Friday, July 28, 2006

78. The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

Track Listing

1. Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. With A Little Help From My Friends
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
4. Getting Better
5. Fixing A Hole
6. She's Leaving Home
7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite
8. Within You Without You
9. When I'm Sixty Four
10. Lovely Rita
11. Good Morning Good Morning
12. Day In The Life


Ok, you must know this album. Really, if you don't, death is the least you deserve. Sticking needles under your nails while burning you with a hot iron on the soles of your feet followed by slow dismemberment is a more fitting punishment. You are excused if you've been living in a cave since the mid 60's. If you have, I am quite impressed with the Internet skills which led you here.

So, probably the most famous album in the world ever, usually the album that tops all the best album lists so forth and so on. And there is a reason for that it is a great album. Personally I have some difficulty in being very detached and analytical with it as I've lived all my life with it anywhere near me, I know all the lyrics by heart and this together with Magical Mystery Tour were on one of the tapes I carried around with me from the age of 7 to 15, this and Man Machine by Kraftwerk, I am weird.

So, trying to do some analysis on this... ok. It is a great album, one of the Fab Four's best although I really prefer Revolver over this one. And no I don't think that the Beatles were the best band ever, but they did pave the way to a load of stuff. Sgt. Pepper's is a particularly important album because it opened the door to a lot of artistic freedom in Pop, people and record companies realised that you can weird but still sell like crazy, you can have a very idiosyncratic album and still be a huge success, make a concept album but still produce hit singles. You know, you don't need to compromise for comerciality's sake.

It's a bit pointless for me to comment on the songs here, if you got to this blog you know them. But if for no other reason the doors that Sgt. Pepper's opened in the music business are cause enough to cherish these 40 minutes of brilliance. As a kid I remember being very confused by the fact that I couldn't tell the breaks between the songs and that fascinated me, as you get older there are plenty of things to fascinate here, but still the way each song leads perfectly into a completely different one makes me love this. Buy it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. A Day in The Life
2. She's Leaving Home (Look at the Beach Boys influence here)
3. Within You Without You (I'm a sucker for Harrison's Indian hippie crap)
4. Lovely Rita

Final Grade

9/10 (Revolver is better)



From Wiki

The celebrities and items featured on the front cover are (by row, left to right):

Top row:

* Sri Yukteswar Giri (guru)
* Aleister Crowley
* Mae West (actress)
* Lenny Bruce (comedian)
* Karlheinz Stockhausen (composer)
* W. C. Fields (comedian/actor)
* Carl Gustav Jung (psychologist)
* Edgar Allan Poe (writer)
* Fred Astaire (actor/dancer)
* Richard Merkin (artist)
* The Vargas Girl (by artist Alberto Vargas)
* Leo Gorcey (actor) (removed)
* Huntz Hall (actor)
* Simon Rodia (designer and builder of the Watts Towers)
* Bob Dylan (singer/songwriter)

Second row:

* Aubrey Beardsley (illustrator)
* Sir Robert Peel (British Prime Minister)
* Aldous Huxley (writer)
* Dylan Thomas (poet)
* Terry Southern (writer)
* Dion (singer)
* Tony Curtis (actor)
* Wallace Berman (artist)
* Tommy Handley (comic)
* Marilyn Monroe (actress)
* William S. Burroughs (writer)
* Sri Mahavatar Babaji (guru)
* Stan Laurel (comedian/actor)
* Richard Lindner (artist)
* Oliver Hardy (comedian/actor)
* Karl Marx (political philosopher)
* H.G. Wells (writer)
* Sri Paramahansa Yogananda (guru)
* Sigmund Freud (psychologist) - barely visible below Bob Dylan
* Anonymous (wax hairdresser's dummy)

Third row:

* Stuart Sutcliffe (artist/former Beatle)
* Anonymous (wax hairdresser's dummy)
* Max Miller (comedian)
* The Petty Girl (by Artist George Petty)
* Marlon Brando (actor)
* Tom Mix (actor)
* Oscar Wilde (writer)
* Tyrone Power (actor)
* Larry Bell (artist)
* Dr. David Livingstone (missionary/explorer)
* Johnny Weissmuller (swimmer/actor)
* Stephen Crane (writer) - barely visible between the hand above Paul McCartney's head, and the next head to the right
* Issy Bonn (comedian) - his hand is above McCartney's head
* George Bernard Shaw (playwright)
* H.C. Westermann (sculptor)
* Albert Stubbins (soccer Player)
* Sri Lahiri Mahasaya (guru)
* Lewis Carroll (writer)
* T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia")

Front row:

* Sonny Liston (boxer)
* The Petty Girl (by George Petty)
* Wax model - George Harrison
* Wax model- John Lennon
* Shirley Temple (actress and diplomat)
* Wax model - Ringo Starr
* Wax model - Paul McCartney
* Albert Einstein (scientist)
* John Lennon
* Ringo Starr
* Paul McCartney
* George Harrison
* Bobby Breen (singer)
* Marlene Dietrich (actress/singer)
* Gandhi (Indian Leader) (removed)
* Tin Tan (Mexican Actor) (Changed )
* Legionnaire from the Order of the Buffalos
* Diana Dors (actress)

Other objects within the group include:

* Cloth grandmother-figure by Jann Haworth
* Cloth Figure of Shirley Temple by Jann Haworth
* A Mexican candlestick
* A television set
* A stone figure of a girl
* Another stone figure
* A statue brought over from John Lennon's house
* A trophy
* A doll of the Indian goddess Lakshmi
* A drum skin, designed by fairground artist Joe Ephgrave
* A hookah, or water tobacco pipe
* A velvet snake
* Fukusuke, Japanese china figure
* A stone figure of Snow White
* A garden gnome
* A tuba

People who were originally intended for the front cover but were ultimately excluded:

* Jesus Christ (Removed because the LP would be released a few months after John Lennon's Jesus statement)
* Mahatma Gandhi (Removed because EMI felt that his presence would offend the Indian market)
* Leo Gorcey (Removed because he requested a fee)
* Adolf Hitler
* Elvis Presley (singer)
* Germán Valdés "Tin Tan" (Removed because he requested Ringo change him for a Mexican Tree)


Anonymous said...

Hey what a great site keep up the work its excellent.

Anonymous said...

Silva: Too bad you were not alive yet to understand the times and the biology of the beatles music. When Sgt Peppers came out it was a time of experimentation, with a crazy war and uptight people everywhere. It means more that the music to those of us who were alive during those caveman days. There are events in life like signposts that mark the start of a new era and the end of the old..the symbols of the people on the cover represent that fact on the album is/was old and new (for those times). Talk to some of us old dyno's and we will enlighten you...Steve

Anonymous said...

i think "She's Leaving Home" sounded similar to Bob Dylan's "Fourth Time Around" from Blonde on Blonde.