It was over 50 years ago today, The Beatles downloaded via speakers, stadiums, television and more emergent technology, manufacturing hysteria, minting fandom, and even silencing crime.
Since that historic, disruptive harmonic convergence, the years have turned and yet the band, and its brand, have showed no sign of ceasing to influence global culture.
An evolving series, Geek The Beatles chronicles this revolutionary process as it portals across the universe.
In 2010, I began analyzing The Beatles’ technocultural evolution to close my circle on the greatest band of all time, which took its last official photograph on my birthday. Since then, I have published some hefty Geek The Beatles entries in publications like Wired, CNN, Salon, and more.
My work marked not only the 50th anniversary of The Beatles settling upon their historic name, but also the 40th anniversary of their bitter 1970 dissolution. It was a crushing kiss-off to the revolutionary sixties, aptly capitalized in the recombined, controversial Let It Be, a multimedia experiment in reality programming gone wrong. It must be a Newtonian coincidence that these anniversaries culminated in the December 31 legal filing that powered down the band for good.
But not the brand, which quickly took over, influentially reaching into future styles, tropes, tastes, and platforms, where resilient fans, scholars, pushers, and consumers interpolated them for a more immersive, panoptic century. As you read this, The Beatles’ expanding cultural avatars continue to overwrite what reality The Beatles individual members — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — can still claim in an increasingly hyperreal age.
Their repeat mediations spread far and wide in light-speed, touchstones for hidden histories and emergent capitalizations, from Apple(s) to The Fifth Beatle to The Beat Bugs to Rock Band to Cirque Du Soleil, and beyond.
It’s all too much. Catch up with some of it below.
John Lennon Sketchbook Makes Official Online Debut
McCartney Talks Technoculture, Tape Loops, Digital Libraries, Wikileaks
Paul McCartney Brings “Tomorrow Never Knows” Back to the Future