Come Together: Beatles fans share memories

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LONDON: Memories of The Beatles from fans around the globe were revealed Monday in a major study reflecting the impact the legendary British group had on people worldwide.

About 3,000 people from 69 different countries submitted an account of their most vivid memory associated with a Beatles song, concert, film or band member to The Magical Memory Tour, a six-month study that began in March.

Contributors to the online survey, devised by scientists at the University of Leeds in northern England, were aged from 17-87 but the vast majority had been teenagers when the band – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – existed between 1960 and 1970.

One woman recalled how, while working as an usher at a venue in Leeds where The Beatles were playing, the manager came over and mentioned that guitarist Harrison wanted her to go backstage after the show.

In my innocence I had no idea about the possible outcomes of such an encounter, she wrote.

All I could think was that my boyfriend was in the audience, as well as which I could not risk the wrath of my mother if I wasn t on the last bus home.

The strange thing is that I didn t get excited about it. It s only now that I wonder if I would have taken the chance had it been John (Lennon).

The song that came up time and again among English contributors was She Loves You, while for Americans, I Want to Hold Your Hand was most likely to spark their memories.

However, the feelings invoked and the situations recalled were surprisingly similar in people across the world. They were also overwhelmingly positive, with the exception of those associated with Lennon s death.

What s interesting is that the majority of memories cluster in the early teenage years, said Catriona Morrison, one of the researchers who devised the study to help understand how memories are formed and change through life.

The early teenage years are the years during which you are making your musical decisions. By the age of about 14 most people have made up their mind, and that s the age when music makes the most powerful impression on us.

One man remembered serving in the British army in Borneo in 1965, where radio was the only entertainment.

The children he met spoke almost no English, so while walking through a jungle clearing one day, I was amazed to see and hear a group of children sat in a circle holding hands singing I Should Have Known Better .

He wrote: We stopped to listen and when they had finished we clapped them, they smiled at us and said one word – BEATLES! I was astonished and moved then and still am whenever I recall this memory.

The research is due to be unveiled at the British Association for the Advancement of Science s Festival of Science at the University of Liverpool, the northwestern English city where the Fab Four originated. – AFP

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