Catching Up with Ken Womack

What is your favorite Beatles song—or album if is too hard to narrow down?

My favorite Beatles' album is The White Album. It never fails to enliven my senses with its stunning eclecticism and brash artistry.

Is there any other pop culture icon you would describe as similar to the Beatles in terms of cultural influence?

Only Shakespeare would qualify in terms of both massive critical acclaim and commercial success. The Beatles remain unchallenged for their success in both spheres of consideration.

Of all the research projects you've worked on, which was your favorite?

Working on the Beatles has been my favorite. Their artistic evolution is a deep field of study with many more layers still untapped and unexplored.

What direction do you see your field going in the future?

I believe that the study of popular music as an artistic expression with lasting ideals will continue to blossom. I look forward to future analyses of the Beatles and other worthy pop-cultural artifacts.

What is the biggest misconception about your field of research?

For some, popular music study seems unscholarly or lacking in terms of its research forcefulness. A number of recent University Press-level publications are diminishing that position considerably.

What are some of the most interesting research collaborations you've had the chance to work on here at Penn State?

I am very proud to have been part of the consortium that produced an international Bruce Springsteen conference, sponsored by Penn State, in 2005. This was a groundbreaking and highly successful effort on behalf of our research mission.

Last Updated April 26, 2011