The Beatles ground-breaking album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released on the 26th May 1967 in the UK and the 1st of June in the US. We have been celebrating the fifty year anniversary all week.
It has been an exciting week for Beatles fans with the release of the fiftieth anniversary edition of Sergeant Pepper. Reviewing the fiftieth-anniversary edition of the album Alexis Petridis wrote in The Guardian that ‘Sgt Pepper often seems an album as much about rock star detachment and ennui as it is about peace and love… Rather than the grandiose, state-of-the-world address it was immediately taken as, perhaps Sgt Pepper is something less ostentatious and more personal: an album about hopes and fears.’ As well as it being the album that expressed the era in which it was made, Sergeant Pepper has a strong claim to being as relevant and necessary now as ever.
This sentiment was carried through in John Higgs’ blog ‘Sgt Pepper at 50: How the Beatles masterpiece could unite Brexit Britain’ where he claims that the greatness of Sergeant Pepper was its variety, the way in which it spoke to such a vast array of different people. It tells us a lot about what it is to be British, he claims:
‘The songs on Sgt Pepper tell us a lot about being British that we might at times forget. Fixing a Hole tells us that we can roll up our sleeves and fix things that are broken. Getting Better shows us that we can be optimistic, even when the future looks bleak. Within You Without You tells us to look inwards, and understand who we are. But this can only be achieved, the album reminds us, With a Little Help from My Friends.’
Last night Richard Bacon presented a documentary for Absolute Radio on the psychedelic story of The Beatles. He worked through the album song by song, dissecting and analysing the album. The second part is on Absolute Radio tonight 9pm.
BBC Two this Saturday are airing a further programme on The Beatles ‘Sgt Pepper’s Musical Revolution with Howard Goodall’. Here’s what they have to say about the programme:
Fifty years ago this week, on 1 June, 1967, an album was released that changed music history – The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In this film, composer Howard Goodall explores just why this album is still seen as so innovative, so revolutionary and so influential. With the help of outtakes and studio conversations between the band, never heard before outside of Abbey Road, Howard gets under the bonnet of Sgt Pepper. He takes the music apart and reassembles it, to show us how it works – and makes surprising connections with the music of the last 1,000 years to do so.
It doesn’t stop there. For anyone wanting to understand the real significance of The Beatles and how Sergeant Pepper connected with listeners fifty years ago should look no further than Tony Barrow’s excellent book Meet the Beatles. When it was first published in 1963, Meet the Beatles introduced the Beatles, in their own words (the four Beatles wrote the introduction to the book themselves), to the world. It originally sold over a million copies and this Special Collector’s edition retains the original cover art. It is filled with rare photographs that depict a day in the life of the Beatles and charts their journey to becoming to world’s biggest band.
The Special Collector’s edition relives the days of Beatlemania and is a unique piece of memorabilia, perfect for any Beatles fan. You can find it here: http://bit.ly/1UnveiP
For further reading, here are the links to the articles mentioned above:
‘The Beatles: Sgt Pepper 50th Anniversary Edition review – peace, love and rock star ennui’ – https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/may/25/beatles-sgt-pepper-50th-anniversary-edition-review-lonely-hearts-club-band-remix-album
‘Sgt Pepper at 50: How the Beatles masterpiece could unite Brexit Britain’ – https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2017/may/31/sgt-pepper-at-50-could-the-beatles-masterpiece-unite-brexit-britain
‘Sgt Pepper at 50 with Richard Bacon’ – https://absoluteradio.co.uk/schedule/sgt-pepper-at-50-with-richard-bacon-304/episodes/81777/
‘Sgt Pepper’s Musical Revolution with Howard Goodall’ – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08tb97f