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The oldies are still the best-just!

Help scientists create the biggest database of autobiographical Beatles related memories ever attempted by taking part in the magical memory tour.


While the Beatles still claim the record for having the most No. 1 US singles, singer Mariah Carey has just beaten Elvis Presley to second place. However, there’s one record that was set this time 44 years ago that is likely never to be broken – and again the Beatles hold the crown.

During the week of April 4 1964 they occupied the top five positions on Billboard’s Top Pop Singles chart – from ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ at number 1, to ‘Please, Please Me’ at number 5. April 15 1970 brought sadder news for Beatles fans when Paul McCartney announced that he was quitting the group.

Whether you remember these iconic dates with fondness or sadness, or have other Beatles-related memories, you can help scientists at the University of Leeds create the biggest database of ‘autobiographical memories’ ever attempted by taking part in the Magical Memory Tour.

This online survey, devised by psychologists Professor Martin Conway and Dr Catriona Morrison from the Leeds Memory Group, aims to enhance our understanding of human memory by uncovering the role the Beatles and their music play in our personal histories.

Psychologists know that certain cues are successful at triggering the recollection of events from our lives – our ‘autobiographical memories’. Music in particular has a strong emotive and recollective power in relation to our long-term memory.

Whilst the majority of memory studies look at ‘flash-bulb’ events such as the shuttle disaster this will be the first time psychologists have attempted to gather a huge database of memories by tapping into the unique global influence the Beatles have in shaping our personal identities. As global pop icons, the impact of the life, times and music of the Beatles spans different generations, countries and cultures.

The results of the Magical Memory Tour will help further our understanding of how children develop a capacity for memory, how adults process memory and how memory changes in older adulthood.

The survey is aimed at anyone, anywhere, who has a memory relating to the Beatles – you don’t have to be a fan to get involved! Participants should think about the first thing that comes to mind from their life that is related to the Beatles. It may be a very vivid memory relating to a particular album, song, news story - or even band member.

At www.magicalmemorytour.com participants will have the opportunity to input their own memories and explore other people’s. They can find out which albums evoke the most memories; which songs evoke positive or negative memories; which news events are most vividly remembered.


Launched in partnership with the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science), the results for the survey will be announced at the BA Festival of Science (6-11 September) in Liverpool. 

Martin Conway says: ‘One of the things we hope to analyse is which Beatles’ cues trigger the most memories, and why. Is it a song, album, or news event? And does this very vivid memory depend upon the age you were when the memory event occurred, or is it more closely related to how strongly you feel about the Beatles or the memory itself?’

Sue Hordijenko, Director of Programmes at the BA, says: ‘We are thrilled that Liverpool is to host our annual Festival of Science this September and as a celebration of the City’s status as European Capital of Culture we want everyone who has a memory to share about the Beatles to log on to the Magical Memory Tour website and play their part in creating a scientific legacy of how human memory relates to Liverpool’s most famous sons.’

This year’s BA Festival of Science is organised in partnership with the University of Liverpool and the Greater Merseyside SETPOINT. It is supported by the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, the Liverpool Culture Company and the Northwest Regional Development Agency.

Magical Memory Tour is specifically supported by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC) along with the Beatles Story.

For further information please contact:
Lisa Hendry, Press Officer, the BA                                                                   
Tel: 020 7019 4946
Email: [email protected]


Help scientists create the biggest database of autobiographical Beatles related memories ever attempted by taking part in the magical memory tour. Click here



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