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THE BEATLES - SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
(1967)

'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' is often regarded as the greatest pop and rock album ever made, and also as an unsurpassed example of a concept album, though it wasn't really a concept album!

This album came out during the middle of The Beatles golden period of creativity - after 'Rubber Soul' and 'Revolver', and before 'The White Album' and 'Abbey Road', and showed the Fab Four's bold inventiveness.

Indeed, an album beginning with an upbeat, offbeat song about a Sgt. Pepper, leading into Billy Shears and Ringo Starr's gentle rendition of 'With A Little Help From My Friends'. It's from there, though, that the concept part of the album breaks down, though when Ringo sings, "get high with a little help from my friends" at the end, then in's a clue that something psychedelic may follow. And what a wonderful masterpiece it is, as John Lennon's love of words is utilised to the full in 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds', which remains one of The Beatles most popular songs. The underrated Paul McCartney rocker 'Getting Better' follows, then the dreamy 'Fixing A Hole' - one of the weaker songs on the album.

The mini musical soap opera 'She's Leaving Home' sees Paul's voice, and dramatic, beautiful strings and mellifluous harp, bring the haunting lyrics to a wonderful pitch of searing emotion. The counterpointing between Paul and John is also superb. Another masterpiece. 'Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!' is another unique song - psychedelia at the circus, and vivid lyrics!

George Harrison's rather profound slice of Indian-influenced mysticism, 'Within You Without You', begins side 2 of the original vinyl album, which is then followed by the lovable eccentricity of two gentle favourites 'When I'm Sixty-Four' and 'Lovely Rita'. A rooster then crows his head off introducing 'Good Morning, Good Morning'. A song about everything and nothing, with John being playfully enigmatic. A menagerie ends things, and a clucking chicken introduces a vibrant 'Sgt. Pepper' reprise, ingeniously blending into the opening note. A nod at George for some lively guitar work on these two tracks. 'A Day In The Life' is a suitably magical finish to the album, with lyrics about every aspect of life amidst spellbinding sounds. John Lennon's vocals are as entrancing as they had ever been up to this point with The Beatles, and Paul's jaunty middle section is a neat contrast.

Sergeant Pepper, Billy Shears, Lucy, Mr. Kite, Rita...All life is here in this musical English fairytale for all times!

- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.

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booksmusicfilmstv.com Classic Albums - Reviews

The Beatles - Abbey Road
The Beatles - Revolver
The Beatles - Rubber Soul
The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles - The Beatles/The White Album

Blur - Parklife

David Bowie - Aladdin Sane
David Bowie - Diamond Dogs
David Bowie - Hunky Dory
David Bowie - Outside
David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
Kate Bush - Hounds Of Love

Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head
The Doors - The Doors
Green Day - American Idiot
Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV
Maroon5 - Songs About Jane
The Moody Blues - Days Of Future Passed
Morrissey - You Are The Quarry
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells

PIL/Public Image Ltd. - Flowers Of Romance
Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon
Pink Floyd - The Wall
Queen - A Night At The Opera

Stereophonics - Performance And Cocktails
10cc - How Dare You
Travis - The Man Who
The Verve - Urban Hymns

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SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND FACTOIDS & MYTHOLOGY

Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Album Cover

'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' was inspired by a painting by John's son Julian.
John Lennon had a poster depicting a Victorian circus, and this was the inspiration for 'Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!'
According to The Who frontman Roger Daltrey, Jimi Hendrix played the 'Sgt. Pepper' album backstage at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival.
'Pet Sounds', the 1966 Beach Boys classic album, inspired, according to Paul, The Beatles to raise their game, and their answer was 'Sgt. Pepper'.
The Indian musicians on George's 'Within You Without You' were based in London.
George was the only Beatle to play and sing on the track.
Much to George Martin's chagrin (he was busy recording elsewhere), Mike Leander took the plaudits for the string arrangement on 'She's Leaving Home'.
All 'Sgt. Pepper' songs were recorded at Abbey Road, using mono, stereo and 4-track recorders.
'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'Penny Lane' - two of The Beatles best ever singles - were left off 'Sgt. Pepper'.
Peter Blake designed the 'Sgt. Pepper' cover, which is probably the most recognisable album cover in the history of music.
Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, and Adolf Hitler were all left off the album cover.
Paul and George wore their MBEs on their jackets on the inside cover photo.
'Mal Evans counted out the bars on 'A Day In The Life' - 1 to 24. An alarm clock sounded to signal the end of the section.
'Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!' consisted of some interesting circus sounds, and, trying to imitate a hand-operated steam organ, recording engineer Geoff Emerick worked some magic with some calliope tapes of Sousa marches.
The Paul section of 'A Day In The Life' is autobiographical, and refers to Paul sometimes taking the bus to school, and falling asleep on the journey.
Sounds Inc played on 'Good Morning, Good Morning'.

- Paul Rance.


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The Beatles Sgt. Pepper T-Shirt


Matt's Beatles Lyrics page has images, midi, chat, forum, bass tabs, Realaudio, lyrics to every song, drum tabs, guitar tabs, piano and keyboard tabs, sound clips, sheet music, bio and links.

 

'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' Track Listing
(All Lennon-McCartney songs unless otherwise stated)

Side One
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
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!


Side Two
Within You Without You (Harrison)
When I'm Sixty-Four
Lovely Rita
Good Morning, Good Morning
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
A Day In The Life

 

 

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