For the past year I’ve been co-administrator and sometime contributor to a great new blog, The Historian and The Beatles. The Historian is Erin Torkelson Weber, who teaches American History at Neuman University in Kansas and who is the author of The Beatles and The Historians , upon which the blog is based (note the change-up in title).
In her book and blog, Erin reviews Beatle biographies with an historian’s eye. She examines how the story is constructed–for example, what data sources are used, by whom, and for what purpose. In a blog Q and A, Erin described the utility of applying historical methods to Beatle biography this way:
I believe fans and an increasing amount of Beatles authorities are already judging new works by historian’s standards, even if they don’t specifically identify them or recognize them as such. On various forums, you’ll see fans debating the merits of certain memoirs and/or biographies, and a lot of the standards they use – balance, documentation, objectivity – are fundamental building blocks in historical methods. Thirty years ago, none of the most widely acclaimed books on the band even contained a bibliography; now all the recognized major works – You Never Give Me Your Money, for example – not only include bibliographies but also cite sources, and some Beatles authorities, such as Doggett or Lewisohn, are beginning to apply source analysis.
If there are any Beatle fans out there, or readers interested in history and the use of historical methods applied to pop culture and orthodoxy, you should pop by. We’d love to hear from you.