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Joel Phillip Friedman (Fair Use)
MUSIC: Arguably their greatest single (Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane), greatest album (Sgt. Pepper), and the “black sheep of the family” Magical Mystery Tour. This is one NOT to miss.

The Beatles: The Pepper Years—Expanding Minds, Expanding Music

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Date(s) - 06/27/2023 - 08/01/2023
6:30 PM - 8:45 PM



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  • TUEs, JUN 27-AUG 1 (No class on JUL 4 )

As 1966 ended, rumor had it The Beatles were fading too. Touring had ended in August, and each Beatle began to drift off, alone. Their next movie project was shelved, while EMI and Capitol unsuccessfully clamored for new Beatles “Christmas Magic.” Few imagined the artistic peak that awaited in Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane and Sgt. Pepper.

Refreshed and freed from the pressured madness of Beatlemania, the band quietly regrouped in November to expand on the experimentation of the previous summer’s groundbreaking Revolver. They dove into songwriting sessions, backed by unlimited studio and production time with George Martin. Pepper became the 1967 Summer of Love soundtrack. In comparison, the subsequent Magical Mystery Tour film/soundtrack was a letdown. More significantly, the shock of manager Brian Epstein’s sudden death in August 1967 created a leadership vacuum, aggravating the nascent artistic and business divisions within the band.

This course will explore the making of The Beatles’s arguably greatest single, their most acclaimed album, and the misunderstood black sheep of the family, their “home movie” Mystery Tour. We will examine their work in context amid an explosion of influences from psychedelia to soul, avant-garde European classical/electronic music, Hindustani classical music, and British music hall. We will also discuss the studio process, equipment, techniques, and songwriting that gave these albums life.

Joel Phillip Friedman’s concert, theater, and film music has been performed worldwide at such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, on London’s West End, and in off-Broadway theaters. He has taught courses in composition, theory, and history at Swarthmore, Georgetown, Stanford Continuing Studies, and elsewhere. He received a DMA from Columbia, where he was a President’s Fellow.