It was 50 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play

Critics hailed it immediately as a cultural turning point that elevated pop music to the level of fine art. Richard Poirier wrote, “Listening to the Sgt. Pepper album one thinks not simply of the history of popular music but the history of this century.” Time magazine declared it “a historic departure in the progress of music – any music”. Newsweek called it a “masterpiece”, and The New York Times Book Review characterized it as a harbinger of a “golden Renaissance of Song”. It won four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year–the first rock LP to receive the honor.

  • Clink9

    Paul McCartney said this about the Beach Boys Pet Sounds that came out before Sgt. Pepper:

    “It was later…it was Pet Sounds that blew me out of the water. First of all, it was Brian’s writing. I love the album so much. I’ve just bought my kids each a copy of it for their education in life—I figure no one is educated musically ’til they’ve heard that album. I was into the writing and the songs.

    • Justin St.Denis

      PET SOUNDS is a monumental recording. McCartney was right to feel intimidated. His band’s effort to match the achievement didn’t even come close. PET SOUNDS remains remarkable. SPLHCB is a bit of a trial to sit through. It always was.

      • Clink9

        Yeh, bought the vinyl version of Pet Sounds last year. Sounds great.

        • Tom Forsythe


          • Clink9

            No, I cheaped out. The mono was 5 bucks more.

          • Justin St.Denis

            I still own a SEALED mono copy of PET SOUNDS which I purchased at SAM’s before it closed a couple of decades back. The last remastered version on CD includes both stereo and mono mixes, but of course the “warmth” of the vinyl sound isn’t there.

  • Justin St.Denis

    I think Keith Richards summed it up with the benefit of hindsight a couple of years back in an interview he did from his home in Jamaica. “What a load of crap that (SPLHCB) was!” And it was. With the exception of maybe three or four songs, this is the Beatles’ most over-rated work. Give me REVOLVER or RUBBER SOUL anytime, but keep your Sargeant Pepper shit off my speakers. It really does suck.

  • I’m ambivalent about the Beatles… probably from having a roommate who put the fan in fanatic. More than the music itself, it’s hard to believe 50 years have gone by.

    • UCSPanther

      The Beatles did not last that long, but their legacy still stands strong to this day over fifty years later.

      Few musical acts can claim that kind of fame.

      • shasta

        “Few musical acts can claim that kind of fame.”

        As much as I like some of The Beatles music, I would not go that far; there are many musical acts that are well known fifty or more years after their time.

        • UCSPanther

          True enough, but I still hold to my view. In the various decades, for every good act there was, there was a huge pile of not-so-great ones that were swiftly forgotten.

    • Blind Druid

      My best buddy is also a fanatic. Kinda pathetic. Shelves full of uber-tacky Fab Four junk. Every time he gets mellow — on the stereo they go. Then I leave. Enough is enough.

      • Justin St.Denis

        I have a friend who has been similarly afflicted for the last 50 years. His entire basement is filled with Beatles memorabilia, bootleg vinyl albums, vinyl albums, cassette tapes, tchotchkes and other SHIT than bespeaks a serious emptiness at the core of his being. I endured for about 35 years, but started to walk away thereafter. There’s only so much a sane man can take……

    • Alain

      I have to shame in stating that I was a fan of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and a few others at the time. I like the music and really didn’t pay much if any attention to the words. However I was never among those inflicted with Beatlemania any more than I was with Trudeaumania.

      • Maggat

        Ya mania is best left to others

  • Blind Druid

    The times. The rebel culture. The weed. The speed. The acid. This album was like musical Nirvana to all of us twenty something hippy freaks in the U.K. That was our day – our rise against the machine.
    Now we must try to understand the “new music”. I am having serious problems doing so. Too old, too jaded i guess. Cheers anyway.

    • Justin St.Denis

      Here in America, H.P.LOVECRAFT and BLUE CHEER had already cornered that market before the Beatles came up with SP.

    • Waffle

      I’ve gone total Country.

    • shasta

      “must try to understand the “new music””

      There is very little talent, skill, or even music in popular “new music” nowadays. For the most part I stopped seriously paying attention to it sometime in the 80s, perhaps because of other time absorbing things like work, but mostly because of the ever increasing piles of shit I had to wade through to find something that I liked.

  • canminuteman

    When I was a kid Disco was the pop music of the day, and even as a ten year olds my friends and I recognized that disco sucked. As a result even though I was only seven or eight when the Beatles broke up we were still huge fans and played this record until we wore it out. I have never been a Beach Boys fan and have never heard Pet Sounds.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    When John Lennon was shot, a radio commentator began, “I heard the news today, oh boy!”

  • Barrington Minge

    Relistened to Sgt Pepper this week. Bits of it are brilliant. Much of it is ordinary. As to Pet Sounds – I never liked the Beach Boys anyway. I’ll go with the Stones, Yardbirds, Ten Years After and Pink Floyd any day.

    • shasta

      “Ten Years After and Pink Floyd”

      I would put these two into a later “era” even though they were getting their start around the time of Sgt. Pepper. I would suggest the Kinks or the Zombies as better comparisons.

  • shasta

    “It was 50 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play”

    It was 20 years ago when the record came out, doesn’t that make it 70 years ago today?