The 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

2017-06-01_1000 Beatles 1967Baby Boomer nostalgia for this sacred cow of an album is in overdrive, but when is Baby Boomer nostalgia of any kind not in overdrive? The most obnoxiously self-reverential generation there has ever been and hopefully ever will be. Anyway, Sgt. Pepper’s is a great record, albeit with some serious flaws. It certainly was one of several discs released around that time that changed the musical landscape, and the one that most captured the public imagination … but not the be-all and end-all as so many Beatle purists demand we believe. If we’re being honest, the Beatles were piggybacking on the psychedelic rock trends that were already prominent in places like London and San Francisco: Artists such as Cream, Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, the Jefferson Airplane, the Mamas and the Papas, Procol Harum, Pink Floyd, and many more that were already making their mark by the time of Sgt. Pepper’s release. The Beatles’ primary rivals in the Rolling Stones had also begun experimenting with the psychedelic sound on the Between the Buttons record, though nowhere to the same extent or to the same results as the Beatles. It also must be noted that Paul McCartney, among others, has made it no secret that it was the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds – a far superior record – that was the primary inspiration to make Sgt. Pepper’s.

The album has some great moments, for sure, and a lot of vaudeville-references, mostly from Sir McCartney, that are always fun. The one-two punch of ‘Lovely Rita’ and ‘Good Morning Good Morning’ are particular favorites of mine. ‘A Day in the Life’ is an indisputable all-time masterpiece in any genre of music, no questions asked. As for the warts, look no further than the first track on side two: Five minutes of pure torture; thanks for nothing, George Harrison. And I’ll take Joe Cocker’s rendition of ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ a million times over Ringo’s. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is at once an essential piece of rock history and grossly overrated. A classic work, but not the absolute best of its era and perhaps not even the Beatles’ best work (I’m rather partial to Revolver, and if it weren’t for the overbearing closing suite and the goofy Ringo-number, Abbey Road would destroy Sgt. Pepper’s. But that is all subjective) …

Copyright 2017, Sunking278. Stay up-to-date: Twitter – @Sunking278 and Facebook – click here.


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