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Book: The Beatles in Perspective

Chapter: 5. The Bohemian Beatles

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.25032


Although, in post-Leary psychedelic parlance, The Beatles had `tuned in’ and `turned on’ by 1967 (as was apparent in their interest in drugs and their modes) they had in various ways ‘dropped out’ of mainstream years earlier. This chapter considers The Beatles’ relationship to various countercultural influences and the broader terms of the ‘bohemian’. The group’s relationship to scenes and movements including the Beats, Hipster-Rockers and later, the Continental avant-garde. However, Colin Campbell argues here, it is a something of a mistake to conceive of the Beatles as having become bohemians. Rather it is suggested that, to a significant extent, they always were bohemians, or at least that bohemianism was a crucial part of their identity, and what is more, that this helps to account for their phenomenal success.

Chapter Contributors

  • Colin Campbell ( - ccampbell) 'University of York (Emeritus)'