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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Canadian Woman Is World's First Beatles Graduate

Finally, there is a Beatles fan with a degree to prove it. Fifty-three-year-old Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy has become the first graduate ofLiverpool Hope University's MA in the Beatles. This new master of Fab Fourology studied the Beatles' compositions, sound and impact on pop culture.

"It's absolutely academic," Zahalan-Kennedy told the BBC. "It was an examination of how the Beatles came to be. What the political and social climate was and the cultural aspects that helped to facilitate an environment where the Beatles could happen."

In 2009, the Liverpool university launched the programme The Beatles, Popular Music and Society, which examines the "significance of the music of the Beatles in the construction of identities, audiences, ethnicities and industries, and localities". Zahalan-Kennedy was one of 12 full-time students; she graduated yesterday.

"I am so proud of my achievement," she said. "The course was challenging, enjoyable and it provided a great insight into the impact the Beatles had and still have to this day across all aspects of life." Dr Michael Brocken, founder of the Beatles MA course, said: "Mary-Lu now joins an internationally recognised group of scholars of popular music studies."

Besides her recent achievement, Zahalan-Kennedy won a Juno award in 1983 for Canada's most promising female vocalist. She has released three albums and teaches at Ontario's Sheridan College