Stand Out Albums has been a showcase for my favorite albums across the vast performers that I love. Covering a little bit of everything from classic rock to country hits, much like Key Movies of My Life, it has been the albums that shaped me. This year, I am going to take a slightly different approach by discussing the discographies of my favorite musicians, album by album, in release order.
Today we discuss an album that has gone down into legend, the one and only Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Why This Album?
Where to begin with this album? Sgt Pepper is a unique and incredible album that not only demands that you listen to it in a single sitting but practically sits on you until you do. To say this is a perfect album is an understatement, not only do the Beatles take their talent to the next level with Sgt Pepper but they inadvertently create a new genre, a new theme and even new styles while continuing to explore the limits of their musical talents.
This album is credited as being among the first ‘concept albums’ that led the way for albums such as The Who’s Tommy and even Green Day’s American Idiot. You see, before Sgt Pepper, albums were mostly just a collection of songs that may or may not have had any connection other than being by the same band. In rare cases there would be a reprisal at the end of an album, but for the most part albums were all about what songs would be singles and what songs would be filler. Then Sgt Pepper happened and things changed.
The concept of Sgt Pepper is based on the titles track Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The idea is that this album is their album and the Beatles are playing the roles of this band. In a way this serves as a precursor to George Harrison’s latter work in the Travelling Wilburys but on a much smaller scale. Interestingly, with songs like George’s Within You Without You, this album is credited for being instrumental in the psychedelia of the time encouraging and inspiring their contemporaries to follow suit and have fun with the music they had been making.
One of my favorite memories of this album was in my senior year in high school in the late 90’s. The Beatles had made a massive resurgence and so it was not unheard of to have a group of us singing their songs in the halls. One day, in theater class, a group of us put this album on and sang the entire album with the Beatles, on stage for no one but ourselves. For that 40 minutes we sang every song in order feeling as if we were the only people in the world. Some of the class watched, others played games and chatted, but it didn’t matter, for that moment we were Sgt. Pepper’s Loney Hearts Club band and it felt amazing.
As with the last album, I highly recommend listening to this one in one setting. However, to me, there are some standouts that must be mentioned.
When I’m Sixty-Four. At a certain age you ask yourself if those you love will love you as well when you are old and grey, Paul puts into words as no one else can with this tune.
Getting Better. This is one that is just filled with joy and hope. I love how it’s all about how no matter bad things get, life can better and does, especially if you have someone to love.
The final track, A Day in the life, is to me the perfect blend of Lennon/McCartney as a writing team. They both shine brightly on this track giving a closing song for the ages.
Ok, Where do I get it?
You can grab this incredible album here and it is absolutely worth your time. Trust me it will be one that you listen to over and over for the rest of your life. It’s really that good. Also, you can hear the deluxe edition here with some rather cool b sides and studio takes.
Late to the Game 2/23/2021
Thanks for reading, If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and also check out some retro tv goodness with the ongoing series Retro TV Reviews here. You can also find a few of my other Music Reviews Here.
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