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The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band CD (album) cover

SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

4.32 | 951 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars We were taught in marketing class that not only is imitation the sincerest form of flattery but that imitators can ultimately best innovators at their own game. If one accepts the premise that the Beatles exerted tremendous influence on pop and rock music - hard to deny - and prog rock - much more debatable, at least based on the contents of this album - one can also name dozens of bands which took the styles popularized by the Beatles to hitherto unimagined places.

On the pop and rock side of the ledger, how many QUEEN tracks exceeded what the Beatles were aiming at in "When I'm 64". Even "Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon" was a less coy statement. On the prog side, even the most mundane Moody Blues tunes from "In Search of a Lost Chord" bested "Within You Without You", mellotron pitch turns notwithstanding. Point of fact: the MOODY BLUES were really the contemporaries of the Beatles, producing "Days of Future Passed" at this very time, which was a far bigger influence on the merging of classical with rock than anything here. PROCOL HARUM were no slouches when they made the landmark "A White Shade of Pale". These two recordings have the distinction of having aged far better than almost anything in the Beatles canon, at least from a progressive standpoint.

In the end, one can only judge something for how it works now. Apart from LSD and "Day in the Life", there isn't much here that doesn't sound hackneyed, over the top, affected, and exaggerated, from the posturing beat rock of the title cut to the simplistic "Help from my Friends" to the twee "She's Leaving Home".

Take on its own this is at best an average album that helped give birth to much more average music, and some better music, in the decades that followed. From our perspective as prog fans, it was mostly a few of the BEATLES' contemporaries who built the framework for our favourite progressive artists that followed, with the Beatles contributing the more flamboyant and populist accents to those artists. Like the album's namesake, the story that the Beatles were the father of prog is IMO simply a canard.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |

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