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updated: 3/7/2014 11:26 PM

Beatlemania takes over Harper College class

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  • From left, Rick Vittenson, Greg Herriges and Jeff Murphy celebrate The Beatles during a Harper College class with a live performance of their own.

      From left, Rick Vittenson, Greg Herriges and Jeff Murphy celebrate The Beatles during a Harper College class with a live performance of their own.
    Courtesy of Harper College

 
Submitted by Harper College

The Fab Four's U.S. Invasion and appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" remains a cultural phenomenon 50 years later.

To celebrate the milestone, Harper College Professor Greg Herriges and co-teacher Tony Romano planned a special day for their class, "Rock and Roll: The Beatles."

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On Tuesday, March 4, Jeff Murphy of the rock band Shoes -- one of the first bands ever to be played on MTV when the channel launched in 1981 -- visited the class for a celebration of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," The Beatles' seminal album and arguably one of the greatest of all time.

A 40-year recording industry veteran, Murphy spoke to the class about the various production techniques used in the recording of "Sgt. Pepper" and said he credits The Beatles with getting him started as a musician.

"You can't overstate the impact The Beatles had on the culture at that time," Murphy told the class. "(Shoes) realized the fantasy we had of being in a band and it was inspired by what they had done."

Murphy played clips from the album and joined Herriges and his rock duo Athanor for a live performance of The Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends."

Romano, a past Author of the Year by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English, did a reading from his new novel "Because the Sky is Blue." The chapter focuses on a young boy hearing "Sgt. Pepper's" for the first time in 1967.

Herriges and Romano dedicate an entire day each year to "Sgt. Pepper's" during their Beatles class, which explores the wealth of lyrics, original stories, critical analyses, film scripts, movies, music and essays created by or in response to the band.

"This class is a celebration and a real learning opportunity when it comes to composition, documentation and literary analysis," Herriges said. "And because it's Beatle-related, it is more than just a little bit fun."

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