The creative process of The Beatles revisited

A multi-level analysis of the interaction between individual and collaborative creativity


  • Yrjö Heinonen University of Turku



The Beatles, George Martin, creativity, songwriting, arranging, recording


Much of both popular and academic writing about creativity in popular music has been characterized by a conflict between commercial production and artistic creativity. On the one hand, creativity has been explored with reference to the large-scale structure of the popular music industry. On the other hand, much of the writing has been based on a Romantic or individualist notion of creativity, explicit for example in the auteur theory. This line of writing has certainly been popular with respect to The Beatles. Drawing on recent research on creativity in popular music and organizational research, the article challenges this dichotomy by focusing on the interaction between individual creativity and different forms of collaborative creativity in the production of The Beatles’ records.

Author Biography

Yrjö Heinonen, University of Turku

Yrjö Heinonen is Senior Lecturer in Musicology (University of Turku, Finland) and Adjunct Professor in Contemporary Culture Studies (University of Jyväskylä, Finland). His doctoral dissertation (1995) explored the songwriting and recording practices of The Beatles as a compositional process. During 1997–2001 he led the BEATLES 2000 Research Project and acted as the editor-in-chief of the Beatlestudies series (1–3). In 2000 he chaired the international cross-disciplinary BEATLES 2000 Conference in Jyväskylä.


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How to Cite

Heinonen, Y. (2015). The creative process of The Beatles revisited: A multi-level analysis of the interaction between individual and collaborative creativity. Popular Music History, 9(1), 32–47.