Kenneth Womack, Ph.D., professor or English and popular music at Monmouth University, and co-editor Kit O’Toole, Ed.D., have just released their latest collection of academic writing, “Fandom and the Beatles: The Act You’ve Known for All These Years,” published by Oxford University Press.
Unlike other bands of their era, the Beatles seem permanently frozen in time, having never descended into “nostalgia act” territory. Instead, even after the announcement of the band’s breakup in 1970, the group has maintained its cultural and musical relevance; their timeless quality appeals to younger generations while maintaining the loyalty of older fans.
Womack, co-editor of the new collection who also teaches a Beatles course at Monmouth, says, “While the Beatles definitely represent a specific period of time, their music and words address issues as meaningful today as they were in the ‘60s: politics, war, sex, drugs, art, and creative liberation.”
Through chapters by some of the top Beatles and music writers in the world (including “The Beatles: Today…and Tomorrow” by Monmouth University Professor Kenneth L. Campbell), “Fandom and the Beatles” defines and explores the unique qualities and ways in which the Beatles have enjoyed such loyalty and multigenerational popularity. It is the first anthology to completely assess the nature of fan response and the band’s enduring appeal.
“Beatles fandom has transformed in the over 50 years since the band broke up,” says co-editor O’Toole. “Our volume examines such issues as how technology has changed the way fans connect with one another, how fans have contributed to Beatles’ history through scholarship, and how they have expressed their fandom through art, music, and writing.”
“Fandom and the Beatles: The Act You’ve Known for All These Years” is 296 pages and is available from Oxford University Press, Amazon, and other major booksellers.
Womack is the author or editor of more than 35 books, including “Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles” (2007), the “Cambridge Companion to the Beatles” (2009), “The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four” (2014), and a multivolume study devoted to the life and work of Beatles producer George Martin. His book, “Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles,” was released in October 2019 and has received praise from “The L.A. Times “and “Publishers Weekly” amongst others. His most recent book, “John Lennon, 1980: The Last Days in the Life,” was published in September 2020 to rave reviews. The Music Culture writer for Salon and the host of their “Everything Fab Four” podcast, Womack is also a guest author at “Slate,” “Billboard,” “Variety,” NBC News, “Smithsonian Magazine,” “Time,” and “USA Today.”
O’Toole is a Chicago-based writer and music journalist, is the author of “Songs We Were Singing: Guided Tours Through the Beatles’ Lesser-Known Tracks” and “Michael Jackson FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the King of Pop.” In addition to her two books, O’Toole is also a longtime writer and associate editor for “Beatlefan magazine,” reviewer and “Deep Beatles” columnist for “Something Else Reviews,” the DeepSoul columnist for “Blinded by Sound,” a frequent contributor to Cinema Sentries, and a regular speaker at The Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago and New York. O’Toole has also presented at the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, and written chapters for several academic collections. Her next authored book will be, “Soul Searching: Buried Treasures of R&B, Soul, Dance, and Hip-Hop.” She holds a doctorate in Instructional Technology.