Hello Dear Reader! If you are anything like me, the last 2 weeks have done little to inspire you. Between Covid-19 and the murder of George Floyd, it’s all been enough to make you question the meaning of it all. The United States is literally burning. Now more than ever we need Mother Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus to bring peace. But there were two good milestones this week. The Catholic Church turned 1987 years old at Pentecost Sunday, and on June 1 The Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band turned 53 years old. It is on this last item that I will focus today.
Much has been written of Sgt. Pepper. Some claim it to be high art, others the greatest rock album of all time. Still others place it as no less than the greatest album of all time. Personally it holds a special place in my heart as my mom is a huge Beatles fan. I remember first hearing Sgt. Pepper on a Sony Walkman (the big yellow cassette player, for anyone who remembers.)
Needless to say it made a huge impact on my young ears. Not a bad song to be had in 39 minutes of music. The sheer depth and precision The Beatles displayed during this time was quite simply on a different level than anyone else at the time. Melding different sounds and recording techniques, they pushed the studio to its technical limit and thus cemented their place in history.
I shall now do a brief rundown of the album’s songs:
- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: sets the album’s tone perfectly, with upbeat guitars and a horn section provide a convincing concert atmosphere.
- With a Little Help from My Friends: say what you want about Ringo Starr, he can carry a tune fairly well in this tune you can’t help but sing along with.
- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: perhaps the album’s most famous track, the psychedelic sounds mesh perfectly with the dreamy lyrics to make a near-perfect combination.
- Getting Better: a bouncy rock track with surprisingly dark lyrics, this one came as a surprise to me the first time I heard it. But it does, indeed, get better as the song goes on.
- Fixing a Hole: Paul McCartney’s reflection on his own creativity is another fun one, with George Harrison’s guitar solo being a highlight.
- She’s Leaving Home: a sombre track about a runaway girl punctuated by strings and harps. Enough to make one cry.
- Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!: a strange concoction of strange sounds and calliopes, inspired by a circus poster. One of my favorites just for the wierdness factor.
- Within You Without You: Another favorite of mine, George Harrison shows off his sitar skills while waxing about how we should all be one people.
- When I’m Sixty-Four: perhaps the most pop-sounding item on the album, Paul McCartney invokes images found on postcards using easy-going lyrics.
- Lovely Rita: Paul McCartney’s pining for a traffic warden makes for a fun-sounding song with a rocking piano backing track.
- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise): an uptempo lead-in to the final track.
- A Day in the Life: How do you end such a diverse and epic album? With a full orchestra and an equally epic ending, of course!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Feel free to share memories in the comment section. May almighty God and Mother Mary protect us in these dark times. God Bless.