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  • It was 40 years ago today...

    http://www.thebeatles.com/

    Making Sgt. Pepper in 1967

    50 moments that changed the history of rock & roll

    On Friday, February 10th, 1967, the Beatles threw a party at EMI Studios on Abbey Road in northwest London. The occasion: the recording of twenty-four bars of improvised crescendo, played by a forty-piece orchestra, for "A Day in the Life," the climax of the band's then-in-progress masterpiece, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Special guests included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Donovan and the Monkees' Michael Nesmith. At the Beatles' request, the orchestra members wore formal evening dress with funny hats, clown noses, fake nipples and, in the case of the lead violinist, a gorilla's paw on his bowing hand. Engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Townsend taped the musical chaos on a pair of linked four-track machines, making this the first-ever eight-track recording date in Britain. "It only took three quarters of an hour to get [the machines] in sync," Townsend says. "The hardest part was hauling them upstairs to the control room."

    The entire evening produced only thirty seconds of music (used twice in the final song). But the session was typical of the flamboyance and nerve that John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr put into the creation of Sgt. Pepper. "We were fed up with being Beatles," McCartney has said, referring to the matching suits and screaming girls they left behind after retiring from live concerts, at the end of August 1966. "We were not boys, we were men. . . artists, not performers." Sgt. Pepper was the willfully extravagant proof, a landmark achievement in technicolor sound, unifying concept and songwriting ambition.

    The Beatles recorded almost every note of Sgt. Pepper in one room, Abbey Road's humble, white-walled Studio Two. (The orchestral session for "A Day in the Life" was a rare exception, held in cavernous Studio One, typically reserved for symphonic dates.) Number 3 Abbey Road was built in 1830 as a lavish private residence, with nine bedrooms, servants' quarters and a wine cellar. By 1967, EMI's studios there were drab and aging, compared to the rapidly evolving needs of the Beatles' principal composers, Lennon and McCartney. "I would come up to new problems every day," producer George Martin recalled. "The songs in the early days were straightforward, and you couldn't play around with them too much. Here we were building sound pictures.

    The Beatles found ecstasy in invention. A percussive effect in McCartney's "Lovely Rita" was official EMI toilet paper (printed with the words THE GRAMOPHONE COMPANY LTD) blown through a comb. Lennon wanted to use an authentic steam organ for his circus fantasy "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" (inspired by a Victorian show poster he'd bought in an antiques shop). But Martin could not find one for the session, so he and the Beatles devised an otherworldly combination of harmonium, harmonicas (played by Harrison and Starr) and chopped-up tapes of a calliope. For his Eastern hymn "Within You Without You," Harrison turned Studio Two into a meditation room, playing sitar with a backing ensemble of Indian musicians, everyone seated on a carpet on the floor with lights dimmed and incense burning.

    Released on June 1st, 1967, in a now-iconic gatefold cover by artist Peter Blake and photographer Michael Cooper, Sgt. Pepper immediately electrified the world. No other LP of rock's first half-century so richly defined its era -- the hope and the mutiny of the 1960s -- and completely redefined the outer limits of the recording experience. "It seemed obvious to us that peace, love and justice ought to happen," McCartney said. At the same time, "we recorded Sgt. Pepper to alter our egos, to free ourselves and have a lot of fun."

    http://www.rollingstone.com/news/sto...pepper_in_1967
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  • #2
    Re: It was 40 years ago today...

    Thanks for sharing that, saw a piece on tv this morning about it, this was a great read.

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    • #3
      Re: It was 40 years ago today...

      I am proud to say that Brian Wilson, one of the founding members and musical genius behind the Beach Boys, is a relative of mine.

      Paul McCartney was and is a fan of Brian's, and he and John Lennon both said that the "Pet Sounds" album helped drive them to create something like Sergeant Pepper.

      And Brian has often said that he thinks the Beatles effort to be...the greatest album ever made.

      And who would I be to disagree with him...

      Happy 40th anniversary. We all "get by with a little help from our friends".

      --Barry
      God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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      • #4
        Re: It was 40 years ago today...

        It was 40 years ago that I was born (in March) and I still love the Beatles. Sgt. Pepper is not my favorite one of theirs, but it is a great album that made bands rethink how they produced and create their own albums.

        Thanks for the article ALIASd.


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        • #5
          Re: It was 40 years ago today...

          Happy birthday, Sgt Pepper!

          Brilliant album by the greatest band ever!

          And, wow, Radiobarry, that's so cool... I'm a huge fan of Brian's, especially Pet Sounds (of course)...
          Magic Journeys...

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          • #6
            Re: It was 40 years ago today...

            It's hard to explain to those of you who were not there. For those of you who never rememeber when St. Pepper's was new. The impact it had on us hearing it the first time. It was so different than anything that came before. It was the first 'concept' album. It was the first album to have the words to the songs printed on the cover. It was unbelievable for us who first heard it in 1967. I know you know it's great. But waiting for it, hearing it new for the first time, is something you'll never know. I'm glad that you enjoy it, it is enjoyable. But there was something about hearing it new...

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            • #7
              Re: It was 40 years ago today...

              I wasn't born until 12 years later, but the album and the band as a whole have played a huge part in my life even. I grew up listening to my parents music mostly which included the Beatles and the Beach Boys. I then went off to college and studied the history of popular music and then even more specifically the Beatles themselves. IMO, they are the most influential band in history, they alone cross over to so many types of music. My only wish was that John and George were both able to be around to enjoy the anniversary of the album's debut.

              ErikAnders.smugmug.com

              Fratsor Brother - ΔΜΧΑ


              1519, 4066, 423, 600, 2469, 378, 5044, 888

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              • #8
                Re: It was 40 years ago today...

                Originally posted by Lynn, Renaissance Woman View Post
                It's hard to explain to those of you who were not there. For those of you who never rememeber when St. Pepper's was new. The impact it had on us hearing it the first time. It was so different than anything that came before. It was the first 'concept' album. It was the first album to have the words to the songs printed on the cover. It was unbelievable for us who first heard it in 1967. I know you know it's great. But waiting for it, hearing it new for the first time, is something you'll never know. I'm glad that you enjoy it, it is enjoyable. But there was something about hearing it new...
                I was nineteen days short of 11 years old when the song came out...and Lynn I believe that you are not much older than I am. Since our family was tied in with the Beach Boys, I was probably more aware of what was going on in music than many kids of my age.

                And it was a magical time indeed when Sgt. Pepper came out.

                I know that Brian Wilson attempted the "concept" album with Pet Sounds in 1966, and tried to take it the final step with the infamous "Smile" project in '67 that he never finished (until just a few years ago actually).

                The Beatles did take the final step with Sgt. Pepper, and it remains a masterpiece - but you're right, there was nothing like taking it out of the legendary album cover and hearing it on the stereo for the first time.

                --Barry
                God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: It was 40 years ago today...

                  A nice piece written by Little Steven Van Zandt, guitarist of The E Street Band and "Silvio" on HBO's 'The Sopranos' and forever "Miami Steve" to me:


                  It was a day in the life of a hopeful generation

                  By Little Steven
                  The Hollywood Reporter
                  May 31, 2007

                  This weekend is the 40th anniversary of the release of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

                  After being obviously the "greatest album ever made" for years, it ran into a bit of revisionist history these past, oh, 30 years or so.

                  It probably began with one of the Beatles putting it down or shrugging it off or making the mistake of suggesting that it wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

                  All the great ones sooner or later put down their own work: Mick Jagger does it, Ray Davies, Pete Townshend (every hour or so) -- and it's always a mistake. They might be trying to be honest, but all it does is give license to the mindless vultures looking for permission to attack the otherwise invulnerable.

                  Anyway, somebody somewhere down the line pointed out that Paul McCartney's idea of making a "concept" record -- the Beatles writing and performing as a fictitious group and having the album tour instead of them -- lasted only through the second song, and when the album was pulled apart and studied, it wasn't their greatest collection of songs and blah, blah, blah.

                  So, with the only disclaimer that the appallingly awful stereo mastering is, tragically, the only available version right now, let me revise revisionist history and suggest that "Sgt. Pepper" was, and is, an incredible piece of work and absolutely the best representation of the Summer of Love and the very psychedelic 1967.

                  It was universally mind-blowing at the time. The Beatles, producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick did everything possible and more with the technology available at the time, and then the band pushed Emerick to invent things that weren't available!

                  And though it wasn't as linear a concept as the Who's "Tommy" would be two years later, it felt like we were being taken on a trip, a transcendent experience, not just listening to a group of songs.

                  Interestingly, in direct contrast to the album's ultramodern sound, its lyrics and sensibility were wistful, nostalgic -- very much looking back when the world was looking forward (and made more obvious if you include "Strawberry Fields" and "Penny Lane," both meant to be on the album). It's full of depressed, dysfunctional, cynical, confused and, yes, lonely characters going through the motions of life, implicitly asking, "Is this all there is?" when the band's audience was never more full of hope, discovering love and becoming philosophically enlightened.

                  The world was unified in its praise of and inspiration from the album as it has never been for anything before or since.

                  Find the mono version, and don't download one song at a time, listen to it all the way through.

                  I promise you will be transported to a place you've never been. A place that gives you unexpected energy, encourages you to dream and, somehow, makes you feel a little bit better about life.
                  Steven Van Zandt is a musician and actor who writes a weekly column for Billboard.
                  http://www.littlestevensundergroundg.../homepage.html

                  http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/...b37c629b29eae9
                  "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

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                  • #10
                    Re: It was 40 years ago today...

                    I remember when it came out, and how it literally changed everything. The inspiration of Pet Sounds aside, it was like nothing else we'd ever heard, or were likely to hear, and was the record everyone had on their turntable that summer.

                    The fact that it still holds up today and is just as listenable is a testament to how good they truly were.

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                    • #11
                      Re: It was 40 years ago today...

                      Originally posted by Wotan View Post
                      I remember when it came out, and how it literally changed everything. The inspiration of Pet Sounds aside, it was like nothing else we'd ever heard, or were likely to hear, and was the record everyone had on their turntable that summer.

                      The fact that it still holds up today and is just as listenable is a testament to how good they truly were.
                      There was also the build up to it. Rubber Soul was different than any other Beatle album. Revolver took it further. But nothing prepared us for Sgt. Pepper's.

                      And in many ways, popular music was never the same.

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                      • #12
                        Re: It was 40 years ago today...

                        One of the greatest albums ever recorded in my opinion. I will point y'all in a direction though. There was a bnd in the 80's called big Daddy. They covered current hits of the day in styles from the 1950's and Early '60's. There was one exception. Big Daddy recorded the entire Sgt. Pepper album like that. For example the title song and reprise at the end is done like "Poison Ivy" by the Coasters, "When I'm 64" is done like "Sixty Minute Man" by the Dominoes, "Mister Kite" is done like "Pailsades Park" by Freddy Cannon, and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" is done like "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On."

                        BTW if anyone remembers "Blast to The Past" at Disneyland in the '80's, Big Daddy was one of the bands that played according to my research.
                        Originally posted by aashee
                        We are 100% grade A Disney Dorks.

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                        • #13
                          Re: It was 40 years ago today...

                          There are 2 albums that changed the way we listen to Rock Music.

                          The first was Sgt. Pepper. Just brilliant.

                          It also marked the split in the band. Red Album Vs. Blue Album. And in their personalities, with Harrison's "Within Without you", Lennons "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "A Day in the Life" and McCartney's continued bubblegum "Lovley Rita" and "Fixing a Hole"

                          (The other album being "Dark Side of the Moon")
                          -----------------------------------------------
                          DISNEYLAND: Greatest Man-Made Place On Earth :thumbup:

                          YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK: Greatest *GOD-Made Place On Earth :thumbup:

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                          • #14
                            Re: It was 40 years ago today...

                            Yeah, yeah, yeah!!!!!!!!!!! :yea::bow:

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