The Beatles at Sixty: Music, Legend, Aftermath


At the heart of popular culture in the Sixties were The Beatles, the most successful and innovative guitar group. Their music both reflected and shaped many cultural contrasts of the Sixties: tradition and innovation, the Establishment and the counter-culture, the group and the individual, materialism and spirituality. The level of engagement with their history shows little sign of declining, as demonstrated by the success of Peter Jackson’s massive Get Back documentary and Paul McCartney’s headlining set at Glastonbury in 2022.

This day school reflects on The Beatles’ achievement and legacy sixty years from their first LP. Using audio, film and photographs, the four sessions trace the band’s recording history, delving into the factors which characterise their songs and continue to reach a global and cross-generational audience. This is an exploration of how The Beatles developed that music, from the relatively simple recordings of 1963 to the ambitious 4-track arrangements of 1967 and beyond to Abbey Road’s 8-track. New details will emerge in familiar songs to show how the group created an expressive musical vocabulary. Particular attention will be given to the artistry of such milestones as Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the ‘Long Medley’.

The day will also consider the broader significance of the ‘psychedelic moment’ in 1967-68 when popular music touched a new frontier of consciousness. It concludes with an overview of The Beatles’ reputation and legacy since 1980, looking at significant publications and releases, and reflections on the archetypal myths and magnetism of their story.

Programme details

Registration (in-person attendees only)

Tuning up, 1963-65: From Liverpool and ‘Love Me Do’ to the world 


Turning on, 1966-67: Sgt Pepper, magical mysteries and the ‘psychedelic moment’


Turning back, 1968-70: Revolution, from India to Abbey Road and the ‘Long Medley’


Re-mix, re-master, re-vision, 1980 to the present: the afterlife of The Beatles’ history and catalogue

Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition - in-person attendance (includes tea/coffee) £85.00
Tuition - virtual attendance £75.00
Baguette £6.10
Hot lunch (three courses) £16.50


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Rikky Rooksby


Rikky Rooksby has a PhD in English literature, and tutors for OUDCE including a five-day Beatles course on the Oxford Experience summer school. He is a guitar teacher and composer, and author of many articles and books on guitar music, including a 12-volume songwriting series. He transcribed/arranged the Beatles Complete Chord Songbook, has written DNB entries on George Harrison and other rock musicians, and is supervising a new account of The Beatles’ tours of 1966.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms. Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.

IT requirements

For those joining us online

We will be using Zoom for the livestreaming of this course. If you’re attending online, you’ll be able to see and hear the speakers, and to submit questions via the Zoom interface. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

Please note that this course will not be recorded.