39. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts 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
9. When I’m Sixty-Four
10. Lovely Rita
11. Good Morning Good Morning
12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
13. A Day in the Life
Who is/are The Beatles?
I’m going to assume most readers will know the answer to this. I can’t remember a time I didn’t know who the Beatles were, and I was born ten years after they broke up.
Anyway, for the few of you who don’t know who the Beatles are, firstly, welcome to our planet, and secondly, here’s Wikipedia’s summary; “The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the foremost and most influential act of the rock era… The Beatles are the best-selling band in history, with estimated sales of over 600 million records worldwide. They have had more number-one albums on the British charts and sold more singles in the UK than any other act. According to the RIAA, the Beatles are also the best-selling music artists in the United States, with 178 million certified units.”
Not bad for four lads from Liverpool who were only together for ten years.
Why did you buy this album?
Way way back in the dim and distant mists of the tail end of last century, I was gainfully employed as a part time dogsbody by the British Library in King’s Cross. Our “office”, for want of a better word, had a CD player in which we were welcome to play anything we brought in.
On my way to work one morning, I detoured via the WHSmiths in Victoria Station, looking to kill some time as I was horrendously early. Going upstairs to the music/video department, I noticed a promotion on Beatles CDs, all recently re-released in slipcases. For some reason, the one remaining copy of ‘Sgt. Pepper‘ was a good £2 cheaper than all the other albums, so I snapped it up.
Upon arriving at work, encouraged by my colleagues (most of whom remembered it coming out the first time around), I put the CD in the player, hit play, followed by repeat-all, and there it remained for the rest of the day…
What’s it like?
This is the Beatles’ response to the Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds‘, which in itself had been prompted by the Beatles’ earlier ‘Rubber Soul‘. As such, it’s a concept album, framed around a performance by the fictional eponymous band, using a number of different musical styles throughout.
Each song is fantastic in its own right, with the possible exception of ‘Within You Without You‘ which is about three minutes too long, and the whole album sits together brilliantly, despite the disparate styles.
After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve listened to this album. I will never not like it. I’d would say it’s my favourite Beatles album, but that crown has since been taken by a later album…
Any stand-out tracks?
Where to start? Almost every track is superb, and my favourites change with each listen. Consistently top of the list though is ‘A Day in the Life‘, followed closely by, for today at least, ‘Getter Better‘, ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds‘, and ‘Good Morning Good Morning‘.
However, I can live without ‘Within You Without You‘. At 5mins 04secs it’s just too long…
Rating out of 10?
9/10. Loses a point for ‘Within You Without You‘.
Next up: The Beatles – Abbey Road