It was over 50 years ago that Sgt. Pepper taught his band to play, and Tom’s left it until now to give the whole album a listen. Find out what he thought to The Beatles’ eighth studio album.
Release Date: November 1967
Achievements: Alongside spending 27 weeks at number 1 on the UK Albums Chart, winning four Grammy awards (including Album of the Year) and being 17x Platinum in the UK, it is also one of the best selling albums ever released having sold 32 million copies.
Rating: There’s barely a soul on Earth who has heard this album and hasn’t given it a 10/10 rating.
This album was actually written shortly after the band almost split up. Their touring schedule was so manic that George Harrison was ready to throw in the towel. Having received confirmation that they’d never tour again, he set off to India to learn the sitar. As one does.
Paul McCartney on the other hand finally succumbed to peer pressure and taken LSD. During the ensuing acid trip, he saw the “expansive new sense of possibility” for the band, which sounds like the exact kind of thing you would expect to hear from someone off their face on mind bending drugs. Fair play, I had a Lemsip the other day and during my broken sleep dreamt of a much more efficient way of sorting our recycling – so, you know, relatable content.
Basically, on the basis that they’d never have to do any of these songs live, the band went nuts. The record is even something of a concept album because they did it as the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band doing a performance so they could not be The Beatles for five minutes. It’s what we all wish the Spice Girls had done instead of Geri leaving.
Yes, a lot of the music was quite experimental and “out there” in 1967, but we live in a time where Björk is a thing, so it hasn’t translated as being quite so dramatic now. Yes, I appreciate that without The Beatles and their departure from “traditional” pop music, maybe people wouldn’t be so experimental now, but I honestly think that the way they sing the songs sounds like they’re bored. Or high, I guess. Also, lyrically it’s a bit bland, in my opinion – with few exceptions.
The songs Getting Better and Lovey Rita are examples of the reason you shouldn’t do drugs, kids. Getting better is basically the words “getting better” on repeat with a bit about naff teachers and being mean to women. Lovely Rita is about a meter maid and sounds like a thing that only four people who have taken such vast quantities of drugs that they think the number 7 smells a bit like the colour Magenta would think is worth putting on a record.
Sure, it’s a fairly good sounding album, but someone listening to this without having done the research I have (I know, I do research before writing this waffle – surprising, isn’t it?) would be forgiven for just hearing a pretty standard album and not see why other people are so keen to stress the effect it had on music, and arguably still does.
I’m not going to be sad if I don’t hear this one again for a while; but I have to acknowledge that I’ve never really been on the Beatles hype.
Who knows, if One Direction are your thing and you want to expand to other boybands to fill the void their split has left in your life, this might be right up your street.
Is there an iconic film or album you think I should have experienced by now? Let me know @MoveToTRASHUK #latelatereview