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Interview: Melissa Davis opens up 'The Beatles Bibliography - First Supplement'

The cover of "The Beatles Bibliography - The First Supplement."
The Beatle Works Ltd.

Introduction: Melissa Davis is co-author, with Dr. Michael Brocken, of “The Beatles Bibliography – First Supplement,” a just-published addition to “The Beatles Bibliography” by the Beatle Works Ltd. The new 168-page book features 250 new entries of Beatles books and articles, including several of ours, plus an essay, “Yanks To Go.” We asked Melissa to answer a few questions about it by email. The First Supplement and the original Beatles Bibliography are available from

Q: What did you do differently in the new book?
Melissa Davis: “The reader/user will notice that the Title-Author Cross-Reference is divided into two sections: articles and books; this should make it even easier to search for a text. They will also note that the annotations are specifically attributed to Michael Brocken [MGB] or myself [MD] with one by Beatles MA honors graduate, Angela Ballard [AB] and several contributed by Joachim Noske [JN] who drew many non-English titles to our attention and was kind enough to provide annotations for them. The webography has been significantly updated, as well. We're also planning a subject index for the next supplement which will make it even more user-friendly for the reader and researcher.”

Q: What is Dr. Michael Brocken's "Yanks To Go" essay about?
Melissa Davis: “For years, it has been more or less accepted as fact that Liverpudlians, specifically musicians and teenagers, first heard American music on records that were brought home by 'Cunard Yanks' – men who worked on the ships that made the Liverpool to New York run. The name comes from the Cunard Line, although the term was applied loosely to include merchant seamen from other lines. John Lennon's father was a waiter (and sometime entertainer) on ships, and George Harrison's father was a merchant seamen. The thought was that these men bought records (along with instruments and, basically anything they could crate up) for use or sale at home, bringing rock and roll, blues and C & W music to Liverpool. Dr. Brocken's research effectively brings this long held theory into serious question through research and interviews that indicate that the connection between the Cunard Yanks and Mersey Beat arising from Liverpool only came about after The Beatles broke up in 1970 with the development of Beatle-related tourism. His findings will be the subject of some controversy (I've already heard from one soon-to-be published author!) and are worth serious consideration by fans, historians and researchers.”

Q: When will the next supplement come out?
Melissa Davis: “Because of the massive interest in the observation and celebrations surrounding the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' arrival in America for their debut on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' in February 1964 with books, articles and magazine special issues, the second supplement should be out in September.”

Q: Discuss the collection of papers by Beatles scholars you'll be publishing.
Melissa Davis: “We will be coming out with a compilation of the best research from the first year of the Beatles MA program at Liverpool Hope University. These papers encompass the curriculum of the course – musicology, sociology, ethnography, history – with topics ranging from hidden histories of the Liverpool music scene when The Beatles were emerging, media coverage of the early Beatles and in-depth semiotic analyses of selected Beatle songs.

“In addition, we will be publishing two honors dissertations – one of which examines the Beatles appearance on the first live global simulcast, 'Our World' seen simultaneously by 400 million viewers around the globe on June 25, 1967. The Beatles debuted 'All You Need Is Love' during the UK segment of the program that featured contributions from around the world – this is the well-known footage of The Beatles at Abbey Road with Donavan, Mick Jagger and others, balloons and streamers, Mal Evans serving tea, classical musicians adding 'Les Marseilles' and the strings to the track with George Martin presiding over the proceedings. In fact, there were some Cold-War negotiations that went on behind the scenes that shed some light on the way the Beatles were perceived behind the Soviet Union.

“In short – just when we thought everything that could be researched and written about The Beatles has been published, important new areas of inquiry are being uncovered and studied by Beatle scholars!”


Don't miss our special roundup of stories: Beatles 101: Read all about it: Our fab stories on the Beatles' 50th anniversary and Beatles 101: Paul McCartney Out There! tour news complete coverage.

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