|1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (2009 - Remaster)|
|2. With A Little Help From My Friends (2009 - Remaster)|
|3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (2009 - Remaster)|
|4. Getting Better (2009 - Remaster)|
|5. Fixing A Hole (2009 - Remaster)|
|6. She's Leaving Home (2009 - Remaster)|
|7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite! (2009 - Remaster)|
|8. Within You Without You (2009 - Remaster)|
|9. When I'm Sixty Four (2009 - Remaster)|
|10. Lovely Rita (2009 - Remaster)|
|11. Good Morning Good Morning (2009 - Remaster)|
|12. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (2009 - Remaster)|
|13. A Day In The Life (2009 - Remaster)|
The reason it took 129 days to piece together isn’t due to the band’s indulgences – on the contrary, The Beatles were extremely disciplined during their studio sessions. It’s simply because guiding an album this complex to fruition in those days took a long time. These guys weren’t just recording songs; they were inventing the stuff with which to make this record as they went along.
But with George Martin and his backroom boys on hand, the Faberge psychedelic egg that was finally laid on the eve of the Summer of Love came so fully-realised that it changed the way we listened to recorded sound forever. Sgt Pepper’s… is at once warm and familiar, yet wild and strange; cosy and English with a very empirical eye on the exotica of the East (note George Harrison’s underrated Within You Without You). Shot through with Peter Blake-assisted Edwardiana, it was also as fashionable as it could possibly be.
It was also a release key in the canon of concept albums, coming with its own alter-ego mythology and very much addressing the pressing concerns of their generation, ie: how to achieve higher states of consciousness in 60s suburbia. It is riddled with The Beatles’ trademark love/hate affair with the Establishment as their own lives were suddenly shoved unceremoniously up against those of the chattering classes, encapsulated by She’s Leaving Home’s blow at straight parenthood, Lovely Rita’s suggestion of sexual deviancy, and A Day in the Life’s oblique references to minds being blown on buses in rush hour traffic.
Yet it’s all a far cry from the militancy of their American peers. Paul McCartney’s When I’m 64 is pure nostalgia for his parents’ golden age, one which was taken from them. It’s less a kicking out of the jams, more a spreading them on scones at teatime.
Yet what was revolutionary was the sonic carpet that enveloped the ears and sent the listener spinning into other realms. There was the nursery rhyme surrealism of Lucy in the Sky…, the crazed calliopes of Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite! and, of course, the lysergic collage of A Day in the Life, promising the meaning of life in its endless final chord. And it still rings on today. --Chris Jones
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It is a great shame that the other CDs were so miserably packaged.
The recording features a lot of other players and instruments besides The Beatles, including horns on the title track, weird-sounding harpsichord in Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, another string group, this time with harp, too, on She's Leaving Home, old-fashioned steam organs on Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite, a full Indian ensemble, but with orchestral strings as well on Within You, Without You, clarinets and tubular bell on When I'm 64, the saxophones, trumpets and trombones of Sounds Incorporated on Good Morning, Good Morning and then a full orchestra playing atonal, aleatoric crescendos on A Day in the Life.
The album features quite simple songs like With A Little Help From My Friends to songs with strange rhythms and keys like Within You, Without You and Good Morning, Good Morning.
It is a great album, but I think you have to be in the mood for it, whereas Rubber Soul always sounds fine.
It is only really a concept album in a loose sense, because the idea of it being a concert by Sgt Pepper's band is really only evident in the first two tracks, where the band is introduced and Sgt Pepper introduces Billy Shears, Billy [Ringo] singing With A Little Help From My Friends.
Then you have several songs not related to this theme at all, but after Within You, Without You the crowd laughs and reminds you that this is supposed to be a concert. Before the last song, Sgt Pepper's theme tune is reprised and we are thanked for being such a great audience. But this seems to be enough to hold the album together.
McCartney's great bass playing really shines on this album. It is so often melodic and interesting. When I first got the album, I sometimes listened to the album, focussing on the bass part.
Every song is interesting, and each has its own unique sound. Even the guitars and voices have been given a different sound for each song.
I still enjoy listening after 35 years.
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