For all the ink that has been spilled about the Beatles over the years, about their personal lives, their music, their instruments and gear, their influence, their public images, their fans, their politics, their business ventures, their dissolution as a group, their cultural and social impact, very little has been written about the Beatles as stage performers. Because the Beatles spent much more time in the studio than on the road and were prolific recording artists, their fans knew them better as disembodied voices than as embodied performers. Nevertheless, the Beatles performed live continuously for a period of seven years and apparently enjoyed performing. Their concerts were carefully staged, controlled events that reward close examination as theatrical performances. After outlining my approach, to which the concepts of performance analysis and musical persona are central, I propose to look at the Beatles’ live performances, in concert and on television, from 1963-1966, the height of Beatlemania, emphasizing the construction of their collective and individual performance personae and the staging of their performances.
Philip Auslander è Professore di Performance Studies e Popular Musicology in the School of Literature, Media and Communication presso il Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. È autore di: Presence and Resistance: Postmodernism and Cultural Politics in Contemporary American Performance, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1992; From Acting to Performance: Essays in Modernism and Postmodernism, London, Routledge, 1997; Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture, London, Routledge, 1999 e 2008; Performing Glam Rock: Gender and Theatricality in Popular Music, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2006; Reactivations: Essays on Performance and Its Documentation, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2018; e In Concert: Performing Musical Persona, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2021.