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People

Meet the Beatles

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From Titan Magazine (Summer 2003)

Dennis Anderson
Dennis Anderson

Almost everyone in the theater was born after 1966, some even after 1976, but the students in lecturer Dennis Anderson’s “Music of the Beatles” class were busy taking notes and mouthing the words to Rubber Soul. Anderson explained, one track a time, why this particular mid-’60s album was a turning point in the musicology of the Fab Four.

“This was the most original work they did before Sgt. Pepper, and was just the tip of the iceberg in a period where they started exploring introspective lyrics,” says Anderson. “Listen to ‘Girl’—John’s answer to Paul’s ‘Michelle’—the lyrics are so dark, but it’s a happy-sounding song.” The students take more notes as he stops and restarts songs to explain different chords, innovative recording tricks and other unique JPG&R trademarks. “Each song on the album boasts something unique and unexpected … The norm was Simon and Garfunkel, Beach Boys and Bob Dylan.”

Anderson, who graduated from CSUF in 1974 with a degree in music with a specialization in composition, went on to earn a master’s degree in composition at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and was awarded two Fulbright scholarships to the Music Academy in Krakow, Poland. A songwriter, musician and journalist, he worked in Nashville in the ’80s, returned to California in ’92, and has taught at CSUF for 11 years.

Anderson also teaches the “History of Rock” class as a general education course most of his time at Fullerton, “but with just a semester-long course, I couldn’t cover one-tenth of what I wanted to teach about the Beatles.”

His message isn’t lost on the fans who are too young to remember the day John Lennon died. “I thought I knew a lot before I came to this class,” says 20-year-old Jonathan Martinez ’05. “I think I might go into sound engineering. Studying the Beatles’ recording techniques in this class helps me out—since they were just brilliant.”


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