ARTIST: The Beatles
TITLE: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
YEAR RELEASED: 1967
CHART ACTION: #1 US, #1 UK
SINGLES: None, really, but it didn’t matter
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: A Day in the Life is probably the most famous song here, but you know most of the others.
LINEUP: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr with George Martin and Geoff Emerick putting together the soundscapes.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: At the time, supposedly revolutionary and the kickstarter to the ‘summer of love’, but in reality it was just a more focused version of psychedelic experiments the Beatles and others had been doing.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There have been books written about this record, and not just fluff pieces. It is probably the most known popular music album in history. Yet, it’s overrated as a whole yet parts of it are woefully underrated and ignored.
There’s fluff and saccharine (“She’s Leaving Home”, “When I’m 64”), and some of the songs aren’t as strong as others since they had constrained themselves to a concept of sorts. The pacing isn’t quite there thanks to those interruptions of treacle. Yet, some tracks are definitely brilliant, and others (“Within You, Without You”, “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”) deserve more acclaim than they sometimes get.
While other bands had certainly attempted some of these ideas, themes, and sounds before, only the Beatles, with George Martin and Geoff Emerick, put together something as cohesive as they could. It definitely is a landmark in popular music – just not the best album of that year nor of the Beatles’ career.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: It only hit #7 in France…what gives?
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, they have now released a remastered version with some outtakes that are familiar to those who have other Beatles anthology collections.
GRADE: A: There are a couple songs I loathe, and I think the conceit of the concept doesn’t work as well in terms of flow. Quibbles, I suppose, when all is said and done.