at the time. Professor Shelden reveals what lies underneath the film’s surface charm and musical numbers: an overall attitude of irreverence and defiance in the face of authority, and a challenge for audiences to think for themselves.

26 min
Help! The Beatles at the Top in 1965

09: Help! The Beatles at the Top in 1965

Take a trip to Abbey Road, a welcome escape for John, Paul, George, and Ringo from Beatlemania. More than a home away from home, Abbey Road would allow the Beatles to operate—under the guidance of producer George Martin—with an unimaginable freedom that produced hits like “Yesterday” and the groundbreaking album Rubber Soul.

24 min
Crossroads: The Beatles in 1966

10: Crossroads: The Beatles in 1966

In 1966, the road ahead for the Beatles seemed limitless. Nevertheless, misfortune struck that year in the form of a changing American music market, and a disastrous summer tour to Germany, Japan, North America, and the Philippines that would leave the Beatles more disillusioned than ever with the show business demands of fame.

26 min
The Summer of Sgt. Pepper’s

11: The Summer of Sgt. Pepper’s

Go inside the invention of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, an experiment in everything that was untried and risky that allowed the Beatles to start over as a different group. From “A Day in the Life” to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” consider the album’s surreal, psychedelic appeal—both then and now.

27 min
Hello, Goodbye: The End of the 1960s

12: Hello, Goodbye: The End of the 1960s

In their last years together, all four of the Beatles seemed headed in new directions as they grew up—and apart. Nevertheless, witness how these final years brought a range of sounds, including protest songs, mystic melodies, anthems of friendship, and an iconic double album called simply, The Beatles, but better known as the “White Album.”

25 min