Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: Still Amazing

This may not be a post that anyone under the age of 40 cares about, and yes, I do take into consideration that anything I write is apt to not be cared about. I continue to write though. Enough has been written about the Beatles and Sgt. Pepper over the years and it would be silly of me to try to find some new angle to come from on it. I would like to say that I listened to it again last night and it still resonates with me, perhaps more than it has in the past. 

When we talk about this album, it must be within the context of its time. We are used to eclectic instruments and complicated engineering in our music. We are used to grand and colorful cover designs. We don't think anything of veiled sexual, social, and/or drug references in our modern music. We are used to seeing grown men with long hair that dare to walk off the beaten path. So, when considering the album now, it can't be given the same measure of respect it was given in the late 1960's, but those who understand context should be able to appreciate it or all its greatness.  

The album changed the perception of what a rock and roll album could be and what was acceptable to mainstream music listeners. It was an album made by music lovers for music lovers. It's no one trick pony. You get it all here. It runs the spectrum of music and each song is vastly different from the next, yet retains a familiar flow. 

The Beatles are among the most culturally significant figures of the past forty years. They had a great effect on how music is made and thought about. Their influence is felt all through rock music. They also impacted how we dress, wear our hair, and talk. They erupted in the mid-60's and art through music blew up with them and brought an entirely new way to be creative. The shackles were off and what a glorious time it was for music. 

Being able to understand the impact of that album helps me appreciate it all the more. Paul McCartney really shines on this album. His voice was at its best, his bass lines drive much of the music, and his songwriting was peaking. John Lennon was a major player on the album also, along with producer George Martin. Ringo Starr and George Harrison made their contributions ,but this album was truly a showcase for what "could be" from the creative genius of Lennon and McCartney. 

If you own it, perhaps it would be a good time to put the headphones on, stretch out and let the world outside go on without you for 40 or so minutes. Let the album wash over you and carry you without regards to what is the standard now. The world of music went from black and white to color when this album was released, sort of like Dorothy opening up the door after the tornado on the Wizard of Oz! 

We were talking-about the love that's gone so cold and the people, 
Who gain the world and lose their soul- 
They don't know-they can't see-are you one of them? 
When you've seen beyond yourself-then you may find, peace of mind, 
Is waiting there- 
And the time will come when you see
                                  we're all one, and life flows on within you and without you.
Within You, Without You (Harrison)

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