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


The Beatles



4.33 | 1018 ratings

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5 stars While I personally prefer 'Revolver', The White Album and 'Abbey Road', there's no doubting that this is a masterpiece. Maybe not a progressive masterpiece, but a masterpiece of rock in the 1960s. It has become one of the most important albums of the last century, and the artwork is some of the most recognisable. This album also contains some of The Beatles first 'progressive' songs.

While this isn't a concept album, we are supposed to pretend that The Beatles are actually a fictional band known as 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'. I imagine this is because The Beatles were so surprised by their own change in musical style in the space of one year, that they were unsure if this was really 'Beatles music'. The title track, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band introduces us to this fictional band. This track really rocks, with a heavy guitar sound and great brass instruments used as decoration.

This segues straight into With A Little From My Friends, which is sung by Ringo, although he is introduced as Billy Shears. Of course, using a segue was very new for the '60s. This song is incredibly lame and dull, and probably the reason I feel this way is because I was made to sing this at school! Ringo just about holds the final note of this track, but it's funny to hear him struggle.

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds was not written about LSD, but you can hardly blame people for making the connection. This is a truly psychedelic track, and a very influential song too. The lyrics are very surreal and very thought provoking. I like how you are unsure of the time signature in the opening bar, which is actually 12/8. With a great chorus on top of that, there is little to complain about here.

Getting Better has a fantastic guitar sound. The lyrics are brilliant, and very uplifting, although the lyric 'I used to be cruel to my woman: I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved.' is absolutely shocking! I have to say, this album is also getting better.

Fixing A Hole is also a more psychedelic track, which gets more surreal as the track continues. The use of a harpsichord on this song could be seen as progressive.

The run of mature songs which started with Yesterday continues with the beautiful She's Leaving Home. The lyrics are very moving.

Psychedelia is at it's highest on Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! which was inspired by a circus poster. The use of instruments, and especially the instrumental make this a very progressive piece.

Harrison's Indian influence is at a peak on Within You Without You, which is essentially an traditional Indian group playing with George singing. This track is rather mesmerising when you listen to it properly, but otherwise seems a bit long, dull and structureless. This music requires you to really focus to enjoy it, but I'm not a big fan really.

When I'm Sixty-Four provides a complete change in sound. This is another song we used to sing in school, and consequently I don't have fond memories of this track either. This song seems to go into too much depth about the ins and outs of becoming old.

Lovely Rita is another psychedelic track, with some good lyrics. There's a good play on words, 'When it gets dark, I tow your heart away and the eloquence of 'May I enquire discretely?' is wonderful every time I hear it. However, the panting and moaning at the end of the song is very unnecessary.

Good Morning brings us back to the psychedelic world, with very strange lyrics spoken over a 5/4 beat. What this song is about, I have no idea, but it sounds great!

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) is played at a faster tempo than the title track, and gives the band a chance to say goodbye, but as with any good concert, you need an encore!

A Day In The Life is ... utterly amazing. This is a progressive track indeed, with a middle section that is totally different to the other sections. Everything on this track is amazing, the lyrics, the orchestral crescendo, even Ringo's drumming! Certainly the best track on the album, and one of the first progressive masterpieces.

Encased in a glorious gatefold sleeve - with some indulgent goodies as well on the inside - this was a very progressive step for the band! Since it's release, this album has sold over 32 million copies, so it's likely you've already heard this album, but in case you haven't, you should really pick this one up and see what all the rave is about.

baz91 | 5/5 |


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