The_Beatles_-_Sgt._Pepper_s_Lonely_Hearts_Club_Band

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The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band


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1570


Summary:
The Beatles 1967 album Sgt Pepper is often cited as the most influential and important album of all time. In
what I consider to be a reactionary backlash to this praise Sgt Pepper is also often cited as one of the most
over rated albums of all time.


This year this monumental album turns 40 years old. So where does it stand now? In 2003 Rolling Stone
magazine ranked it as the #1 album of all time. It doesn’t fair quite as well on the popular music rating
website Rate Yo...



Keywords:
beatles, sgt pepper, the beatles, sgt. pepper\'s lonely hearts club band



Article Body:
The Beatles 1967 album Sgt Pepper is often cited as the most influential and important album of all time. In
what I consider to be a reactionary backlash to this praise Sgt Pepper is also often cited as one of the most
over rated albums of all time.


This year this monumental album turns 40 years old. So where does it stand now? In 2003 Rolling Stone
magazine ranked it as the #1 album of all time. It doesn’t fair quite as well on the popular music rating
website Rate Your Music where it ranks #27 of all time which is behind four other Beatles classic albums
Revolver (#1), Abbey Road (#2), The White Album (#10), and Rubber Soul (#21).


Personally while it’s not my favorite Beatles album (that honor has to go to The White Album) I do believe
it is the most important and most influential album of all time and I do rank it above Revolver, Abbey Road,
and Rubber Soul.


I’ve heard some people say it doesn’t hold up well with time but I disagree entirely. I think this album is
absolutely timeless. I don’t think the songs sound like they are from the 1960s necessarily. They sound like
they are from the future and the past simultaneously.


I believe all 13 songs from this album to be absolutely essential to the album and this is a very rare thing.
What set this album apart from most of the albums that came before it is that it truly plays like an album.
While definitely somewhat in debt to The Beach Boys classic Pet Sounds, Sgt Pepper takes things a big leap
forward. In many ways I still feel that Sgt Pepper is the perfect cohesive album. It doesn’t take the
“concept” and wear it thin but it also holds together as one work very well despite, and maybe because, the
fact that the songs are of such varying styles.


Song by Song Breakdown:


#1 Sgt Pepper


The album starts off with the crowd noise which goes into the first song which shares the same name as the
album: “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” This is a great song and also sets up the rest of the album
as part of this loose concept of watching a band perform. This is all made to come together even more by
the later inclusion of the Reprise of this song! Paul McCartney came up with the idea of the Beatles
pretending to be this different band. The idea being that they could really branch out into all sorts of
different styles with no limitations. They could also break free of their image. There’s quite a few layers to
the idea but it’s also a very simple idea that isn’t overbearing unlike some later prog rock attempts at
“concept albums.”


#2 With A Little Help From My Friends


This track was written by lead songwriters and singers Paul McCartney and John Lennon specifically for the
drummer Ringo Starr to sing. This adds another layer to the lyric “I get by with a little help from my
friends.” This song was a hit for Joe Cocker (his cover version was used on television program The Wonder
Years.) It also contains a reference to marijuana with the line “I get high with a little help from my friends.”


#3 Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds


This song is inspired by LSD in my opinion although Lennon denied this and said it was merely inspired by
his son’s painting. Many years later McCartney admitted the influence of LSD on this track. This song is
often cited as a prime example of 1960s psychedelic music. Besides the other worldly fantastical lyrics the
song has a dreamy quality to both the music and the vocals. This song uses a flange effect on the drums and
the bass is very prominent in the mix.


#4 Getting Better


There’s so many great things about this track I have a hard time deciding what to talk about first. One thing
that really does stand out for me though is use of sitar in this track. It’s subtle and yet very effective. A
great example of the sort of unique tracks on this album that don’t really have any direct comparison to
anything else in rock music, even to this day. I think the sharp down stroke style used on the guitars in this
track has been extremely influential in rock to this day.


#5 Fixing A Hole
This is another amazingly unique song that has so many layers and so much to discover. I’m still hearing
new things in it now and I must have listened to it over 1000 times. The harmony vocals are absolutely
incredible (listen to the right side)


#6 She’s Leaving Home


This song features McCartney and Lennon on vocals but no Beatles play in the instrumentation. The song
was scored for classical musicians. The twists and turns in this album are startling but they somehow all
make sense. So much variety. All beautifully and masterly done.


#7 Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite


Lennon got all of the lyrics off of an old circus poster he had. A great example of the avante garde attitude
of the Beatles at the time. I like to picture this as the wild place she goes after she leaves home. I don’t hear
60s when I listen to this track. I hear another time, another place. A warped distorted but still very relevant
version of our own reality. This song is absolute psychedelic weirdness. It’s overflowing with ideas and
imagination. The instrumental breakdown after “Henry the Horse Dances the Waltz” and at the end of the
track includes bits of real circus sounds which were all cut up and taped back together randomly. This type
of thing you could do quite easily today with Pro Tools but in 1967 it was a very inventive and creative
technique. The way it was done also lends to it a timeless quality that isn’t connected to any particular
recording technique or trick. This sort of experimentation has been very influential on countless artists.


#8 Within You Without You


This is probably the least popular song on the album amongst your average rock fan because unfortunately
too many people have a hard time opening their minds towards other types of music. This song, just like
“She’s Leaving Home”, features no Beatles on the instrumentation. The music is all recorded by Indian
musicians under the direction of George Harrison. Harrison sings and wrote the music. This song to me is
absolute essential to the album. “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite” should have opened your mind a little
bit but this one should really blow your mind right out of your head. You are now in a completely different
world. This is an album that deftly takes you all over the world with an incredible journey through the
middle of your mind. I really don’t think I’m overstating this or exaggerating. I simply feel if you don’t
hear this, then you haven’t really listened to this album and fully experienced it. I think in some ways this is
the most psychedelic song on the album. It’s a true journey and it’s very beautiful. I believe the laughing at
the end of the album symbolizes your average person who laughs at things that are different or thoughtful.


#9 When I’m 64


As of this writing Paul McCartney is actually 64. As far as out as the last track takes you, this one places
you right back somewhere else entirely. Such a strange trip, isn’t it? This is another song of many on this
album that is not guitar based. The Beatles really were experimenting with instrumentation a lot on this
album. This instrumental experimentation has been extremely influential on many bands


#10 Lovely Rita


This is just an excellent fun song. The lyrics are fantastic. There are so many just out of this world sounds
going on, really listen to everything going on in the mix. And for God’s sake, listen to the reverb on those
backing vocals. Awesome. I also just absolutely love the way this song ends with all of the weird
vocalizations with the delay. They’re just having a great time making this track that enjoyment directly
leads right into my ears.


#11 Good Morning Good Morning


This is probably my least favorite track on the album if I have to choose one. That being said it’s still a
great song. I’m a big fan of the time changes and of Paul McCartney’s searing Hendrix like guitar solo.


#12 Sgt Pepper (Reprise)


The sound of a rooster leads directly into a guitar squeal. One of the coolest segues ever. This version of
Sgt Pepper is like the first except it rocks a lot harder. This is a great way to tie together the album and lead
into the grand finale.


#13 A Day In The Life


This may be the greatest song ever written. In my opinion it is just that. Certainly a fantastic way to end an
album. The orchestral buildups are genius and perfectly capture the feelings that could never be put into
words. The song itself is can sometimes sound deceptively simple but there’s so much nuance. So much
you can hear even on the 1000th listen.




cells

				
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posted:9/14/2011
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