Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s: June 1, 1967

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Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / With a Little Help from My Friends (9/16/78, #71 US, #63 UK) / Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds / Getting Better / Fixing a Hole / She’s Leaving Home / Being 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

Sales (in millions): 11.0 US, 5.0 UK, 32.0 world

Peak: 115 US, 127 UK


Review: With Sgt. Pepper, The Beatles birthed “the most...innovative piece of modern music the world had ever heard.” IB One might argue that there are better Beatles’ albums, “yet no album is as historically important as this. After Sgt. Pepper, there were no rules to follow.” AMG It “changed the course of popular music forever” CD with “its ambition, conceptual unity, drug references, elaborate cover art, [and] bizarre sound effects.” RS’97 It “led serious music lovers, many ‘classical snobs’ included, to finally recognize rock music” GS “as actual art.” AZ “Many people who had never bought a rock record bought Sgt. Pepper’s.” VH1

While previous albums were generally patchwork collections of hit singles and filler, The Beatles conceived this as “a complete listening experience.” TM Weary from touring, the Fab Four permanently retreated from stage to studio. Over the course of 700 hours of studio time CA and what has been called “the most creative 129 days in music history,” RV The Beatles crafted the album “like an aural experiment in some laboratory...changing tape speeds, experimenting with microphone placement, using unconventional instruments.” TM They “consciously synthesized...psychedelia, art-song, classical music, rock & roll, and music hall, often in the course of one song” AMG “yet, through the collective genius of these musicians, they are melded into a cohesive whole.” NRR

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Highlights include With a Little Help from My Friends, “a happy sing-along tune” CA and “possibly Ringo’s finest ever Beatles vocal.” AD Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is “one of the touchstones of British psychedelia,” AMG and A Day in the Life, an “avant-garde mini-suite” AZ which “may be the most ambitious song ever recorded, veering in unexpected directions and pushing the boundaries of experimentation.” RV

A Day in the Life

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