Beatles hits reveal how music helps recall vivid memories.

Music is a weird animal folks.  It really is the window to the soul.  It opens the floodgates of memory and emotion.  This is especially true with those groups that we hold so dear.  This couldn’t be more true than with our beloved Beatles.

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The memories of our own past are imprinted with the soundtrack of The Beatles.  You remember the first time you saw them on your television.  You remember the concerts that you saw.  You remember your first kiss as “Love Me Do” played in the background.  These memories come flooding back each time a tune flicks on the radio.  The scenes replay in your mind’s eye each time you hear them.

What is your most vivid memory that these songs evoke? Let us know in the comments below.  Here’s mine to get you started.

I remember the first time I really “got” The Beatles.  You see, I am a second generation fan. I remember my mom hitting my brother and I with one of those extended driveway moments.  You know those moments, the ones where you sit in the driveway to hear a song end.  Well, my mom kept us in the car for quite some time with the car running.  “Good Morning” had just started, and my brother and I were told to stay put and soak it in.  We listened to nearly the entire second-side of Sgt. Pepper’s.  In my 12-year old head I got the kaleidoscope of sound for the first time.  I was mesmerized.  It was something so foreign, and so cool to me.  By the time that “A Day in the Life” came on I was a bit terrified at the crescendo, but I was totally hooked.  It was totally eye-opening, and I have been hooked ever since.  I can remember the cracks in the driveway from that night.  I can remember how the ceiling in the car looked as I tried to soak-in the music.  It was earth shaking for me.

  • What’s your story? Let us know in the comments below.

Here’s what we’ve read.

Memories of the Beatles collected from around the world have helped scientists to understand how music can help us to tap into long forgotten events.

In the biggest online survey of personal memories ever conducted, more than 3,000 people recounted their most vivid memories relating to the 1960s pop band.

Participants ranged in age from 17 to 87 spanning 69 different nationalities in the six months study.

The aim was to see how Beatles associations shed light on the psychological effect of autobiographical memory.

‘Autobiographical memory is essential for our sense of self,’ said researcher Dr Catriona Morrison, from the University of Leeds.

Most respondents were ‘silver surfers’ between the ages of 55 and 65 who would have been in their teens during the Beatles hey day in the 1960s.

The memories showed an expected ‘reminiscence bump’ – a time in life which is remembered especially vividly and often coincides with the teenage years.

In the case of Beatles memories, the bump occurred somewhat earlier than usual, the scientists found.

‘What’s interesting is that the majority of memories cluster in the early teenage years,’ said Dr Morrison, who will outline the research at the British Association Festival of Science at the University of Liverpool.

‘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.’

The Beatles song that generated the most memory associations was ‘She Loves You’, the biggest selling single of the 1960s.

Although ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ sparked off the most memories for Americans.

However the researchers were struck by the similarity of moods, feelings, scenes and situations relayed by Beatles memories around the world.

‘We were so impressed with how vividly people could recall memories, sometimes from more than 40 years ago, especially when many eloquent and vivid memories appeared to have been little recalled in decades,’ said Dr Morrison.

‘This shows the power of music in shaping and reliving sometimes long-neglected memories.’

With the exception of John Lennon’s murder, memories were on the whole overwhelmingly positive.

Dr Morrison added: ‘We argue that music is more than auditory cheesecake. It’s a means by which people can account for themselves both as an individual and as part of society.’

Colleague Professor Martin Conway said it was possible that happy memories of the Beatles could be used therapeutically to help people suffering from depression.

Source: Daily Mail

7 Responses

  1. I will never forget the first time I heard Eleanor Rigby on the radio. I was about 11 or 12, and my mother had the “oldies” station on. I always liked oldies music, but my ears perked up as Eleanor Rigby played. It was unlike anything I’d ever heard, old or modern. It seemed so out of place among motown hits, tom jones, and the monkees. It gave me goosebumps. Naive me at the time had no idea who the band was, but when I found out soon thereafter, I was hooked for life. I’d loved the bits and pieces of standard Beatles hits since I was a child, but the true immersion began in my preteen years and grew from there beginning with that wonderful moment. My second favorite memory would be when I purchased the Sgt. Pepper album when I was about 13. I would save up my allowance and buy a new cd every couple weeks or so, and the night I bought Sgt. Pepper it was a rainy summer night. My mother went to bed early, so there I sat on my bedroom floor with headphones connected to my cd player as I heard most of the songs on the album for the very first time. It was then I knew that no other band ever could or would make my blood run exhilliratingly cold with joy and wonderment like the Beatles did. It was like seeing the world for the first time. I can not wait to pass that feeling on to my son someday. He’s due to be born in 3 weeks, and he’s going to be called Jude. I so look forward to making Beatles accompanied memories with him that he’ll cherish as long as he lives..

  2. As like a 3rd or 4th Beatle generation (i’m not even sure which one i am, im assuming 3rd)
    I don’t really have a Beatle memory. My dad being the huge beatles fan always had them playing around the house. I sort of grew up listening to them. I watch home videos of my dad coming home from work when i was a baby, and starts dancing with me to help! or whichever record was playing. Now 16 years later, my dad just fixed his old turn table and im sitting in my room listening to my dad’s beatles records at this very moment.

  3. well, im a 4th generation beatle lover too – i remember waaaaay back in 1987 when i heard twist and shout for the first time when i was 4. although my parents always had music playing, it was normally Queen or Bolero, the first time i heard it was at kindergarten. my kindy teacher was a beatles fan and used to play their older stuff while we were having ‘excercise’ time. the first time i heard it i went nuts. i remember running around in circles with all the other kids (used to do the same thing to mickey mouse aerobics – rememebr that? – and bolero) and the teachers smiling at us. its not an exciting story but i like telling ppl they were my fave band when i was 4.

    i also remembering singing “ticket to Rhye” when i was 5 and wondering why she was going to a place called rhye, where it was and y she didn’t care.

    most of all i will always remember hearing “I am the walrus” for the first time when i was 10 and that was it. hooked forever.

  4. I will never forget the first time I heard Eleanor Rigby on the radio. I was about 11 or 12, and my mother had the “oldies” station on. I always liked oldies music, but my ears perked up as Eleanor Rigby played. It was unlike anything I’d ever heard, old or modern. It seemed so out of place among motown hits, tom jones, and the monkees. It gave me goosebumps. Naive me at the time had no idea who the band was, but when I found out soon thereafter, I was hooked for life. I’d loved the bits and pieces of standard Beatles hits since I was a child, but the true immersion began in my preteen years and grew from there beginning with that wonderful moment. My second favorite memory would be when I purchased the Sgt. Pepper album when I was about 13. I would save up my allowance and buy a new cd every couple weeks or so, and the night I bought Sgt. Pepper it was a rainy summer night. My mother went to bed early, so there I sat on my bedroom floor with headphones connected to my cd player as I heard most of the songs on the album for the very first time. It was then I knew that no other band ever could or would make my blood run exhilliratingly cold with joy and wonderment like the Beatles did. It was like seeing the world for the first time. I can not wait to pass that feeling on to my son someday. He’s due to be born in 3 weeks, and he’s going to be called Jude. I so look forward to making Beatles accompanied memories with him that he’ll cherish as long as he lives..

  5. The first time I consciously “got” the Beatles was when I was twelve in 1979, June 26, and visiting Prague with my mom and sister. We visited Czech friends we met the previous year in Yugoslavia.
    My friend (13 at the time) had a cassette tape, which – he said, was secretly smuggled from Finland and copied many times. Up until that time I was not much into pop music – classic music was my thing – but I remember clearly standing in the Prague apartment listening to Strawberry Fields and Help. It struck me like lightning, like I immediately understood what the lyrics were about (Let me take you down, cause I’m going to…) – the Germans would call it Sternstunde.

  6. I had a vivid loss of memory after blacking out for 3 days after first listening to Sgt Pepper.

  7. i am first generation beatle fan and memories of them & their music always return me to my childhood.
    in 1964 when i was 7 years old i recall asking my mom..why could i remember all the words to the beatles songs, yet i had trouble remembering my math lesson that day in school!
    all these years later ~ i have every beatle album & song on my ipod, i can sing along remembering all the words..but i still am terrible at math!

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