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Suburban pastoral: Strawberry Fields forever and Sixties memory

[journal article]

Daniels, Stephen

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Abstract As a cultural period the 1960s is produced through overlapping forms of social memory in which private and public recollections overlap. In both sound and imagery, pop music, particularly that of the Beatles, is a principal medium of memory for the period. For the period from 1965, the progressive aspects of pop music, particularly in sonic and lyrical complexity, expressed a retrospective, pastoral strain that was itself a form of memory of other periods and places, of childhood and country life. The Beatles double-A-sided single Strawberry Fields forever/Penny Lane, released in February 1967, epitomizes these complexities in a suburban version of pastoral, recalling the Liverpool childhoods of songwriters John Lennon and Paul McCartney. An analysis of the production and reception of the record, including lyrical genesis and musical development, publicity imagery, reviews in both the popular music papers and national news press, and the impact of the record in Liverpool and London, identifies the importance of intense, immediate moments in cultural geography, and their connection to longer developments in a theatre of memory that plays comedy and history as well as tragedy.
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Page/Pages p. 28-54
Journal Cultural Geographies, 13 (2006) 1
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)