Year 4, Day 16: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
- With a Little Help from My Friends
- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
- Getting Better
- Fixing a Hole
- She’s Leaving Home
- Bring for the Benefit of Mr. Kite
- Within You Without You
- When I’m Sixty-Four
- Lovely Rita
- Good Morning Good Morning
- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)
- A Day in the Life
About the Album
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the eighth studio album from English rockers, the Beatles. The album was recorded from late November 1966 to mid-April 1967 and released on June 1st 1967 through Parlophone Records and Capitol Records. The album peaked at number one on numerous charts around the world, including the Billboard Top LPs and UK Albums Chart. It finished 1967 at 10th on the Billboard 200 and at the end 1968 it finished at 6th. The album is certified 11x Platinum by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). The album, as of 2014, has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.
Thoughts on the Album
There is generally one of two schools of thoughts regarding the Beatles. Either you like them and they are considered pioneers of rock and roll in the mainstream; or they are vastly overrated. I like them, but for me, some of their songs I just can’t get into. But I digress, we’ve talked enough about philosophy.
Today’s album is the eighth album from the Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. And where to begin to go about talking about this masterpiece of rock music? I’m sure at point in your life you have heard at least one song off this album. There’s the opener, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, With a Little Help from My Friends, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Getting Better, When I’m Sixty Four… just to name a few.
This album is a timeless classic that continues to withstand the test of time. Most people nowadays consider an album a “classic” after ten years. Yeah okay. But then again, I’m not going judge the age of the album to be considered “classic”. That said, Sgt. Pepper’s has been around for 49 years. It’ll be 50 years old next year. The album is still considered to be a pinnacle of rock music as it is also considered (one of ,if not) the most influential and commercially successful albums ever.
The genius of this album is the diversity. At no point when listening to this album does the diversity of the music sound forced. You can witness this through the track When I’m Sixty-Four as it’s almost like an extension of Within You Without You, but almost provides a gateway for the chiming guitar riffs of Lovely Rita. The track With a Little Help from My Friends is the prototypical Ringo Starr track as it’s a rolling, radio-friendly pop hit. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds remains to this day to be a keystone of British Psychedelia.
The opening and titular track, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band might just be the best opening track ever. The track almost immediately breaks the fourth wall, as they exclaim they are band about to begin a performance for the audience. The track has dueling brass and guitar riffs as Paul McCartney belts out a killer vocal performance. The track seamlessly segues into With a Little Help from My Friends, a jaunty track that bounces about innocently (unless you read deeply into the lyrics).
Then we get to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Fun side note, look carefully at the capitalized letters of name of this track. LSD. Yup. The track itself, I guess could be considered the godfather (and grandfather (?)) of the genre psychedelic rock. It’s an ethereal tune, noted by the mellotron in the intro of the song and the spaced-out lyrics. Transitioning into Getting Better, a track that is ingenious and simplistic. Given the time period, guitar styles and pulsating rhythms were still relative new… but they captured your ear and dragged you in. The vocal harmonies on this track are astonishing. But one of things about the Beatles were their ability to take something incredibly simple (idea or chord progression) and turn around and deliver it in a matter that would be considered either impossible or next to impossible.
Let’s be honest here, this album was an instant classic once it was released. Almost 50 years later, it’s now a timeless classic. There are certain albums that when released are automatically considered to be “classic”… an example of this is Nirvana’s Nevermind. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the album that broke all the rules regarding creating albums. Now bands had the freedom, for better or worse, to create just about any concept or idea. Ironically speaking, few have ever tried to recreate what the Beatles did on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album is a sweeping and all-encompassing embrace of music.
While one can and will argue that there better Beatles albums (again… not a time to be discussing philosophy), one can not deny the impact this album had on both music and pop-culture.