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413 of 474 found the following review helpful:
Essential Nov 26, 2000
One of three LP/CDs by the Beatles among my all-time top ten, along with "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver". Though not my personal favorite, this recording is essential in any collection of pop/rock recordings. It has been, since its release, a standard by which others are measured. It also marks the high-water mark of the Beatles creativity as a band. After "Sgt. Pepper..." came a directionless time during which the "Magical Mystery Tour" and "Yellow Submarine" records were released, followed by the period the band's breakdown, as chronicled in the "White Album", "Let It Be" and "Abbey Road". Though these latter efforts contained plenty of great music, it was clear that the Beatles were increasingly unable to function together as a unit. Individual tracks almost always spotlighted one of the band members while the others worked essentially as a backing group.
During a recent TV special, it wa said that, during the time the Beatles were in the studio making "Sgt. Pepper...", there was a lot of doubt about what they would come out with and many fans were giving up on them. As someone who was around at the time, I certainly don't remember much of that. Of course, the Beatles always had a few doubters and detractors, but most of us were looking forward to their next record. Stories of how much time and effort were going into it only fueled our anticipation. It was like the release of the fourth Harry Potter book when "Sgt. Pepper..." finally came out. Some stores opened early and huge numbers were sold the first day of it's release. I bought a copy that day like many others. Nor was I disappointed. Since then, I have spent many hours listening to "Sgt. Pepper..." and I expect I'll spend many more.
To appreciate the significance of "Sgt. Pepper..." you have to understand the pivotal place of the Beatles in the culture of the time. Quite simply, they changed everything. Before the Beatles, the primary medium of pop/rock music was the 45 rpm single. The Beatles released a flood of good quality songs, many original, so that "albums" became more than just a couple of hit singles packaged with a bunch of throwaway tracks. All of the tracks were good and people began to buy albums because it was the best way to get all the music. "Sgt. Pepper..." took this a step further by making the album a more unified whole. It elevated pop/rock music to the level of art, implying an expressiveness and timelessness beyond anything rock had previously aspired to. But the impact of the Beatles went far beyond music. It entered into fashion, modes of behavior, and popular attitudes in a variety of areas. We were even fed a constant stream of news reports about what the Beatles were doing from day to day or week to week. London became, for a time, THE cultural center of the world.
"Sgt. Pepper..." itself has a timeless quality. Songs such as With A Little Help From My Friends, Getting Better, Within You Without You, When I'm Sixty-four and others have themes that people can relate to just as well today as when they were first released. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and A Day In The Life, while perhaps mored dated lyrically, are among the most interesting pieces in other respects.
For those of us who were around and listening when "Sgt. Pepper..." came out, it is more than just a record or CD. It marks the peak of a time of incredible energy and change. The decline and dissolution of the Beatles is something many of us still feel in a very personal way. Even today, we mourn the end of the Beatles and the death of John Lennon. Those events represent the passing and final end of something we treasured.
"Sgt. Pepper..." is a great record by a great band. Even more, it is a central landmark of its period and of its genre. If you think you like rock music, but you don't have a copy of "Sgt. Pepper...", sorry but you've missed it. Get a copy. You can't really appreciate the Beatles without it. Definitely a favorite of mine, and I expect it will be a favorite of yours, too.
16 of 16 found the following review helpful:
The remaster of a legend. The stuff the 60's were made of. Sep 09, 2009
By Paulo Leite
This is one of my favorite albums by The Beatles. And now that it was remastered, it is a great pleasure to rediscover this old friend. SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND is not just an album: it is a legendary fragment of the 60's... and The Beatles in peak form.
I got this remastered version from the THE BEATLES STEREO BOX SET and it was with lots of care and attention that I listened to it from start to end. And I must say EMI made an amazing job. The music sounds brighter, sharper, clearer and much more exciting. Now, it is also clear to me that it all will depend on your stereo. Most people who claim there is no difference perhaps are listening to it in small underpowered stereo equipment that really does not do justice to these remasters. Personally, I doubt anyone won't see any positive difference here... but that's me. With my stereo, these new remasters are shining every second of it.
I'm playing it as I write this... and I cannot get tired of it.
SGT. PEPPER is an album full of subtleties and many hidden treasures. BEING FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR. KITE is one of those songs so rich and multi-layered that it is amazing to be able to listen to everything that is there. And now it is all there brighter and clearer. A DAY IN THE LIFE is absolutely astonishing because the voices of Paul and John were treated so differently that now we can appreciate even more the job done. LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMOND has a spatial depth I couldn't find on the previous CD. SHE'S LEAVING HOME, for me, is the star of this remaster: call me crazy, but I think the whole song got a dimension I never felt before. WHEN I'M SIXTY FOUR has Ringo's drums with an delicate extra oomp.
I loved it. This is one of my favorite Beatles albums.
Thanks EMI for such a great job.
22 of 24 found the following review helpful:
I read the news today, oh boy. Mar 03, 2002
By Daniel J. Hamlow
Thirty-five years after its momentous June 1967 release, no one has been able to give THE definitive interpretation on what has been declared as the greatest album of all time. It should stay that way, as it takes away the mystery of life. And with a universally recognizable album cover, it's definitely a period piece and shows which personages made personal impact on the Beatles: Monroe, Brando, Mae West, Laurel and Hardy, Lenny Bruce, Oscar Wilde, W.C. Fields, Aleister Crowley, Sir Robert Peel, and even a former Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe. Gandhi would've been a welcome presence had it not been for EMI's concern of offending India. Universal is the key to making monumental albums, of which Sgt Peppers is of the highest calibre. It's in my personal Top Five.
Paul's sterling vocals are at their best in the rollicking title track. Ringo's sole vocal is on "With A Little Help From My Friends" transcends universally, especially with "What would you say if I sang out of tune/Would you stand up and walk out on me?" The answer would be "no" during the Summer of Love. What about in today's conformist climate? With its advocacy of love at first sight, it is a truly romantic tune.
With the descriptive psychedelic imagery in "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," small wonder people thought that it was a code for LSD. As it was, it was taken from a picture drawing by young Julian Lennon.
"Getting Better" is an inspiring tune if people take it to heart. Who hasn't been kept down by parents or high school teachers? With the new scene and a woman, things have to be "getting better all the time," right?
"Fixing A Hole" to "keep one's mind from wandering" seems a bit contradictory in this neo-Enlightenment period, for the purpose was to expand one's mind. But then I remembered that it was for "where the rain gets in," i.e. negative thoughts or shallow, unfulfilling people and ideas. And it is disturbing that those same people don't seem to realize "why they can't get past my door." That makes sense. Of course, it's OK for your mind to wander if it's going to the room that's been painted "in a colourful way."
The opening harp and the string section entwines "She's Leaving Home" with a lover's touch. Like the previous two songs, self discovery was key to young people in the 1960's.
The circumstances behind "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite," taken from a 1843 circus poster of John Lennon's is just one of those unique, serendipitous events that couldn't work for any other group. The hurdy-gurdy-like special effects that take place after "Henry the horse dances the waltz." I wonder how many Generation Y-ers, who take special sounds for granted in today's music, have any appreciation of what George Martin, their producer, had to do in order to get the audio trickery and fantastic sounds that permeate through this song and others.
"Within You Without You," with George's ethereal vocals, sitars and tablas, is a wonderful addition to the album, and it shows how spiritually ahead George was compared to the other Beatles.
The simplistic, totally disarming, and charming "When I'm Sixty-Four" with its clarinet, is a sharp contrast to the complex instrumentation of the other songs. Another universal tune, and one that doesn't need deep mental digging.
"Good Morning Good Morning" benefits from having the overdubbed brass section and a sterling guitar solo by John in the middle of the song. The animal sounds make for a bizarre ending, but I think I heard a chicken, cat, dog, horse, lion, elephant.
I don't know how to explain the effect "A Day In The Life" has on me. There are the two verses of the man who blew his mind out in a car and the film of the English army winning the war, the swirling strings simulating a trip, the bouncing piano that leads to the third stanza, another swirling trip, and then that piano chord crashing with its awesome finality. I am left depressed yet awed, and left swimming in a well deep of introspection after that piano chord.
With that, I hope you will enjoy the show too. I sure did.
22 of 24 found the following review helpful:
Simply Brilliant! Oct 25, 2000
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is simply a masterpiece. Many critics wondered what the fab four would come up with next. The answer - one of rock and roll's greatest albums ever. This album without a doubt takes you on a journey like never before. The Beatles take on alter egos and perform on this album with sheer brillance. From the opening song "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," to the end "A Day In The Life," this album is packed with wonderful arragements and production wizardry. Is Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds a drug song? What exactly does John want to turn us on to? This is the first album where the Beatles blantently express drug references instead of their usual inuendos. All grown up, the Beatles have filled this album with humorous and serious tones, which make this album absolutely incredible. Why do the Beatles hold that last chord for 53 seconds? Is it really a concept album? Find out for yourself with this magical piece of rock and roll history.
18 of 19 found the following review helpful:
Essential Rock and Roll Sep 06, 2001
The Beatles almost defy genre. They were the original boy band. They're the most enduringly popular of pop groups. They defined rock and roll as much as anyone ever will. They slyly mastered the art of marketing and wryly marketed their mastery of art.
Nowhere are these contradictions more apparent than in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, their first album to be heavily influenced by Indian music and culture, the first album of nonstop continuous music (no grooves in the original record), and the first concept album.
This may be the best pop/rock album of the twentieth century. It's almost certainly the most important.
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