|Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band|
|Story Behind the Album|
| Sgt. Pepper is known as the best album ever made by the Beatles, and is often a standard many groups compare themselves to today. The album was a huge success and is the epitome of the psychedilic, tumultuous year of 1967. The Beatles by now have already used new ideas, but for this album the whole thing was a new idea, and each track was very innovative.
Like Revolver, the Beatles were using new sounds and being influenced in many ways, particularly by drugs. But there were key changes in the end of 1966, that allowed for Sgt. Pepper to be made. The first one was the end of touring for the Beatles. This is due to a number of things like, they were tired of the mania, they didn't play as well as they had hoped and, more so than the rest was the hatred they were receiving from comments John made about christianity. He made the statements innocently, as a fact, but there were great repercussions in the U.S., and the Beatles were threatened and ended touring. Another scary incident in the Philipines also made the Beatles think twice about touring. They did not show up for a dinner with the first lady, and were hated for snubbing her. They were then attacked and nearly did not make it out alive. For these reasons the Beatles, and the ones stated earlier, the Beatles decided to quit touring and work in the studio.
The Beatles decided that since they would not go out on to promote the album, or travel to people, the album would have to function in their place. Paul then came up with the idea of having a concept album, and the idea blossomed from there. The next idea was to have themself perform as another band, which gives them artistic freedom as well as a different attitude towards the songs, hence the name of the album. Another key difference, in regards to the previous material, is the songwriting content. Not only are John's songs acid laced, but so are Paul's, and George's bear the influence of Indian music.
The packaging of the album was also something without precedent. Inside the album there was a series of cutouts for the listener to "play" with, and join in on the fun of changing identity,and joining in. For the first time in rock and roll, the words to the songs were in the sleeve of the album, this would ensure that people knew what the Beatles were saying. Lastly, the cover was of huge importance. On the cover there is a collage of all the artist's and people admired by the Beatles. They are wide ranging, so I won't list them, but it makes for an impressive sight. Because of their eccentricities, the Beatles chose some that had to be omittted for they may offend people like Hitler, Jesus and Gandhi. In front of the huge collage are four Beatles, dressed up in suits, each holding an instrument, and looking very spaced out (it is said that John and at least one other Beatle was tripping during the photo sessions). Next to them are the mop-top Beatles of the past looking down into a mock grave, that says "The Beatles". This is as though the Beatles of before have died, and now these strange appearing men have taken there place. Through out the rest of the cover are various imagines from statues to Shirley Temple.
Besides all of these changes it is the music that is deserving of special attention. On this album, Paul provides the most songs, with a collaboration with John on "With a Little Help From My Friends" written for Ringo. Since the concept was Paul's it isn't surprising that the title track and the reprise were both written by him. Also written Paul is the un-Beatle like "When I'm 64" which is sort of contemporary vaudville, and great songs like "Getting Better", "Fixing A Hole", and "She's Leaving Home." The latter of these is a beautiful song, partly written by John (the parental response), but a point of interest is that this is the only song that is not scored by George Marting when he produced the album.
John provides great contributions as well, although they do not go with the concept. His songs are much more pyschedilic and complicated for George Martin, particulary "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite". The sound that provides the carnival feel, was a very complicated sound to achieve. George Martin received much acclaim for his contributions to the album, like changing the chicken clucking into a guitar not and the orchestration to the magnifescent "A Day In The Life".
Other great Lennon songs are the banned "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds, it was banned due to a belief that it is an acronym for LSD, as well as "Good Morning, Good Morning". The best known song on the album, and maybe the best of all Beatles songs, is "A Day in the Life". John wrote most of it, besides the chorus and one line. He got the song from the newspaper, as it is a story of an heir who was killed in a car crash, as well as what else was in the paper. The song begins beautifully,as John mellowly tells the story as if in a fog, or from the point of view of someone dreamining. Paul's contribuiton was the line that got the songs banned by the BBC, "I'd love to turn you on"(reference to acid) and it allows for the rising of the first bars to lead into Paul's contribution of a chorus. He then tells the story of an average day for someone, who then slips back into the dream, and we have a serious of bars of orchestra that leads back into John's verse, that does not reallly make sense, it's is about filling holes in the road. Then we have a powerful end note, played by many people at once, and it slowly fades out , ending the record.
Sgt. Pepper moved rock and roll to more than music, it was now an art, possessing qualities that would force it's reader to ponder it's meaning and symbolism. The album was a huge success, and from this point on the Bealtes would be experimenting continuously changing styles. Sgt. Pepper was a great cultural phenomenon, and is regarded as the greatest album ever, even though it has been outsold a number of times. It cannot be underrated and had significant impact on the culture that embraced the album as theire anthem, as it supported what they bleievd in. Sgt. Pepper is certainly an album of great importance.
| 1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's 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 [Harrison]
9. When I'm 64
10. Lovely Rita
11. Good Morning Good Morning
12. Sgt. Pepper (reprise)
13. A Day In The Life