On Sunday, February 9th 1964, The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan's weekly televised variety show. Over 73 million viewers tuned in to watch the relatively unknown pop music group from Liverpool, England. With their mesmerizing appearance on the Sullivan show, Beatlemania arrived in North America, the group would set the musical and cultural trends for the next seven years. Since the groups' breakup in 1970, the Fab Four's music, image and cultural relevance have endured. To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles arrival in America, the Kislak Center at the University of Pennsylvania is hosting an exhibition of books about and by The Beatles. The exhibit will trace the representation of the iconographic group through a number of formats and genres including mass market paper backs, periodicals, ephemera, and deluxe signed editions published by Genesis Publishing in the United Kingdom.
Since 1964 thousands of magazines and books have been published on The Beatles. While this statement on the volume of publications is impressive, few commentators have had reason to remark on the nature, range, and the physical design of books on the musical group until recently. Since the appearance of The Beatles "official" history entitled Anthology (1995), a folio volume lavishly illustrated and accompanied with a six volume video set and audio compilation, many publishers have followed suit producing increasingly sophisticated illustrated books on The Beatles and the individual members of the group: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.
For many collectors and fans, the group's recorded music continues to be the object of primary interest, as it should. With the recent release of the digitally re-mastered albums in mono and stereo in 2009 and issued in three different formats ranging from audio CD, vinyl, and digital formats, their music has not only survived, but also enhanced through evolving technologies. Nevertheless, the iconic corpus of original singles and albums still possess an aura which might be compared to a first edition of a printed book.
Beyond the recorded music, there is a vast catalog of autographs, memorabilia, and ephemera that has been produced during the past fifty years. Authentic autographs and signatures of the Beatles are growing increasingly rare; indeed, they were growing rarer with the advent of Beatlemania in 1963. There has been an enormous appetite for Beatles everything. The group was marketed as a commodity from 1963 forward. Products translate into profits. The Beatles as a commodity has proven to be lucrative for both the manufacturers and the individual members of the group. A quick global search of the The Beatles in Ebay results in 70,000 results. The value of this inventory could be as much as one million dollars.
In addition to texts, the exhibition will include an array of illustrated books which present in a variety of formats an array of iconic images which form a meta-narrative of the groups public image as it evolved from 1964 to 1969. These images also are used in licensed products like puzzles, games, calendars, and other printed ephemera and objects
Thursday, February 27, 5:30 PM
Exhibition Reception and Book Launch
Kamin Gallery, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, first floor
Join us for the exhibition opening reception and the Philadelphia book launch of Jude Southerland Kessler's She Loves You, the third of her nine biographical novels on the life of John Lennon. This event has Already occurred, registration is closed.