The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ Turns 50
LONDONÂ — It was 20Â 50 years ago todayÂ Â on June 1.
On its release in 1967,Â the Beatles’ eighth studio album,Â Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, wasn’t universally loved. “The mood is mellow, even nostalgic. But, like the cover, the overall effect is hip active and cluttered. Like an over-attended child,Â Sgt. PepperÂ is spoiled,” the music critic Richard Goldstein wrote in TheÂ New York Times.Â Â Never mind the album became an instant hit. “Oh, I get it,”Â Bob DylanÂ toldÂ Paul McCartney, when Paul played a bit of the group’s new music for him in 1966. “You do not want to be adorable.”
A half-century afterwards, Sgt. Pepper’s, which usheredÂ Â Â in the rock ‘n’ roll “concept album”Â — a selection of songs written about a central themeÂ Â Â — and inspiredÂ Â Â musicians from Pink FloydÂ to Radiohead into Stevie Wonder, will beÂ celebrated past this season and next.
Liverpool, where the Beatles grew up,Â will host a “Sgt. Pepper at 50” occasion throughÂ June 16 featuring musicians, choreographers, visual artists and poets getting involved in a range of cross-disciplinary jobs that honor each of the record’s 13 songs. Capitol Records is releasing reissue packs in a range ofÂ formats.
“It’s mad to believe that 50 decades later, we’re looking back with this project with such fondness and a bit of amazement at how four men, a fantastic manufacturer and his engineers could make such a lasting piece of art,” McCartney wroteÂ in the introduction to theÂ super-deluxe box-set anniversary editionÂ ofÂ Sgt. Pepper’sÂ that comprises a brand new stereo remix,Â 33 previously unreleased tracksÂ from theÂ recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios in LondonÂ Â and a rare making-of-the-album documentary.
The super-deluxe box-set variantÂ Â is available on Amazon for $117.99. The normal anniversary CD version costs $13.99.
McCartney and Ringo Starr are the Beatles’ two surviving members.
John Lennon was killed in New YorkÂ in 1980.Â Â GeorgeÂ Harrison died in 2001 of cancer.
The Beatles recorded the majority of the songs atÂ Abbey Road’sÂ Studio 2, a space with white walls and wooden parquet flooring thatÂ Â resembles more a high school gymnasiumÂ compared to location for a number of the world landmark harmonies. Not much had noticeably altered since then, when USA TODAY seen this past month, and it was easy to envision the Fab Four huddled with their tools, microphones and recording paraphernalia. AÂ SteinwayÂ piano Â Â the group nicknamed “Mrs. Mills,” whichÂ Â Â was utilized on A Day In The Life,Â Penny LaneÂ and With a Little Help From My Friends, restedÂ gracefully in 1Â Â corner.
“Each decade has generated somebody amazingly particular — aÂ Michael Jackson or a Madonna or a BeyoncÃ©,” said Mike Jones, a favorite music expert at the University of Liverpool,Â Â who’s coordinatingÂ Â a day-long classical audio tribute this month to Harrison’s India-infused Within You Without YouÂ fromÂ Sgt. Pepper’s.
“Exactly what the Beatles had was three fantastic songwriters who created within this record theÂ most significantÂ Â Â musical cocktail of time,” heÂ Â explained.