The first student to graduate with a Master’s degree in The Beatles from Liverpool Hope University has been revealed.
Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy, who is from Canada, has become the first person in the world to attain the qualification, entitled The Beatles – Popular Music and Society, which was launched by the university in 2009.
It prompted a flurry of applications and in total, 12 full-time students joined the Master of Arts course that year. Ms Zahalan-Kennedy has become the first from her class to graduate.
In terms of content, the course looks at the studio sound and composition of The Beatles and how the city of Liverpool helped to shape their music. It also examines the significance of the music of the fab four and how they helped to define identities, culture and society.
“It was a lot of history,” the professor of popular music in Ontario told the BBC. “It was very much having to understand all of the history of British music, British politics and the economic state of the country at the time and what people where doing to stay positive and how music impacted on everyday life.”
Speaking at the launch of the course, Mike Brocken, course leader, explained that there had been a gap in the market for serious academic study of the group, despite the thousands of books and information available relating to their music.
“The Beatles influenced so much of society, not just with their music, but also with fashion from their collar-less jackets to their psychedelic clothes,” he said.
“Their output covered a huge range from the black and white film A Hard Day’s Night to Strawberry Fields Forever which was accompanied by arguably the first pop video.
Ms Zahalan-Kennedy added: “I am so proud of my achievement. The course was challenging, enjoyable and it provided great insights into the impact The Beatles had and still have to this day across all aspects of life.”
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