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Thread: Album Club, July 2017: The Beatles - 'Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band'

  1. #1
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: Land of the Lilac Curtains, UK

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    Default Album Club, July 2017: The Beatles - 'Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band'

    The Album Club choice for July comes courtesy of Barry, with the timely suggestion of The Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. As always, please listen to the album in its entirety before you comment and/or vote.



    The Beatles – ‘Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’




    “It was twenty years ago today,
    Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play
    They’ve been going in and out of style
    But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile
    So may I introduce to you Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”


    Well it wasn’t twenty years ago, but fifty years ago that the Beatles went into Abbey Road Studios to make what is now seen as a groundbreaking album. It was ambitious and challenging in scope, and revolutionary in the way the Beatles used recording techniques and the facilities of the studio almost as a fifth musician (and some say that George Martin as producer, as well as the sound engineer Geoff Emerick, could well justify that accolade). Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band is the Beatles alter ego, a virtual persona they would adopt allowing them the freedom to create sound images that would be impossible to reproduce in any live performance by The Beatles.

    Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club band is not a concept album as such, but if there is a common theme it is songs about the everyday things in life: newspapers; circuses; parking meter attendants; pot holes; growing old and retirement; friendship and camaraderie: mending a fuse, and running to catch the bus to work. Plus some more ‘quirky’ songs based on the imagery of Lewis Carroll and the nonsense verse of Edward Lear, as well as some Eastern mystical meditation and the use of Indian instruments, rhythm and scales.

    In the album the Beatles are looking back to a past time of music halls and vaudeville. To a time of Edwardian military bands playing in the park and to circuses: dancing horses and trapeze artists. And to invoke these images the Beatles used instruments not normally associated with pop bands. There are cellos, flutes, harpsichord, celeste, calliopes and the use of full orchestras playing free-form glissando. This is best illustrated by both the opening track and the track ‘For the Benefit of Mr Kite’, where in the latter the swirling calliope sounds are given a surreal twist by having the recording tape cut up into sections of arbitrary length, re-spliced in random order and replayed, so some parts are actually running backwards.

    Of the thirteen tracks on this album, I’ll pick out four, which to me exemplify why Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band is so special.

    The first is, for me, one of the most moving and heartbreaking songs about the failure to talk things through and of their sad consequences – ‘She’s Leaving Home’. There are three ‘voices’ to be heard in this song: a dispassionate narrator; the voice of the heartbroken and bewildered parents, and a voice representing the girl herself who after having put up with a stifling, closeted life at home is ‘breaking free’ to an uncertain future.

    Wednesday morning at five o'clock
    As the day begins
    Silently closing her bedroom door
    Leaving the note that she hoped would say more
    She goes downstairs to the kitchen
    Clutching her handkerchief
    Quietly turning the backdoor key
    Stepping outside, she is free
    She(we gave her most of our lives)
    Is leaving (sacrificed most of our lives)
    Home (we gave her everything money could buy)
    She's leaving home, after living alone, for so many years (bye bye)
    Father snores as his wife gets into her dressing gown
    Picks up the letter that's lying there
    Standing alone at the top of the stairs
    She breaks down and cries to her husband
    "Daddy, our baby's gone.
    "Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly?
    How could she do this to me?"
    She (we never thought of ourselves)
    Is leaving (never a thought for ourselves)
    Home (we struggled hard all our lives to get by)
    She's leaving home, after living alone, for so many years
    Friday morning, at nine o'clock
    She is far away
    Waiting to keep the appointment she made
    Meeting a man from the Motortrade
    She (what did we do that was wrong)
    Is Having (we didn't know it was wrong)
    Fun (fun is the one thing that money can't buy)
    Something inside, that was always denied, for so many years
    She's leaving home, bye, bye



    (In my opinion if there is only one track that exemplifies the lyric writing skills of The Beatles, this is it. Every time I hear it tears come to my eyes.)


    The second track is ‘Lucy in the Sky With Daimonds’. Avoiding any debate on the meaning of the title, this is just a very good pop tune. Invoking images from the writings of Lewis Carroll as well, perhaps of the nonesense verse of Edward Lear, this is a gimpse into a child–like word of fantasy. Listen to how John Lennon’s voice appears in different parts of the soundstage and with subtle changes in processing.

    The third is ‘Within You Without You’. This was probably the first time Indian instruments and rhythms and scales were used on a pop record. Not only that, but the subject matter is essentially one of eastern mysticism on the nature of existence and of reality. Heavy stuff? – no, not really, but certainly noval and challenging at the time.

    The fourth is ‘A Day in the Life’, and a veritable tour de force it is. Ostensibly a near ‘stream of consciousness’, it is a story about the everyday, the mundane: newspapers, pot-holes in the road, a car crash, running for the bus to get to work, but the whole track builds up layer by layer, image by image. Again musically it adventurous, with an orchestra playing a freeform avante garde-like aleotoric glissando, building up in volume before the final crashing and (artificially) sustained piano chord.


    So there you have it - in my opinion, one of the most important and ‘watershed’ pop albums of the twentieth century’. What do you think?

    (Oh, and can someone please tell me what is said on the locked lead-out groove at the end of side two. It’s been driving me mad for the last fifty years!)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sgt._P...arts_Club_Band



    (I suspect this is a (very poor IMO) 'cover', and not the original version!)

    This is an authentic sample of the album:
    spotify:album:3LXItxKnnJcEDc5QdTc00n

    https://open.spotify.com/album/3LXItxKnnJcEDc5QdTc00n

  2. #2
    Join Date: Feb 2013

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    Super writing You should do it for a living. Lol

    Will be listening tomorrow
    Regards,
    Grant ....

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  3. #3
    Join Date: May 2013

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    I'm Martin.

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    Spot on, a lovely narrative. Perfect choice for the 50th.

    One of my sons bought me the new remixed version for fathers day, so I know it very well. The new mix is excellent and goes well with my original well played copy.

    The song writing and musical talent the Beatles showed along with George Martin back in 1967 trying new and various techniques is brilliant. 10/10.
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  4. #4
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 45,273
    I'm Grant.

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    Just on second listen to the above album. first via headphones and now via speakers. the original was not great on cans as it was typical 60's sound from one side or other a lot. this remaster has fixed that. Was always a top Beatles album and the remaster has boosted its popularity I'm sure. I just bought the remastered love album on vinyl recently too via the mag deal. its another stonker.

    so for this I guess a strong 9/10 from me. Im old and prejudiced best track.. when I'm 64 of course...always a pleasure

    edit. I also fixed the poll, as it had 2 @ 8's and no 9
    Last edited by struth; 04-07-2017 at 10:14.
    Regards,
    Grant ....

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply-doesn't-work
    .... ..... ...... ...... ................... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....
    OPPO BDP-103D DARBEE - JBE SERIES 3/B&O SP1/EMOTIVA XPS1/12V BATTERY - TWIN PRO MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIERS - XIANG SHENG DAC\PRE\HEADPHONE AMP\WE TUBED - TWIN AVANTREE OASIS CLASS 1 BLUETOOTHS - AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-MSR7 & OPPO PM-3 PLANAR HEADPHONES - WIN10 JRIVER24, SPOTIFY - SMSL M6 MINIDAC - RPI/AUDIOPHONICS/5V BATTERY - FULL RANGE TWIN TELEFUNKEN/Q ACOUSTIC BT3/CANTON SUB - P.INSPIRED MAINS REGENERATED.

  5. #5
    Join Date: Jul 2011

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    I'm Peter.

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    Father Christmas delivered this for my brother when he was eight years old. He sat and listened to it over and over again, right through to after New Year. He was never the same again. He now listens to Sufi music during epic solitary wanders across the Scottish highlands and islands.

    Actually, I don't need to listen to the Beatles ... it's all in my head. In fact, the version in my head is better fidelity than the recorded one 10/10 for the music and sheer vision
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  6. #6
    Join Date: Mar 2014

    Location: West Wales

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    I'm malcolm.

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    Audiophile Tosher

  7. #7
    Join Date: Mar 2017

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    I'm Edward.

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    Wow - 50 years you say? It only seems like yesterday when I first heard this trans-formative album. My sister, two years older than me and more careful with her pocket money, got this album the day it was released. We then proceeded to play it non-stop for months (well I exaggerate a bit but it felt like that).

    Too much to say about this album so I will not. Anyway the write up above is very well done (profound even). A 10/10 from me (for the album and the write up).

    I think I have a vinyl version (not the one from my sister), an early CD and the 2009 mastering. I need to check out the more recent remaster. Does anyone have a link to how the recent remastering was done?
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  8. #8
    Join Date: May 2015

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    There is nothing I could say about this record that hasn't been said before I should think. However what I will say is that perhaps surprisingly for a fifty year old man I have never really taken much notice of The Beatles (although I do have a copy of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band). My musical path has taken me on a journey that didn't include them. I'm pretty sure I have heard all of the songs contained on Sgt. Peppers but have done so in a passive way i.e. On the radio, in a cafe, in the supermarket etc. Isn't music slightly irritatingly omnipresent nowadays?

    Anyway, I put on Sgt. Peppers for the first time ever in its entirety and was frankly blown away by its depth, inventiveness, and sublime songwriting. Really a great record. Enough said. I have some catching up to do! Thanks for an eye opening suggestion.

    9.5/10.
    Last edited by HackneyRF; 30-07-2017 at 11:01. Reason: Typo

  9. #9
    Join Date: Mar 2017

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    I'm Edward.

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    Do have a listen to the Magical Mystery Tour album. All your descriptions apply equally to MMT.

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  10. #10
    Join Date: Nov 2015

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    Quote Originally Posted by HackneyRF View Post
    There is nothing I could say about this record that hasn't been said before I should think. However what I will say is that perhaps surprisingly for a fifty year old man I have never really taken much notice of The Beatles (although I do have a copy of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band). My musical path has taken me on a journey that didn't include them. I'm pretty sure I have heard all of the songs contained on Sgt. Peppers but have done so in a passive way i.e. On the radio, in a cafe, in the supermarket etc. Isn't music slightly irritatingly omnipresent nowadays?

    Anyway, I put on Sgt. Peppers for the first time ever in its entirety and was frankly blown away by its depth, inventiveness, and sublime songwriting. Really a great record. Enough said. I have some catching up to do! Thanks for an eye opening suggestion.

    9.5/10.
    There is a wealth of talent on display in almost every Beatles albums and listening to them in chronological order gives you a sense of how quickly they developed from a Rock n Roll band to pioneers of new sound and recording techniques. The best band of all time for that reason alone, never mind all the amazing songs they made lol
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