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The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover
4.36 | 1224 ratings | 104 reviews | 62% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1967

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (2:02)
2. With a Little Help from My Friends (2:44)
3. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (3:28)
4. Getting Better (2:47)
5. Fixing a Hole (2:36)
6. She's Leaving Home (3:35)
7. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite (2:37)
8. Within You Without You (5:05)
9. When I'm Sixty Four (2:37)
10. Lovely Rita (2:42)
11. Good Morning Good Morning (2:41)
12. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise) (1:18)
13. A Day in the Life (5:33)

Total Time 39:45

Line-up / Musicians

- George Harrison / lead, rhythm & acoustic guitars, sitar, tambura, harmonica, maracas, kazoo, lead (8,12), harmony & backing vocals
- John Lennon / rhythm, lead & acoustic guitars, Hammond, harmonica, tambourine, maracas, tape loops & Fx, lead (3,7,11-13), harmony & backing vocals
- Paul McCartney / bass, lead guitar, electric & acoustic pianos, Lowrey & Hammond organs, tape loops & Fx, lead (1,4-6,9,10,12,13), harmony & backing vocals
- Ringo Starr / drums, maracas, tambourine, congas, tubular bells, harmonica, lead vocals (2)

- George Martin / piano (4,10), Hammond (2), harpsichord (5), Lowrey organ & glockenspiel & harmonium (7), tape loops & Fx, orchestrations, producer
- Neil Aspinall / tamboura, harmonica
- Geoff Emerick / tape loops & Fx
- Mal Evans / harmonica
- 4 French horns (1)
- string section & harp (6)
- Mike Leander / orchestration (6)
- Asian Music Circle / tabla, dilrubas, tamboura & swarmandal (8)
- 8 violins & 4 cellos (8)
- clarinet trio (9)
- Sounds Incorporated / saxophone sextet (11)
- 40-piece orchestra (13)

Releases information

Artwork: Jann Haworth with Michael Cooper (photo) and Madame Tussauds (wax figures)

LP Parlophone - PMC 7027 (1967, UK) Mono version
LP Parlophone - PCS 7027 (1967, UK) Stereo version

CD Parlophone - CDP 7 46442 2 (1987, Europe) New Stereo mix by George Martin
CD Parlophone - 0946 3 82419 2 8 (2009, Europe) Stereo remaster by Guy Massey & Steve Rooke; CD-ROM section includes Mini-Documentary video

Thanks to Certif1ed for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy THE BEATLES Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Music

THE BEATLES Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band ratings distribution

(1224 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(62%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (7%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

THE BEATLES Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Tony Fisher
3 stars I must confess, I never considered The Beatles to be progressive in the true sense but, since they're here, they must be treated on merit. This album was hugely influential at the time and is rated by some as a masterpiece. Not, I'm afraid, by me. It is a fairly turgid collection of songs; looking back, tracks like When I'm Sixty Four, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds and the title track are really not that good, even if they broke ground at the time. The musicianship is also way behind the standards of those shortly to follow, though George Harrison has his moments, and neither Lennon nor McCartney are vocalists of real quality. High points are She's Leaving Home and For the Benefit of Mr Kite; the rest is not bad but doesn't inspre me to want to get the album out and play it.

Let us not forget, this band made it's name on a tidal wave of pop and female adulation. Later attempts to be more creative were welcome but not actually that good; because they were the "great" Beatles it was way over-hyped. I always thought it was a case of "The Emperor's New Clothes" - plenty of image but little real substance. Overall, 2.5* which I'll round up to 3 purely because of it's influence.

Review by richardh
4 stars This is impossible to rate! Without it would the British Progressive Rock scene really have taken off? So many of those artists were pushed in the right direction by this most important of all bands.Admittedly its 'dated' but then so's King Crimson's 'In The Court..' and that sits rightly high up in prog fans affections.This deserves 5 stars for just its influence but the one thing that lets it down slightly is the average musicianship.So I'll go for a sensible 4 stars.
Review by Menswear
5 stars For the last time, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is not referring to LSD.

Whew, with that said, let's get to the beef. And there's a lot of meat to chew, much more than Revolver. This is the first real 'drug' album by the Fab Four. In fact, John admitted many times that LSD was the main stuff for inspirations, expiring the last breaths of pot in Revolver. Fine, the Bealtes were experimenting drugs in the 60's, and so your mom did too, right? From the cover to the technology used, everything was going much faster, much brighter, much groovier. The amount of goodies in Pepper is more abundant than any other record before, making every number a piece of history to remember.

Phil Collins said that when Pepper came out, every band was thinking: 'Oh wow, you can do that in studio now?!?'. Oh yeah, the first REAL advance in technology is not only audible but also tastable. Good jolly, this album is pure 3D extravanganza. Mostly every bit as it's progressive elements (except maybe for Getting Better or 64, Paul's fault) and they're d-y-n-o-m-i-t-e.

From the Who to Hendrix to Wilson, everybody will tell you how much ruckuss this album made and how much lumberjacking work it did to make rock n' roll progress. Thank you guys for so much work and good humor.

Who thought the most recognized record of all time was a progressive rock one?

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For 1967, this was huge!! This record is more than rock: it contains the early psychedelic patterns, so present during the Flower Power era; it also contains basic progressive elements that surely contributed to make the progressive rock style itself to emerge: the prog band that has been able to take it and elaborate even more on it was definitely King Crimson: the record has many similitudes with this prog rock band. "She is leaving" sounds like early Alan Parson's Project. One will be surprisingly amazed by the quality of the recording, and by the technical performance involved. The songs are very varied; some are really catchy and made the history, like "Lucy in the sky with diamonds" "Fixing a hole" or "Little help with my friends", which has been a cover song of so many artists later on, including Joe Cocker among others. The instruments involved are not only guitar, bass, drums, lead & backing vocals: there are also many percussions, woodwind instruments (clarinet), strings & horns arrangements, piano and (maybe?) some keyboards. There are some animals sounds, crowd animation, circus ambience, so the tracks are rather loaded, and actually no songs are bad. It is easy to see here why the Beatles are considered as being the fathers of progressive rock!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars What else can be said about one of the most praised albums of all time? It surely has its place in the rock (and not only rock) history and is definitely a must listen if you wish to understand what was happening in those old times back in 1960s and how come that a fairly simple, beat music like rock'n'roll started to "progress".

Alas, my personal feeling tells me that much of its merit was over-estimated and that the press needed to point at one moment, at one album in history to tell "this is it - it all started here!" No, for me it started a bit earlier, with Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde", BEACH BOYS' "Pet Sounds", THE BYRDS' "Fifth Dimension", THE KINKS' "Face to Face", or even with their own THE BEATLES' "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver"! Apart from definite masterpieces like "Day In The Life", "Fixing a Hole", "She is Leaving Home" and "LSD", other songs are nothing more than a catchy hodge-podge of then quite new technological experimentation in the studio. Most of them are more interesting because of the "special effects" employed in their structure, than because they are really good songs.

Nevertheless, this album have grown to almost mythical proportions and in order to de- mythologize it, one should give it a careful listen. This is especially important for younger proggers who may find some interesting details to dig out. I have already done my investigation and the result is fairly dissapointing.

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars This week I borrowed a few The Beatles albums in order to make reviews for Prog Archives. For me it was a challenge to write about the both highly acclaimed as controversial The Beatles on this site. After two listening sessions I wonder or I should judge this album on its generally considered pivotal merits when it was released in 1967 or should I judge it on its progressive elements as just another band that is added to this site? I can imagine that this album was innovative and exciting in those days (I am from 1960) when progressive rock was still embryonal and the entire pop and rock music scene was broadening its horizon.

The 13 compositions sound melodic, harmonic, varied and contain some surprising musical elements like the contrast between the rock guitar and the classical orchestrations in the titletrack, the sitar and tablas in the sultry Within You Without You and the many flowing shifting moods in A Day In The Life. These guys were great tunesmiths, the pleasant vocal harmonies sound very distinctive and several songs deliver good rock and roll guitar. But if I look at this album anno 2006, I have to admit that most songs sound poppy and even a bit boring to me (it goes on and on with the refrains), I really can't understand all the excitment about this The Beatles album. For me the real pioneering masters were Genesis (blending folk, rock and classic), Colosseum (blending jazz, rock, classic), Syd Barrett Pink Floyd (blending pop, rock and psychedelia) and The Nice (blending rock and classic), to name a few from a subjective view! But if you ask the musicians from those bands about The Beatles, I am sure most will hail them as their main influence... By the way, thanks to Rene for borrowing me his The Beatles albums.

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When I first bought this album in 1967 it was a revelation, and turned my monochrome world into vivid colour. Everybody knew all the songs, the Sunday papers had a field day with the lyrics (drugs, dark sinister hidden meanings!), Sgt.pepper became a whole culture. the boys had stopped touring and were sending us messages from space, and all sorts of weird things were going on. Looking at it now all these years later it does seem like an odd collection of childish pop songs compared to jimi hendrix, though LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS still sends a tingle and DAY IN THE LIFE is an all time classic. The beatles were having a bit of fun and i wonder if it's still all taken too seriously,I think the white album which came the year after was far better. Anyway, Sgt.pepper is NOT the greatest ever album ever made but will always go down in history as the one that changed everything!


Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of prog mailing lists that I've been subscribing as member, someone posted a message that said something like prohibiting the discussion about The Beatles because it's not prog. As you might guess, it stimulated a bunch of reactions from other members - including myself, of course - opposing about that idea. It's ironic putting off The Beatles from the discussion topic as in fact The Beatles has created world-wide influences to many musicians on planet earth at the time as well as the years to following, even right now. Many prog musicians were influenced by The Beatles.

Recently, I purchased MOJO Magazine with David Gilmour as cover story. The magz also gives free CDs titled "PSYCH OUT!" - 15 Nuggets From The Scene That Spawned Pink Floyd. It's a very informative article about Pink Floyd, David Gilmour as well as Roger Waters. When I spun the CD that contained songs created in the period (mostly) of 1967 - 1968 it reminded me to two albums that I consider "prog" albums by The Beatles, i.e. "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "Magical Mystery Tour". I spun the "Sgt Pepper's" CD right after the PSYCH OUT by Mojo and found out that Sgt Pepper's is much mature musically as compared to other bands featured at Mojo's bonus CD. Not only mature, the music is really progressive as it contains songs with style and tempo changes, unusual time signatures and a bit complex composition.

I don't want to write a long review as many have done much better on this album. But definitely, this album is truly a prog one. Even, the opening track has already demonstrated very intense prog elements. Other tracks like "Fixing Hole", "She's Leaving Home", "Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite" (my favorite), "Lovely Rita" clearly show how prog this album was.

When people talk about the birth of prog music, there has been many views who was the pioneer? Was it King Crimson "In The Court of The Crimson King", Procol Harum or The Beatles? I'd rather vote for the Beatles especially this "Sgt Pepper's" album. If people perceive that the birth of prog came out with mellotron drenched album like In The Court. If that is the boundary, nothing wrong saying In The Court was the pioneer. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Guillermo
5 stars For me it is hard to say if this album is better than "Revolver" or later albums recorded by The Beatles, but it is also very enjoyable and very influential in the development of Progressive Rock music, IMO. It was a very expensive album in making because they recorded it in 4 months, starting with the excellent songs which were released in February 1967 as a single: "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane".

The first time that I listened to this album was in 1973. Then, in 1982, I bought a new copy, made in England. After listening to both versions again, I found some differences. Then, I leaned that the first version that I listened to was the Mono version (despite saying "Stereo" in the cover!) and that the version that I bought in 1982 was really the Stereo version, as the cover said. Years later, when I bought Mark Lewisohn`s excellent book called "The Beatles: Recording Sessions", I learned that yes, the Mono and Stereo versions were different not only in the mixing, but in the inclusion of some sound effects which the Mono version included. I also learned that the Mono version was mixed with The Beatles being present in the studio, while the Stereo version was mixed by George Martin and other Recording Engineers, but without The Beatles being present in the studio. So, Lewisohn says that the "real" version is the Mono version. I also think that the Mono version is better. The C.D. version, released only in Stereo, which I also bought, includes some sound effects originally included at the end of the Side Two of the first pressings of the English L.P.

This album has a lot of very good arrangements, done by The Beatles with Producer George Martin. For me, this album is a "musical mind trip" (without using alcohol and drugs!). My favourite songs from this album are: "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "She`s Leaving Home", "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite", "Within You Without You", "When I`m Sixty-Four" and "A Day in the Life".

I hope that some day EMI Records could release in the C.D. format the Mono version of this album. It is more enjoyable, more "magical", IMO.

Review by Chicapah
5 stars How good is this album? I'm 17 years old and full of tetosterone, I pick up this brand new release from the Fab Four on the way over to Patsy Warren's house for a little wrestling on her couch and I end up telling her to quit smooching on me so I can concentrate on the music I'm hearing! THAT'S how good it is. When this record hit the racks and airwaves in 1967 it changed the alignment of the planets. It's hard to argue with history. This is the apex of the most influential band of all time. It is seamless and flows with sublime near- perfection from one song to the next. Just reading down the roster of songs leaves me shaking my head even now. It's got everything a great recording requires. And there may never be another song composed like "A day in the Life" ever again. The unique ending leaves you in a daze as you listen to the very strings inside the pianos vibrate in a slow decay into infinity. Rarely does an album live up to a year's worth of hype but this one did. Again, try to listen as if you'd never heard the title track or "Lucy" or "She's leaving home" and perhaps you will get a sense of the excitement that I heard on the first listen and made me ignore Patsy's considerable allure all those years ago. Girls like her were a dime a dozen but music this great only comes along once or twice in a lifetime.
Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The Beatles are here on Prog Archives because of their enormous importance to the history and evolution of rock, and their undoubted influence on early prog artists. (An influence which continues to be heard to this day.) No other band has ever been, or will ever be, as big as the four lads from Liverpool were. When it came to well-crafted, melodic and catchy pop songs that had the power to resonate with listeners of almost all ages and cultures, no one could touch the Beatles. A testament to the timeless quality of their work is the fact that their material continues to be played all over the world. Legions of other artists, representing diverse genres from pop, to jazz, to soul, to country, to disco, to Celtic, to prog have seen fit to cover one or more Beatles songs. Indeed, you'd be hard pressed to find any adult on planet Earth who doesn't have at least a passing familiarity with songs like "Let It Be," "Help," "Revolution," "Eleanor Rigby," etc, etc, etc! Love 'em or hate 'em (and there are many more in the former camp than the latter), unless you're a modern-day stone age tribesman, you've heard of, and heard, the Beatles. No comprehensive library of popular music would be complete without at least a couple of Beatles albums, and no student of musical history would have a complete education without an exposure to their enduring work.

Given the Beatles massive impact on music and the wider culture (not to mention the fact that their music is just darned good stuff), every prog fan, young or old, should own at least one of their seminal albums, and SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND would be a very good choice. The importance of this ground-breaking recording cannot be overstated. Everyone, but EVERYONE - including the pioneers of progressive rock -- owned a copy (or was at least more than passing familiar with it), and most of those who did adored it. Over the near forty years since SGT. PEPPER'S release, the list of important artists who have cited it as having had an influence on their musical development has been a long list indeed. I have all of the Beatles' albums, and still play them all with pleasure, but it is the band's latter-day, mustached and more "psychedelic" phase that will be of most interest or relevance to the progressive rock fan. SGT. PEPPER'S looms large among those deeper, "longer haired" albums (from REVOLVER through to LET IT BE), and it's the only one I plan to review here.

To critique a Beatles album without a view to, and appreciation for, its historical context is, I believe, to do it a disservice. SGT. PEPPER'S is not just a loosely-connected collection of thirteen well-made pop songs from 1967 - this album set the standard for studio craft, and the wider possibilities of pop as an artistic medium. Simply put, it raised the bar (by a wide increment), and let developing artists and the industry see that rock could be made to do much more than it had to that point. To a large degree, to properly appreciate this album, you "had to be there."

It's all quite good, of course, but the most "proggish" tracks include the dreamy/psychedelic "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," (a ditty whose initials caused quite a stir at the time), the touching "She's Leaving Home" with its exquisite orchestral accents, "Within You Without You" (a George Harrison composition, which reflects his interest in Eastern spirituality and music), and the awesome "A Day in the Life." This last masterful, moving album closer might seem somewhat unremarkable now (especially to younger listeners), but its contrasting sections, time changes and greater length that moved beyond the usual two to three-minute radio-friendly format were bold, brave developments for its day. (Granted, you can point to other artists from that bygone era who were also writing longer, deeper, more complex rock songs, but none had the enormous reach, influence and audience of the Beatles.)

I would never counsel owning only one Beatles album (if only because you'd thus be missing out on a LOT of great music), but if I were to be so cruelly limited, SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEART'S CLUB BAND would be the one I'd bring along for my exile to that fabled desert island. A five star masterpiece of (small P) "progressive" music!

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In June of 1967, The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club, the album that changed all the rules of rock. From the artwork to the overall craft on composition, this album was groundbreaking. It's often hailed as the best album ever released, but in my opinion it doesn't quite come that close, in fact, I wouldn't even call it a masterpiece. Still, regardless, this is a great achievement and everyone should really listen to it at least once in their lifetimes. What makes this album different from the rest? The budding experimentation that could be heard on Rubber Soul and Revolver comes full circle on this album, with many pieces crossing into many different atmospheres and moods, and there are a lot of varying styles that go along with those pieces. The listener is taken on a journey throughout the 40 minutes of music and it's a highly enjoyable experience.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band opens up the album with some strong riffing and ripping leads from Harrison. The band introduce themselves as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and they really share some great harmonies and McCartney has some great lead vocals as well. It segues into With a Little Help From My Friends (after McCartney introduces "the one and only Billy Shears"), a somber Ringo led tune with some heart felt and sincere vocals as well as some dynamic call and response lyrics in the middle sections. It's a great piece that coupled with the intro starts the album off well. Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds is a genuine psychedelic piece (some also derive the title to LSD) with some quirky lyrics from Lennon as well as some great arpeggios from Harrison. The chorus sections in which McCartney lets loose on both bass and vocal is also great. Getting Better is a fun piece with a nice droning guitar bit and some uplifting lyrics (although the verses bring up some racy subject matter) and some great music overall (and some extremely lush harmonies). Fixing a Hole is more or less a throwaway piece but it has some fun musicianship and some nice vocals from McCartney. She's Leaving Home may be the saddest Beatles song ever written. It's in the same vein as For No One and Eleanor Rigby as a strictly orchestral piece with some McCartney vocal over it. It has a genuinely sad feel and it's the most down track on the album (next to A Day in the Life).

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite is another genuine psychedelic piece, and it may be my favorite song on the album. The use of organs/calliopes and circus sound effects are complimented wonderfully by strong drumming from Ringo and some awesome majestic musical interludes. It's a fantastic piece with John Lennon as his best. Within Without You is George Harrison's sole contribution to the album, and it picks up where Love You To left off. This is another raga influenced indian piece, with some interesting tabla and sitar work from the array of backing musicians. The only problem I have with this piece is that it gets a bit boring, despite it being of a somewhat short length, especially during the interlude sections. When I'm Sixty Four is a fun number with a great reed intro and some fun lyrics and vocals from McCartney. The orchestrations are brilliant as well, with clarinets and other instruments of that sort playing a great main melody. Lovely Rita is another throwaway piece. It isn't bad, but it's unfitting when put into the context of the rest of the album. Good Morning Good Morning has the first example of the Beatles working in odd times (the main rhythm is in 5/4) and it also is one of their more psychedelic pieces on the album, with some fun sound effects and vocals from Lennon, the barn yard animal sounds also come off quite well.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise) is a short interlude that acts as an introduction to the finale of the album, it has some nice harmony vocals and some great leads from Harrison. A Day in the Life is one of the greatest pieces the Beatles have ever written. It begins sadly with just piano, acoustic guitar, and a double tracked Lennon vocal. Slowly the rest of the band kicks in (along with the orchestra). Ringo is spectacular on this track, with some precise fills and great rhythmic work. The song has many psychedelic and majestic sections (with soaring violins and Lennon vocals), and it changes in tempo and mood when McCartney takes the lead, but then it reverts to the old theme from the beginning of the song. The ending note (a simple pound of an E chord on the piano and the backing orchestra) lasts around 30 seconds and really ends the song on an epic note (which it is). Finally, if you wait around long enough you'll hear a vocal experiment at the end that has more psychedelic tinges to it, and while it's creative, it's really unsettling after the masterpiece track A Day in the Life.

Overall, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a spectacular album that experiments with the more psychedelic side of music and it really explores the depths of the mind rather than the heart (like the old Beatles album did). While it's not a masterpiece, it comes with an extremely high recommendation from me and I think everyone should at least listen to this album once in their lifetime for an unforgettable experience. 4.5/5.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I have to agree with some fellow reviewers in so far as they are bemused as to why this album receives cult status. I too feel it is not worthy of more than 3 stars because in the main the musical content does not reach the same breathtaking heights of ' Double White', ' Revolver' 'Rubber Soul' or even ' Let it Be'. there are some real pearlers like ' Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds(LSD)', ' When I'm 64' and ' Lovely Rita'. What makes this album popular with a huge fanbase is the fact that it does hold true to being a concept album. Overall a very good album but nothing more. Influential very definitely.
Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars Paul McCartney came up with the idea of an alter ego band that would give them the freedom to pursue new ideas and sounds. And certainly this album was entirely different from anything that had come out before it. As a matter of fact THE BEATLES insisted that everything on this record had to be different.The album sleeve was the first to feature printed lyrics and it was one of the first to have a gatefold sleeve. There were no egos getting in the way on this recording and McCartney and Lennon especially were sharing ideas and the best ideas (it didn't matter who's) always won out.

The title track is actually reprised just before the final song "A Day In the Life". "Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is an uptempo song with some good guitar with an edge and lots of brass as well. This song blends into "With A Little Help From My Friends" sung by Ringo. Great song ! "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" is as psychedelic as a song can possibly be. It's a Lennon daydream made into a song. A psychedelic masterpiece.

"Getting Better" and "Fixing A Hole" were both written and sung by Paul. "She's Leaving Home" is a beautiful, slow paced orchestral song. "Being For The Benefit Of Mr.Kite" is a Lennon sung and written song that was inspired by a circus poster. "Within You Without You" is a George Harrison song that he alone plays (sitar) and sings on. A song about materialsm. "When I'm Sixty-Four" and "Lovely Rita" are both McCartney songs while Lennon wrote and sang "Good Morning Good Morning". "A Day In The Life" is simply one of the greatest songs of all time. The most complex song on the record with amazing lyrics.

Well in my opinion this is without question a masterpiece and an album that I believe birthed the Progressive movement that would follow.

Review by Chris H
2 stars For 1967, this was amazing and groundbreaking. Listening to it in a bedroom 40 years later, groundbreaking is far from the first word that comes to my mind. I was thinking more along the lines of extremely dated and tired sounding. Must of been the drug references talking to the masses back in the day...

The title track starts off this album, and it is sort of a tale about a mock rock n' roll band. Fairly good, their isn't a lot of substance past the basics. "With A Little Help From my Friends" is one of my favorite songs off of this album, even if I do prefer the later Joe Cocker version to this one. An excellent semi-ballad about the importance of friendship, this is one of the few songs that still seems to have a relevant meaning in today's' world. "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" is about as subtle a drug reference song as Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Lake Shore Drive". Forget about peer pressure, if you can't resist thinking about LSD after this song you should get a handshake. Really dated and boring 40 years later however, and it wasn't all that interesting to start with. "Getting Better" is an okay song, not too great but nothing to laugh at either. That's the case with most of these songs, pretty neutral. "Fixing A Hole" and "She's Leaving Home" are two absolutely horrendous songs. They have almost no melody and the worst lyrics to grace paper and later sound. Please do yourself a favor and skip these songs.

"Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite" is a jolly little tune that makes excellent use of circus style calliopes and organs. One of my favorites off of the album, no doubt about it. "Within You, Without You" is the only George Harrison composition on the entire album, and I'm glad so. This is another horrible song, and the although the Eastern influences were a symbol of the times they really didn't fit too well into a Beatles song without completely destroying the intended sound. "When I'm Sixty-Four" is another over the top poppy and upbeat songs, which ends up making me more and more annoyed every time I hear it. Just gets on my nerves, and I'm sure other people share the same feels about this song. "Lovely Rita" is one of only two songs on the album that actually strike me as very good. This is an excellent little ballad of sorts, and I always seem to think of this track during Beatles discussions. I doubt this song will ever lose my interest. "Good Morning Good Morning" is a barrage of sounds in the beginning, and once again instead of giving me that fluttery feeling as intended, I just get rather annoyed. The reprise of the title track is just the very same thing with a little heavier guitar and outro lyrics instead of intro ones. Much better than the original. "A Day In The Life" is the second song off of this album that I really, really like. A great mix of psychedelia and Paul McCartney's school boy blues, no other song could end this album like "A Day In The Life" could. Perfect song.

I just do not understand the hype. Rolling Stone says it is the #1 Rock N' Roll album of all time. I think not! Most of this album is useless, over the top crap. Honestly, I can't think of another way to say it. They were trying too hard to appeal to the masses instead of focusing on their musicianship and the overall quality. This is no album to get excited about, trust me. Two stars, but only because of "Lovely Rita", "A Day In The Life", and "With A Little Help From My Friends".

Review by russellk
5 stars This album does not contain THE BEATLES' best music, in my opinion. But it did push music in a new direction, inspiring countless bands to consider an album as more than a collection of unrelated songs.

An eclectic concoction of ballads, rock numbers and two extended, conceptual pieces ('Within You, Without You' and 'A Day In The Life'), the album comes together musically and thematically. A band no longer comfortable with touring, THE BEATLES here go one step further and offer us the idea of a surrogate band - long before PINK FLOYD reprised the idea on 'The Wall'. The concept works perfectly, managing to look forward to the days when musicians will be treated as artists rather than performing hacks, and at the same time look back to music-hall and honky-tonk.

The music itself is pleasant, without challenging the contemporary ear. Those purchasing this forty years after its release will perhaps be disappointed by what to their ears sounds dated. But at the time the psychedelia offered here was difficult for many BEATLES fans to digest. Nevertheless, this album should be listened to by everyone interested in music, and owned by those for whom music is a passion.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I agree that this was a very influential album as it was released, but this was also due to the successfulness of the group itself along with the context of popular commercial rock music markets, and in my opinion not just because of the objective merits of the record itself, when comparing to the musical scene at large in the time of releasing. For my taste here are too much happy-hippy surf rants instead of really thoughtful, moody psychedelia, though I admit there are good performances here too. The famous album opener is quite nice rocker, but its sequel is another basic Beatles song, which don't evoke any kind of strong feelings in me. "Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds" is the composition here which pleases me most, and if you get bored of the classic version here, you can search William Shatner's interpretation for something completely different. I'm also not sure if this album is a pure "concept album", though there are elements presented here, which were used later in constructing of really contact theme-albums (the merging of tracks + reprises). If you're a beatle-head you already have this, but if you're into happy, worriless music, this album surely is a safe classic to be brought in your record collections.
Review by evenless

Exactly on the 1st of June 1967 this Beatles epic album saw first light in the UK. It's my personal favourite Beatles album, as this one can be considered as The Beatles 1st real progressive effort. After making many melodic poppy albums The Beatles decided to do almost everything different on this one.

Why was (and still is) this album so important? First of all on this record The Beatles decided to use very renovating recording techniques. Secondly they mixed many different musical styles (Indian instruments, Rock and Roll, Blues, Classical and Psychedelical Music) and thirdly this album was more an artistically concept album, rather than just a 'bunch of songs". Last but not least a lot of effort was put in the front cover of this LP and each person on the cover has a whole story behind him or her. It also contains many clues about Paul's supposed death. And even more clues would be put in their music and lyrics on this album and on albums that were yet to come.

The Beatles recorded "Sgt. Pepper's" between December 6, 1966 and the 1st of April 1967. They were in the recording studios for about 700 hours total! Keep that in mind next time when you listen to this album!

No need to analyse this epic album track by track I suppose, but my personal favourites would be "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (Often referred to as the drug LSD) and the final track of this album "A Day in the Life". This song really has everything in it! Paul and John both singing verse by verse with Paul describing "the start of a fatal day until the moment where it all went wrong", followed by John humming one of the most beautiful harmonies that I have ever heard. (As if one has arrived in heaven). After this many classical instruments start playing slowly and the sound grows louder and louder into a very chaotic soundscape. Simply amazing!

I feel I simply cannot rate this album any lower that the full 5 stars, simply because this is The Beatles at their best and this is probably the moment where progressive music all started. If you don't agree calling it progressive, you have to admit that it was, and still is, a milestone in musical history!

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
5 stars Just a few thoughts about this album as it hits the 40 years old being released day, it's 40th birthday of sorts.

I was only two years old back then, it was likely a few short years before I heard anything from it. It was part of a weird revolution in music at the time. Glad to have it make it's particular impact on the music that would follow.

Classic Progressive music as we know it may have still happened, but it wouldn't been has rich. I'll play the fractional ratings game once again, it's a 4.5 that rounds to 5.

And, oh yeah, WHEN I'M SIXTY-FOUR , it'll only be 62. Or, maybe 1967 once again...

Review by 1800iareyay
5 stars Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is quite possibly the most important album in rock history. Overnight, it changed musicians perceptions of what could be done with rock music. Inspired by the pressures of fame (a recurring muse for the constantly hounded Beatles), Paul McCartney created the concept of the Beatles hiding from the public using Sgt. Pepper's as a disguise. A silly theme, yes, especially when you see the Day-Glo uniforms the band wore for it (they are so atrociously bright Stevie Wonder could see them coming from a mile away). The writing was aided by LSD, which isn't hard to believe if you glance at the artwork or listen to the songs (yes, I know Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds is not about the drug, but that's not what I'm talking about).

From the bombastic opening title track we are led into "With A Little Help From My Friends," which has thinly-veiled pro-drug sentiments, but it works much better at face value as a tune about, well, friends. "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," "Getting Better," and "Fixing a Hole" all have the standard Beatles optimism, but there is a hint of cynicism borne out of the twisted state of the world at the time, not to mention their growing hatred on one another. "She's Leaving Home" is where the melancholy really hits, and it's even more depressing than "Eleanor Rigby," which is impressive in its own sad way. "Within You Without You" is where the influence of Ravi Shankar on George Harrison is most evident. The best track on the album, however, is without a doubt "A Day in the Life," which I believe is the band's best song. John Lennon's cynicism clashes with Paul's optimism (life would later imitate art), with Paul asking us to "see the show" and John lamenting about the news. George Martin's orchestral buildup is masterful, and it's teh first bit of music to ever terrify and thrill me at the same time. That, coupled with Jon and Paul's best lyrics (a feat to say the least) make this an all time classic.

The impact of Sgt. Pepper's on the music world cannot be understated. It showed that rock was more than merely a variation of blues, and it pushed the envelope of experimentation in music. Rolling Stone called this the best album of all time for it's lasting impact. That is one of three times RS has ever been right about music (another naming Hendrix best guitarist I'll leave the third open in case they say something intelligent in the future). To some it's sounds dated, but I think the opposite, that it's the best preserved save Abbey Road. You are not a fan of music without this album. It's devoid of filler, and it truly defines masterpiece.

Grade: A+

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "I'd love to turn you on"

Sgt. Pepper and Piper at the Gates of Dawn are two early foundational albums for me that occupy different sides of the coin. While both are early psych they represent different moods and different approaches to me as a listener. Pepper being a sunnier and happier album at least on the surface, Piper being a darker and stranger one.

I can only imagine what it must have been like to have purchased Pepper in '67 and heard it for the first time. Today's technology may make some think "what's the big deal?" when they play this but remember we're talking about half a lifetime ago. The Beatles wanted to present the world with something totally new. Engineer Geoff Emerick remembered: "The Beatles insisted that everything on Sgt. Pepper had to be different so everything was either distorted, limited, heavily compressed or treated with excessive equalization. We had microphones right down in the bells of the brass instruments and headphones turned into microphones attached to violins. We plastered vast amounts of echo onto vocals and sent them through the circuitry of the revolving Leslie speaker inside a Hammond organ. We used giant primitive oscillators to vary the speed of instruments of vocals and we had tapes chopped to pieces and stuck together upside down and wrong way around." The album was also the first to feature printed lyrics on the inside sleeve, something else we take for granted these days.

But it's not just about mind blowing studio wizardry anyway but also one of the best products of two of the last century's best songwriters. While John was always considered the cool Beatle I've always had a soft spot for McCartney tracks like "She's Leaving Home." He somehow found the perfect mood and delivery to put you right into the home of this family going through a crisis. You can relate to the characters and feel sympathy for them. With the exception of A Day in the Life, it is John's stuff that feels uninspired to me. Mr. Kite is not what I've come to expect from Lennon.

Pepper was a natural follow-up to Revolver with the increased studio tricks and Paul coming into his own as the circus-master here. It's a less exciting spin for me than the other masterpieces of 1967 (Piper, Days of Future Passed) but the combination of Lucy, Leaving Home, and A Day in the Life insure Pepper's stature as a classic album for any rock fan. The follow-up, and similarly flavored "Magical Mystery Tour" is probably a more convincing album.

Review by ZowieZiggy
5 stars It is true to say that this album is one of the most influential of the rock history. But IMO, it has nothing to so with prog. Some links with psychedelia, that's for sure. But who didn't a psyche album in 1967 ?

"The Doors" did it already with their first album released in January of that year, Hendrix will flirt as well with the genre in "Electric Ladyland" (in 1968). Even the Stones released "Their Satanic Majesties Request". Not to mention Floyd of course, but there is little to discuss about their progressiveness, right ?

That said, "Peppers" is a jewel of an album.

It took the Fab Four no less than six months to record it (where they were used to release an album every six months; and this from their debut one till "Revolver"). The sound quality is close to perfection thanks to the use of the most advanced technology available in the UK.

Lots of effects and artifices were used as well, which procure a unique experience while listening very attentively to this great album.

Side one is a collection of pure wonders.

From the rocking and hard "Sgt. Peppers" to the wonderful "LSD" (oooooups, sorry. Nothing to with the drug of course). The arrangements; both vocals and instrumentals are excellent. The contrast between the slow verse and the upbeat chorus is rather catchy.

In between "With A Little Help Of My Friend" is the only song which features Ringo on the vocals and which I really like. This song will be magnificently covered by Joe Cocker during his Woodstock appearance. It has been three times a number one in the UK charts, but not this version.

"Getting Better" is very difficult but this song is another pearl. A true Lennon / McCartney collaboration. Melody at its best for a simple and dynamic song. It is really incredible to keep on with so many great numbers. OK, "Fixing A Hole" isn't extraordinary.

But what comes next is just wonderful. Again, the subtle use of chords is magnificent. It was the first Fab Four song which was not arranged by George Martin. He was not available at that time. This is so sweet a song; I just have the shivers while listening to this one (but there are many from their fabulous repertoire that do the same effect to me). Another highlight (but it is already the fifth one.).

Even if "Being for the Benefit Of Mr. Kite" is a bit weaker, it features such great strokes of inspiration that it turned to be interesting as well.

With the first notes of "Within You Without You" one can say that this is a George song. Fully in line with "Love You To" from "Revolver". Initially, it was a THIRTY minutes song! He modestly reduced it to a mere five minutes which is probably a better format IMO. Lyrics are fully inspired by Hinduism. Very much in their mood at the time (and for some time). Three Indian musicians are playing typical Indian instruments which provides this feeling of a full world music song.

The first weak song from "Sgt" is "When I'm Sixty Four". It is the first song Paul ever wrote (he was sixteen at that time). He really felt like releasing it at this time since his father would soon be sixty-four. "Lovely Rita" is much more accomplished and features some personal lyrics from Paul. Again, creativity is at its peak.

"Good Morning Good Morning" also features some tricky sounds all the way through. It is not the best track here either. Brass are too invading but again the research to put all things together is quite impressive. At the end, a whole menagerie is joyfully uttering as it would be doing on a farm in the early morning (hence the title).

The closing number is one of the most beautiful of the whole album. Melancholic, complex musical arrangements which will lead to an organized chaos just before the middle part (it will be repeated at the end of the song as well). It changes from mood all the time but is still very consistent. It is difficult to know how they could achieve this. But they are the Fab Four, right ?

This song was banned from the BBC because of its drug oriented lyrics. This might well be the most complex and creative song from the Fab Four. IMHHO.

It is a wonderful manner to close this unbelievable album. What else can I say ?

Five stars maybe ?

Review by Tom Ozric
4 stars The validity of THE BEATLES as a prog-band can be debated no-end, and I for one, never looked upon the 'Fab Four' as anything but a 60's 'Pop' group. Until recent years, I've looked on this album as a 'cool, 60's hippy' album and didn't quite see the brilliant facets of wonder hidden beneath the surface. I guess we are talking 'Proto' prog, which I understand to be 'not quite prog, but not standard fare either'. What these young lads did (in the name of art, music and entertainment) was to push the envelope of 'basic' recording formulas and techniques to the limit (what multi-track recording machines could offer, how one can manipulate reel-to-reel tape, stereo panning, microphone positioning, acoustics, dynamics - that sort of thing ) - these possibilities obviously manifested themselves within the composers' minds and naturally influenced the song-writing and creative process, resulting in a 'new sound', an inspired listening experience, and presented us with such enduring, vibrant and lovable songs. 'Seargent Pepper's...' has got a bit of everything for everyone !! Hard-Rock, Soft-Rock, Pop-Rock, Raga-Rock, Psychedelic, up-there, in-there and out-there. Truly is a landmark release and should find its way into every prog-lovers collection.
Review by Kotro
3 stars Not really sorry that they have to go

One of Rock n'Roll's most acclaimed albums - that's all I'm ready to admit regarding this piece of work from the merry men of Liverpool. I also won't dabble in its history - by now it is familiar to most, and I wouldn't be adding anything new. So, I will merely proceed with a simple analysis of the music itself, trying to set aside all the historical and artistic weight this album has been enduring. This is the review of someone completely detached of historical context and musical currents, listening to the music for music's sake. And, as usual in my reviews, not a word about the lyrics, their content or meaning. So, here we go.

The lovely bluesy guitar lick of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band opens the album. Great groove, vocals, and chorus, complemented with some tasteful brass. An adequate introduction to one vaudeville of an album. It segues into With A Little Help From My Friends, a pop ballad in a mid-tempo, with a less impressive vocal work. It is not a very impressive track, being very monochordic and not really exciting. And yes, I confess I DO enjoy Joe Cocker's cover a LOT more. Next up it's the Beatles telling us about LSD - Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, that is, which opens quite slowly, speeding up as we approach the chorus, in a merry tune driven by electric piano and vocal harmonies. Less wild sounding, Getting Better ensues in the form of an upbeat track, with some great rhythmic guitar work. At this point I'm starting to get a bit fed up as most songs, although different in mood, are starting to sound all alike - easy-listening pop. Fixing A Hole is a severe case, as it's almost the same as Getting Better apart from the lyrics and - you guessed it - the arrangements. She's Leaving Home brings in some change, being a lot less merry, slower paced and featuring excellent orchestrations. Of course that is only an interlude, as the next song, Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite brings back the jolly old Fab 4. Occasional spells of keyboards bursts give it some interest, especially the circus-like musical interludes. Like Revolver before it, this albums features the mandatory trip to the land of Yogis and sitars, in the form of Within You Without You, that goes on and on and on and on like this mantra from Hell. Simply annoying. I have a soft spot for When I'm Sixty Four, never really knew why. It's just a fun song, taking us back to the beginning of the 20th century and the music of the day. Paul's vocals are especially amusing. Lovely Rita is yet another dull happy pop song, relying strongly on a piano rhythm and bassline. The best part in all of it? The final piano-driven 30 seconds. Interesting use of brass (or something closely resembling it) on Good Morning Good Morning, which also features a scorching electric guitar work. At this point, I'll stray a bit from my neutral reviewing stance just to ask this question: among all the studio innovation, composition and new gadgetry present in this album, what is the single most influential piece of music in this entire record? My answer? The drum intro from the reprise of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - 40 years on, it is still the staple for most every mainstream rock, pop, hip-hop, whatever song ever written since. The rest of the song doesn't astray too much from the opener, and is, along with it, the finest piece so far. A nice ending to an uneven album. Or is it?

After twelve songs of lovey-dovey beat-pop-rock with psychedelic hints in comes this Unidentified Musical Object that seems to have nothing to do with the rest of the album - A Day In The Life, THE highlight of this Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Starting off as a delicate acoustic guitar and piano driven ballad, it suddenly, it sudenly takes us into a tunnel and all we hear is. Karlheinz Stockhausen? As we leave the sonic tunnel we are gifted with a merrier, faster- paced piano driven-section, complemented by great vocal harmonies and the return of the heavy orchestration that quickly takes us once more to the mellow beginning of the song, ending with some more of that Stockhausen-influenced orchestral cacophony. What an exciting track, probably the only one in the album worthy of the Progressive Rock label. Excellent finale, and the kind of song that can definitely salvage an album.

There is no beating The Beatles when it comes to arrangements. Even at their most playful and less artsy the boys always knew how to knit the exact notes in the lush fabric of their music, and it's only fair that George Martin gets some credit from it. In fact, the arrangements are the best thing about this whole album, much better than the composition. I have never been the biggest of Beatles fans, but I do enjoy a few of their songs a lot, quite simply because some are actually brilliant (A Day In The Life is a good example). Yet when I listened to this album for the first time in the 80's, it didn't really sound that good. Nearly 20 years later, it still doesn't click. No matter how groundbreaking and complex it was in '67, and how influential it has been since, the fact is others have done it better since, and not much time after. It sounds too poppy, terribly naïve, and in the end, very outdated, the exception being the abovementioned final track. A worthy album to be explored, no doubt, but simply unrewarding to me. The Fab 4 did better.

Review by kenethlevine
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.

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' - The Beatles (9/10)

The Beatles are known as both great innovators and songwriters. In their most critically acclaimed release, 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,' the Beatles show that they are certainly capable of defending the credibility of being considered one of the best and the most popular band of all time.

More so than any other Beatles album, this is intended to be a single piece of cohesive music. This album is famous for it's perfect flow and album structure.

From the introduction of the vaudevillian theme onwards (which ties in with the 'Yellow Submarine' movie) the album is a powerhouse of songwriting craft. While the Beatles are not (and should never be) renowned for their incredible musicianship, nothing sounds out of place, concerning the technical aspects of the music.

While each of the songs have their respective strengths and weaknesses (even an essential album is not without it's minor blemishes) the work is best to be observed as a whole. However, for the hell of it, the best song is definately 'A Day In The Life.' The lyrics revolve around the most mundane of things, and somehow manage to transmute it into some damn epic material.

For a 1967 album, this was far, far ahead of it's time. One of the true essential albums in all of rock music, this is an album every human being should own, regardless.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Was this the first prog album? I would say no. But it was the album that opened the eyes of a huge number of other musicians as to what could be done with rock music. It's important just for that aspect.

A friend of mine once said that the Beatles whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. That theory is no better shown than on this album. Lennon and McCartney's songwriting is suberb from start to finish, both musically and lyrically. And George Martin's innovative (for the time) production took the album to the heights it deserved.

There's no need to go too in depth of every song on the album, as, unless your head has been in the sand for your entire life, you've heard them all before. But I particularly like the way they used the lyrics on this album. No more simplistic "She loves you yeah yeah yeah" or "I want to hold your hand", but using the backup vocals in a bouncy, happy tune like "Getting Better" to note that "It can't get much worse", or in "She's leaving home", the line "She's leaving home after living alone for so many years". Very nice.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is the 8th full-length studio album by UK pop/rock act The Beatles. The album was released through Parlophone Records (UK)/Capital Records (US) in May 1967. The album took an unprecedented 5 months to record as The Beatles and producer George Martin took a very experimental approach to recording, and in the process invented recording techniques which at that point didnīt exist or hadnīt been tried before. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is one of the first albums in history not to feature pauses of silence between tracks (all tracks seque into the next), and although all tracks arenīt thematically connected, the album is still considered a concept release, which was also something new in a time when most albums consisted of individual tracks, which hadnīt necessarily been written to be featured on the same album.

The Beatles had ceased to be a touring act in August 1966, and there were serious tensions within the band already at that point, but all four members ended up working on the material for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", although tensions were still high throughout the recording process, and it wasnīt often all members of the band were present at the same time in the studio. The long recording process and songwriting experimentation payed off in the end though, and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was not only an immensely successful release in 1967 but it is still often mentioned among the most important pop/rock releases in history.

The band often used muli-layered recordings with different effects on each track or recorded the instruments on one track through another amplifier or used other unconventional recording methods, which provide the material on the 13 track, 39:46 minutes long album with an adventurous/semi-progressive edge. This is not progressive rock (although tracks like "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and especially "A Day in the Life" definitely point in that direction), but even the most simple pop/rock songs on the album are quite sophisticated in their presentation.

The sound production is warm and detailed, and suits the material perfectly regardless of the great varity of styles featured on the album. Itīs a bit of an accomplishment creating a sound production which seamlessly fits a pop song like ""With A Little Help From My Friends"", a psychadelic citar driven track like "Within You Without You" (penned by George Harrison), a powerful rock track like the title track, and the beautiful ballad "Leaving Home" with its elaborate string arrangements.

None of the experimentation or creative production ideas would have worked without great material to work with, and it always should be highlightet how great The Beatles were at composing memorable melodies and strong arrangements (which also holds true 100% on this album). Paired with their considerable vocal skills and decent handling of their instruments, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is simply a brilliant and unique release and a 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

Review by Negoba
5 stars The Most Iconic Album of the Rock Era

So much has been written about this album that I will refrain from any of my usual descriptors and simple give opinions. First, it is undeniable that this album blew open the boundaries of what rock music could be unlike any single album ever. It employed new explorations in recording, composition, style and as a piece of progressive history is probably more important than even King Crimson's debut. Without Sergeant Pepper, it is possible that the expansion of the genre into what we call progressive may have never happened. For this alone, it deserves the title of masterpiece of progressive rock music. No other album deserves that title more than this one.

At the same time, the experimentation here sometimes goes over the edge, which is no surprise considering the massive amount of psychedelics being consumed by the band at the time. The perfect example is "Day in the Life" which some claim to be the best song ever written, but which in fact is two very good but unfinished songs taped together with a wonderful interlude and some of the most revolutionary recording tricks of the time.

On the other hand, I simply don't enjoy the English whimsy that much, so the title tune and Mr. Kite, though strong enough songs, just don't connect with me even to the extent that a pop song like "Drive My Car" did. McCartney's larger role has mixed results as well, with the wonderful "Fixing a Hole" sitting along side the too sing-songy "When I'm 64." The latter became a bit of a template for Paul, and almost all later albums would suffer from this step down in songwriting sharpness that was present when the team actually did write songs together.

In the grand scheme of things, Rubber Soul is a much better album than this, but it's less important historically. So in a strange twist, I feel I have to give a higher rating to my less favorite album. I still enjoy it quite alot, and reluctantly award it the 5 stars it earned.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

An album that changed the face of music forever

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has been labelled as the greatest album of all time, certainly as far as The Beatles are concerned, it is perhaps the best they have produced, though I prefer The White Album. The album is groundbreaking in terms of the concept and the musical inventiveness on every track. Heck, even the album cover is brilliant and considered the best of all time.

It begins with the crowd sounds of a fake audience and a catchy riff 'it was 20 years ago today....' the track blends seamlessly into 'A Little Help from my Friends' with Ringo's low key vocals at his best. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds the LSD trip is another highlight with psychedelic lyrics and echoing spaced out Lennon picturing himself on a boat on a river with plasticine people, newspaper taxis, and the girl with kaleidoscope eyes. It is quite simply an incredible song.

The sound effects are prominent throughout the album in particular Good Morning Good Morning with the iconic horse galloping and country sounds. The time sig change is quirky in the verses and very progressive. The way that the band used the effects is as influential to prog as any other album you can name - just take For the Benefit of Mr Kite for example, amazing wall of sound throughout and those spaced out lyrics are a treasure. The Beatles owe a lot to Beach Boys 'Pet Sounds' as has been well documented, but Sgt Pepper put it to better use, blending great rock with innovation and experimentation. This may well be the beginning of prog.

If you are still not convinced 'A Day in the Life' seals the deal. Lilting dreamy verses that build to 'I'd love to turn you on' that leads to the infamous orchestra slide ? eerie, chilling, disturbing and unforgettable. Then the keys stab as Paul begins the quaint bridge, the song has now completely changed, 'woke up, got out of bed, dragged a towel across my head...' it leads to the psych trip where 'somebody spoke and I went into a dream' ? the dream is the soundscape of a full orchestra and ambient vocals that echo to some faraway place. Then the song returns to the original tune. The ending is the orchestral crescendo that builds noisily until the final low piano chord. It continues and continues until it fades. Then we have a silence which is punctuated by a weird, off kilter loop that sounds like 'I wouldn't have it any other way' over and over. Originally this was the needle stuck in the groove of the vinyl alum but it works on CD as well.

And thus ends the most influential album in history. I think the album managed to capture everything that prog has become and it is an essential album for changing the way we listen to music and accept types of music. Dangerously experimental, ferociously original, it is beyond a masterpiece. 5 stars.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I must have read hundreds of reviews and comments about "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Clubs Band", and each one makes me understand less the human perception of music. Some people say it's the first Prog album, others that is a perfect masterpiece, and some so crazy that I even dare to repeat.

I believe this very good "BEATLES album, not perfect neither has notorious Prog connections (leave that to "Abbey Road"), but it's true that it marks the first steps in the evolution of THE BEATLES towards Psychedelia, trying to slowly leave the image of POP icons behind. Some tracks are outstanding, others good and a couple really anodyne with nothing new to offer.

Yes it's more advanced than the previous BEATLES albums, but by this point of history, many bands were light years ahead the Fabulous Four, albums like "Thoughts of the Emerlist Davjack" by THE NICE or even the Poppy "Days of Future Passed" despite it's artificial orchestal intros and codas were on another level of maturity..

THE BEATLES were no longer the leading force and needed to change, Sgt Pepper's is the first real step towards this evolution, but still there was a long road to advance if they wanted to catch with the Psyche movement or early Prog.

"Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart Clubs Band" is a good opener, strong innovative, with an intelligent blend of orchestra and distorted guitars, the good boys image was behind, and at last they have something interesting to present us.

"With a Little Help of my Friends" may be an icon of Woodstock in the voice of Joe Cocker, but the song is nothing special at all, a repetitive track with no explosion or significant variation at all. always found this song incredibly boring.

Now "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is a good change, they seem to embrace Psychedelia with all their strength, the song is interesting from start to end, with provocative lyrics and radical changes, sadly ELTON JOHN took it and ruined the fantastic atmosphere THE BEATLES had provided. Fantastic song.

"Getting Better" is another example of advance in their proposal, even when they don't leave their POP inheritance behind, the structure is much more elaborate than most of what had been done in previous releases, the vocals are delightful and the combination of POP and Rock is pretty interesting.

"Fixing a Hole" is a failed attempt of being innovative and a step back towards their roots, except for the excellent bass performance of Paul McCartney, nothing in this track really captures my interest, it's obvious they are frying to be original, but they seem afraid to leave all what they had earned behind.

"She's Leaving Home" seems simple, but I believe it's one of the most interesting songs, the delicate addition of violin and harp is extremely beautiful and enhance the effect, if they are close to Prog in any point of this album it's here. Something I can't say about "Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite", a failed attempt of being experimental, again boring, repetitive and lack of interest.

"Within You , Without You" is an advance, the essence of oriental influence so preeminent in the late 60's and all the Psyche scenario, is captured by George Harrison with great skills, at last they are really blending Rock and POP with foreign influences, another great moment of the album.But as they did before, after an excellent song, they add a disappointing track as "When I'm Sixty Four" they pretend to be funny and versatile, but fail for the second or third time, as somebody mentioned before, check "Seaside Rendezvous" or "Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon"by QUEEN to see how with this same elements you can do a fresh song, without becoming predictable and boring.

"Lovely Rita" is not a bad track, but more apparent for earlier BEATLES albums, after several moments of real evolution, they return to their past with a simple and average track. On the other hand, "Good Morning Good Morning", a song that I don't like at all, shows an interest in John Lennon to cross boundaries, and even when not totally successful, it's a healthy attempt to leave the status quo behind.

In order to prepare the listeners for the bast track the album, the reprise of the title song is added, and honestly it's a good thing, the heavier and more rocking approach is healthy, because the band proves they can take previously used material and work it in a different ad original way, I like it.

"A Day in Life" closes "Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" in great way , starts with a beautiful ballad, but the changes, orchestration and arrangements are absolutely impeccable, the constant piano is simply fantastic and the vocal work is well elaborate, they left the best for the end.

I never use the word "overrated", because it would be like saying that all the people who consider an album great is wrong and I'm right, an arrogant position that I don't share, because the beauty is in the ears of the audience, but been tempted more than once to use this term to refer to "Sgt Peppers", being that it's not remotely the perfect masterpiece people talk about

A good but non essential album catapulted to the status of masterpiece for reasons that are beyond my understanding.

I believe that three stars is the perfect rating.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Garden of many wonderful flowers that grew up as time went bye. Title rockingly riff track Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, "acoustic" song made famous by Joe Cocker - With a Little Help From My Friends (even not bad, it's overshadowed by Joe's cover version), LDS ballad (and hymn) Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, or orchestral song A Day In the Life that become some kind of title Beatles track.

Whole album is full of songs that are perfect. They're legends. After all, we're talking about The Beatles here, don't forget it. You know, everything they made, they touched (hello Midas) turned to gold. And is this really true ? Not at all, there are songs that I don't like too much, like not so smart Getting Better or Indo/Raga (whatever the name is) Within You, Without You, but that's just my opinion (and feeling of music), they're not so bad.

4(+) dear fellows, because this, even very good as a proto-prog (signs of better times are here, I know it, I can hear it) album, there are worse songs with big deal of better ones.

But this is one of these classics that everyone knows, with many listens I have sacrificed to it and was rewarded with very good music.

Review by friso
5 stars With this record The Beatles delivered the groundwork for everything that would make seventies music great. Though still very much a psychedelic rock/folk/pop record, its endless string of highly original melodic and distinctive songs is almost unmatched in rock history. The pace in which the first few songs of the record compete for being the best song you've ever heard is simply mind-blowing - as is the otherwordly ending of the album with the epical 'A Day in the Life'. By making this recording The Beatles just destroyed all preconceived notions of what a pop album could and should be. It could be diverse, experimental, playful, symphonic, intimate, happy, sad, psychedelic and what not. This record to me represents Western artistic freedom itself and it is a joyful experience I reserve for special moments with friends. Oh, and that recording sound - it should be a reason to listen to this in and of itself.
Review by thehallway
5 stars What was I thinking? Anything less than 5 stars for this musical achievement is only possible if you hate The Beatles unconditionally. Many amazing songs, including the band's best, right at the end. Technologically, musically, timbrely (?), conceptually, and with a light-hearted approach, the masterpiece of the sixties. There it is.

ACTUAL REVIEW: Dated but influential. In 1967 this was obviously an incredible album, full of new and exciting structures and tones, by a band who were already on top of the world. 43 years later, it's effect is somewhat diminished, but it's still easy to see what's so great about 'Sgt Pepper'.

The songs are mostly short and sweet, with simple themes on the surface but a lot of off- course overdubbing and strange instrumentation. It's the timbre and sound of this album that makes it so colourful and psychedelic (not to mention the drugs (and the very bright cover)). I find Lennon's songwriting to be the more "progressive" out of the group, utitlising less common chords and phrasing, and generally offbeat subject matter. '...Mr Kite' is very thematic and circus-sounding, with a really avant-garde bridge section that screams prog. McCartney's efforts are stronger in terms of melody, but he doesn't seem to strech out as much as his partner, playing it safe with catchy tunes such as 'Getting Better' and 'Fixing a Hole'. However the orchestration of 'She's Leaving Home' is rather nice, in a less conventional way.

Harrison's sole contribution (he had more but wasn't given the opportunity for more than one, proved by his first album which was a triple-LP of the songs that had built up during the Lennon/McCartney reign) is the Indian sitar excercise 'Within You Without You', very generic for the style but I guess a lot more interesting to Western audiences. And Ringo successfully ruins a song by attempting to sing on it ("What would you think if I sang out of tune?"... well, I'm thinking of putting tape over your mouth right now Starr!). The most progressive song on the album, 'A Day In The Life' is what really influenced the prog bands to exist. It remains a mere 5 minutes yet conveys everything which at the time would be considered progressive, if not simply weird. The famous ending (three grand pianos playing the same major chord) is about as experimental as it gets. This is followed a short segment of extremely high-pitched sound- wave, and then some chopped up Beatle chatter. What a finale!

This album is so uniquely wonderful, easy to access, and yet suitably developed to qualify as proto-prog. This was the Beatles at a compositional peak. It's not to most prog-head's tastes nowadays, but in '67 there was little else! All I can say is that George should have had more say, and Ringo should have had less.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The changes that the band achieved with Revolver just could not be undone and so the Beatles pushed forward in their search for new directions to explore.

Created partially as a concept album about a live performance of a fictitious band, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band proved to be an even bigger hit with both the critics and the general audience. Even if the conceptual part of the album functions mostly as an arc there is also a secondary concept describing the subject of everyday events and life in general. The album is as close to a band effort as the Beatles would be able to achieve later on in their career. The record also marks the moment where the individual songs stopped being the center of attention and the complete album experience took over its rightful place.

I honestly can't see any of these tracks played out of context since, to me, it's this preexisting song pattern that truly makes this album a worth a while experience. Well familiar pieces like With A Little Help From My Friends, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and A Day In The Life can sometimes be considered the bulk of this album but the same could just as easily be argued for Getting Better, Fixing A Hole and When I'm Sixty Four!

There is really no denying that Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a great album, but I can't really call it a personal favorite of mine even though I sometimes do enjoy this trip through the memory lane. It lacks a feeling of closure that makes the whole journey incomplete, even if some might argue that A Day In The Life does a wonderful job at achieving just that. In the end, it's still an excellent Proto-Prog album that I highly recommend experiencing, although chances are that you already have.

***** star songs: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (2:02) With A Little Help From My Friends (2:44) When I'm Sixty Four (2:37) A Day In The Life (5:33)

**** star songs: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (3:28) Getting Better (2:47) Fixing A Hole (2:36) She's Leaving Home (3:35) Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite (2:37) Within You Without You (5:05) Lovely Rita (2:42) Good Morning Good Morning (2:41) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (1:18)

Review by baz91
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.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Let's set some cliches to rest. Sgt. Pepper isn't the first prog album - although A Day In the Life gets closest to prog with its mulit-part structure, we're still firmly in psychedelic proto-prog territory here. Nor was it the first concept album - hell, Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash had recorded concept albums long before this one, and only three songs (one of them a reprise) actually engage with the alternate band concept.

What it does represent is the Beatles coming together after taking a two month break in which each of them pursued their own side projects and interests, before coming together to produce an album which represents the culminations of all the experiments that had been sputtering to life with Help! and matured through Rubber Soul and Revolver. What do we get? A rock update of Victorian music hall schmaltz.

Now, to give it its due, it's a much more consistent album than they'd turned in for a good long time, mostly because they found a context where the inevitable Ringo song actually felt like a logical part of the flow of the album for once. But over time I find myself less and less impressed with it; sure, it was groundbreaking for its time, but we aren't living in that time and never will again, and there's better places to go for this sort of psychedelic stuff without the annoying, cloying tweeness and naivity and the sense of hollow overcalculation that blights the Beatles back catalogue. I don't even find A Day In the Life that profound any more; increasingly the seams between the different parts of that weird stitched-together Frankenstein of a song seem more jarring and obvious.

Review by lazland
4 stars Released in 1967, this album is considered by more than a few to be both the archetypal forerunner of all things prog, and the finest thing that The Beatles ever released. In reality, I think that both statements are partially true. It certainly introduced the concept album to the mass market, although that is not the same as prog, and it does contain some of the finest material ever put out by this legendary band, although my personal favourite remains The White Album.

What is absolutely true is that the band were pushing the limits of popular music as no other act had dared try, and it is this which makes this album a true progressive great - pushing boundaries and daring to do something new, and, for that, bands such as King Crimson, Yes, et al would be forever grateful.

So, some 44 years later, does it still have the punch it did back then? Well, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, whatever it is about, still has the capacity to bring the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up. The production and Lennon's ethereal voice stands up as fresh now as the first time I heard it. The title track is great fun, When I'm Sixty Four is as relevant in its observational prose as it ever was, and the album closes with perhaps the finest opening lyrics in rock history; mournful, regretful, and as strange in its experimentation today as it was then. I don't think that Lennon ever sounded better.

George Martin's production and arrangements would not shame any LP released in 2011, but, overall, I think that the remainder of the album is a collection of Beatles tracks ranging from the mundane to the very good. As a concept, it is pretty disparate, to be frank, but we cannot, and should not deny its importance in rock music's history. And, of course, we should not forget Ringo's finest moment in With A Little Help From My Friends - it's a pity it came as a singer, not a drummer!

Four stars for this moment of history. Excellent, and very worthwhile in revisiting every now and again. You can also have a damn good dance to some of it, no bad thing!

Review by jampa17
4 stars There was a before and an after. This album is right in the middle.

Since I'm a fan of Elvis Presley and rock and roll movement from the 50's and early 60's, it's interesting to finally discover the place and the moment were everything changed in the history of Rock. Well, this album is maybe not as crazy and flawless as some can say, but it's indeed a great piece of music that influenced so many musicians and composers to create the progressive rock that we all love.

I think that the album has enough to be consider the first prog rock album in history and all proggers should try it at least twice in their life. I know many will not like it, but it brings the idea, the initial tries of experimentations and fusion of different styles and sounds in the same album.

It's not flawless, maybe it's not a masterpiece but it's a great album where everything changed.

Of course, is not even near to what King Crimson did a few months later in their debut album, but it's a great first step. I think it deserve the special place in the history of music and it's a solid 4 stars album. You can see it's possible to make a Pop band make prog. And even better, you can make millions of persons to like prog even if the don't know it.

Try it. If you are not fan of The Beatles, you can still enjoy this strange little ride. Great album.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The Sgt. Pepper experience--innovative, fresh, cerebral music PLUS amazingly entertaining/engrossing packaging--is, to me, the real leap into all that made progressive rock what we know and love today: Intelligent song-writing with intricately constructed and performed songs that used a lot of new recording techniques and effects plus an amazing album cover WITH THE PRINTED LYRICS! We don't have the epic, non-radio-edit length songs but all of the songs virtually bleed into one another, which must count for something. Plus, the development of psychedelia is in full force on this one! Though this is not my favorite Beatles album (that one goes to Magical Mystery Tour for some personal reasons), it is one that I will play to this day from time to time. It takes one on quite a ride--another thing a good prog album should do. This one I do think is essential for a true collection of progressive rock music. This is one of the timeless masterpieces that helped get the ball moving! "A Day in the Life" is one of the greatest freakiest psychedelia songs ever. Too bad it wasn't written by Quantum Fantay--it would've gone on for an euphoric 20 minutes!
Review by Sinusoid
3 stars Before I begin, I would like to point out that for the longest time, I had assumed the songs ''All You Need Is Love'' and ''Strawberry Fields Forever'' were part of this album. They are not; they are on the MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR.

SGT. PEPPER seems to have its own mythos surrounding it, almost as big as the band itself. It's one of the easiest picks music experts hoist as the ''greatest album of all time'', but more than that, there's the notion that this album alone opened the doorway for artists to exploit entire albums more than hit singles which, by extension, created part of progressive rock. Neither statement I can fully come to terms with. For 1967, it had to be groundbreaking, but that was a year that the world heard DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED, ABSOLUTELY FREE, SAFE AS MILK, SURREALISTIC PILLOW, STRANGE DAYS, the debut of the Velvet Underground, et cetera. SGT. PEPPER wasn't the only album stretching rock music's limitations, but it's the most recognized probably because of the brand name of the Beatles.

With that bit of crabbing out of the way, is SGT. PEPPER a good album? Yes it is. Is it a good progressive rock album? That's debatable, but it has to be the Beatles album most closely associated with the genre. Does it still have flaws? Yes.

If there's one thing I have yet to give the Beatles credit for, it's their strong sense of composing melodies. In a sense, the melody of the song is the bread and butter of the Beatles' work. On SGT. PEPPER, we get every level of tolerability in terms of the melody. ''She's Leaving Home'' (believe it or not) is actually quite strong and tearjerking, ''Fixing a Hole'' isn't bad, but completely unmemorable, and all apologies, but ''Mr. Kite'' is sheer annoyance. The bells and whistles added to give a circus atmosphere is nothing more than a goofy novelty.

That's my big problem with SGT. PEPPER; it has the potential to be great, but the material is inconsistent. One of the more popular tracks in ''Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'' has major transition issues from the verses to the chorus, meaning that there's no warning between the two, and what results is what I like to call ''music whiplash''. There are songs such as ''Getting Better'' and ''Fixing a Hole'' that are voids in that I have terrible difficulty in remembering what they sound like. And maybe it's the vinyl I have, but several Beatles albums I have heard via vinyl are unnecessarily loud to the point where I can't wear my headphones without turning the volume down.

All of that said, and yet I still feel this is a good album. Strangely enough, two of the cuter pop songs in ''When I'm Sixty-Four'' and ''With a Little Help From My Friends'' are strong enough in the melody department to the point where the songs are carried because of them. Somehow, I get the feeling that Ringo isn't as bad a vocalist as he is perceived to be (from ''Friends'') to the point where I wish he had more lead singing opportunities. While it's not up to usual George Harrison writing standards for the group, ''Within You Without You'' does work in the ethereal raga atmosphere.

A special aside does need to go to the last track ''A Day in the Life'', where every potential and rumour around this album is justified, even if for only 5 and a half minutes. There are two distinct sections, one with Lennon rehashing news events (thankfully, the political nature is kept to observational) while McCartney assumes control of the second act with a whimsical yet relatable tune about preparing for work. Unlike on LSD, the transition between the two sections is flawless despite mood differences. Best of all, the melody is spot on, particularly in Lennon's section. It's instantly memorable and makes me wish the rest of the album was up to this type of quality.

SGT. PEPPER is quite a good album, especially if you're looking for fancy production, emphasis on melody, and something that's meant to be taken as art. There's a lot of good within this album, but it has a lot to answer for being constantly tagged as the greatest album of all time.

Review by jamesbaldwin
5 stars REVIEW n. 100! Background noises and rumors of a variety show, drums and rock guitar, McCartney's gritty voice and begins the intro, a kind of acronym for an entertainment program, of the most famous album in the History of rock. Never the sound of the Beatles had been so hard rock, with distorted guitars, high-amplification drums, vocals almost shouted. Yet the piece is not only a rock, there are the horns (French horns), the applause and laughter of the audience, the choirs of Lennon: It is a magnificent mix of rock, symphonic pop, vocal piece, small town band's track. The words of Macca, on behalf of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, close the song by introducing the singer of the next piece: Billy Shears (Rating 8).

And Ringo arrives, singing a track written specifically for him by Paul and John. A simple piece, marked by drums and bass, with repartee between the voice of Ringo, who sings very well, and the choirs, in which one hears above all the voice of John. It Is a pleasant song, whose melody follows the good feelings that evokes the text (Rating 7,5/8). Lucy ITSWD is a strange song in the production of the Beatles, with beautiful beginning with psychedelic piano, voice-treated, bass in evidence, background with Indian sounds, chorus made by the only words of the title, conceived by McCartney, who helped Lennon. The song is simple, but with great atmospheric effect and engaging chorus (Rating 8+).

Getting Better is another collaboration between Paul and John, sung in large part by both; It is a song exuberant from the rhythm of percussion, and a little repetitive in the chorus, which makes it pounding. The most beautiful and original pieces in the arrangements are those of the verses, highlighting a great work by Ringo and George to create an Indian atmosphere (Rating 7,5/8).

After a very percussive song comes the melodic Fixing a Hole: It is a beautiful ballad written by Paul, with Martin playing the harpsichord, voice in the foreground together with the electric guitar of George that finally performs the first solo of the album, in fact until now there was been no instrumental part. The song is perfect in its progression, the sound is clear, and continues the happy mood and smoothness that emanates from the songs and their sequence that so far is perfect.

But comes an interlocutory moment with She's Leaving Home, which sees Paul for the third time in a row at the main singing. It is a very refined song, symphonic, with harp and string quartet. The rhythm expands, the singing has long pauses on the high notes, creating an atmosphere of expectation where much weight has the text, written in collaboration with Lennon, a text of protest, of rebellion towards the family, but it has for sound context a music Neoclassical. The song can, depending on the mood of the listener, delight or appear a bit ' too sliced and long. Remains a symphonic break from the psychedelic pop listened until this moment (Rating 7,5).

The first side is closed by an absolute masterpiece of production by George Martin, which molds a phenomenal circus arrangement to a surreal text of Lennon, inserted in a pop rhythmic all fireworks. We are at the maximum height of originality (Rating 9). Thus closes a first side of 10/10 score, due not only to the quality of the songs but to their variety and smoothness, which together create a synerloptic effect.

The first song of the second side is one of the most ambitious of the Lp, wishing to join Indian music and Western classical music. They play two orchestras: an Indian orchestra and the London Philharmonica. Once again the contribution of George Martin is essential in the central instrumental piece where the sitar dialogue with the strings, of which he wrote the notes. The piece, 5 minutes, without a refrain, is challenging, it may soundsy at times heavy or monotonous because it requires a listen from classical music but has delicious sound peaks both in the singing and, above all, in the instrumental part (Rating 8+). His tail ends with laughter that then fade into the swing clarinet of When I'm Sixty-four, piece by Macca style Thirties or Forty, with flawless execution, accelerated speed so that the voice sounds more acute i.e. childish (Rating 7+).

Another masterpiece of arrangement and another record of originality: a swing after an ethnic Indian song. The listener is so continually amazed, but begins to wonder what happened to the psychedelic pop of the first side, because these first two songs are: the first a mix of Indian sounds and classical music, the other a song of pre-war music.

Arrives so Lovely Rita, with Paul once again starring (he is the conductor of the disc, and the author of most of the music). The piece, however cheerful and rhythmic, is rather weak, simple in arrangement than those of the first side, and does not boast a great melody. It refers, however, with the instrumental parts: the Incipit, the piano solo, and the ending with completely original noises (Rating 7).

Another questionable piece follows: Good Morning (twice), by Lennon, at the rate of goliardic marching, with distorted trumpets and sounds from the hen house in the ending (Rating 7). Overall, these last two songs disorient a bit ' the listener because they appear a bit ' unsheathe, over the line, too vaudeville or exaggerated in tones, while in the first side all the pieces were very measured and refined. In fact, the three central songs of the second side, however cute, are considerably inferior, for quality and arrangement, to those of the first side.

When the reprise of Sgt Pepper arrives, with a good solution of continuity between cluck and electric guitars, it seems that the musicians are pulling the bridle of horses that have now dispersed in infinite directions: the song seems to tighten the files, a pull to collect the music that was a bit too frayed, until you get to the chaotic noisy ending of Good Morning. The reprise is good, it succeeds to be different from the intro, and to bring the sound on the rock, which it was missing in the second side, and that moreover it ends immediately because the mix of SGT (Rating 7,5). Pepper Reprise and A Day In The Life takes place under the banner of the acoustic guitar of Lennon, which makes its way between Pepper's rock that fades.

The atmosphere of the last song is different from the rest of the album. The voice of Lennon is of those that pierce, the accompaniment of drums, almost jazz, is a complete novelty, then there are the piano touches, until the threatening tone of the piece takes an orchestral escalation, desired by Macca, and transcribed by George Martin, with a crescendo of strings (cacophonic) that plays the highest notes, until the deafening ends suddenly and it plays an alarm clock on piano background, on the sound of the drums and of the voice of Paul, free-range as the rhythm. But this piece ends soon and part then a spectacular instrumental passage, marked by Ah-ah-ah-ah sung by Lennon, with a mood epic and classic, which arrives at the climax ending in a crescendo of violins that brings back to the original theme music. We're at very high music levels. The song ends by repeating the orchestral crescendo, ending with a percussion of three pianos that hold the note for a long time, with the reverb (Rating 9,5/10). Masterpiece of avantgarde-pop.

Sgt Pepper is definitely a masterpiece of the Sixties pop, for creativity and arrangements. However It is not a masterpiece of the actual rock, because there is very little rock music in Sgt Pepper: the Lp is a condensed of the musical styles of light music of the time: pop, rock, vaudeville, melodic songs, symphonic songs, swing, world music. Indian music, avant-garde. It is a seminal album, because it contains all the seeds and the genres of progressive rock; andi it is a false concept album because the songs are not connected by a musical or textual motif, but by an opening, then, shooting song: Sgt Pepper, which presents them as the beginning of a show, and then the conclusion of the same.

In conclusion, we are faced with a historical album, with a first perfect side, from 10/10 score, and a second from 9/10 thanks to the first and last track, because in the middle the second side shows a drop in creativity and inspiration. The album is representative of an era, it shows an impressive variety of musical genres, which in the first side run very well, in songs as inspired as those originals. In the second side, while witnessing a passage of ambitious opening, which requires a listening from classical music, with the march we lose a bit ' that thread of art- psychedelic-rock that even in the midst of so much variety constituted the backbone of the record. However, before they degenerate into more and more confusing songs, Pepper's reprise brings the second side to the initial mood and prepares it for the final track, A Day in The Life, which mixes pop and avant-garde music, reaches one of the absolute peaks of contemporary pop-rock music.

Average quality of the songs: 7,94. Rating album: 9,5. Five Stars.

Review by patrickq
5 stars Surely more has been written about Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band than about nearly any piece of twentieth-century music. It has the best claim to the appellation "most influential rock album ever." It's credited with punctuating the ascendance of the album over the single as the primary form of rock music, of sparking the "concept album" trend, of introducing postmodernism into pop music, and even of spawning the genre of "progressive rock." While earlier examples of concept albums, prog rock, et cetera can be found, Sgt. Pepper is not a derivative of any of these. Rather, I (and many others before me) would argue, it was the first LP to fully integrate these ideas.

We can argue endlessly about the location of the headwaters of progressive rock. Sgt. Pepper's claim to being prog-rock's ultimate progenitor is largely unrelated to its status as a concept album?the contention is that early prog largely grew out of a melding of rock & roll with high(er) art, or more narrowly, that it melded (post-)psychedelia with harder, electric-guitar-oriented rock. With Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles and producer George Martin did this without following a template. That the album was released before most other similar examples seems to be further evidence of its claim as "the first progressive rock album."

If pressed for a year, I'm pretty sure most music historians would cite 1967 as the point where the forty-minute, long-play album supplanted the seven-inch, 45 RPM "single" as the primary way rock bands were judged. The first two songs recorded for Sgt. Pepper were "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever," but these were ultimately excluded from the album, released instead as a single three months prior to the LP release. The single was another gold-certified chart-topper, although the songs would've charted higher and had a higher combined sales total had they been released separately. But more to the point, each side is regarded as a masterpiece (I regard "Penny Lane" as the greatest pop song ever). So Sgt. Pepper is often regarded as the best album by the greatest rock band, despite overtly eschewing "Strawberry Fields" (#1 in Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden; #2 UK; #8 US) and "Penny Lane" (#1 in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the US; #2 UK). Meanwhile, with some very minor exceptions, there were no singles released from Sgt. Pepper.*

So how great is this album? To be fair, there are a few pedestrian songs here, all on Side Two: George Harrison's overlong "Within You Without You," Paul McCartney's silly "Lovely Rita," and John Lennon's equally silly, but more endearing, "Good Morning Good Morning." None of these is a disappointment, but imagine replacing any two of these with "Strawberry Fields" and "Penny Lane." Some listeners have referred to McCartney's "When I'm Sixty-Four" as fluff, but I strongly disagree; it's my favorite song here.

By the time Sgt. Pepper was released, McCartney had eclipsed Lennon as the Beatles' premier songwriter. Nonetheless Lennon's "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is an all-time classic, as is his contribution to "A Day in the Life;" and the Lennon-McCartney collaboration "With a Little Help from My Friends" is excellent. Furthermore, both "Lucy in the Sky" and "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" are historically important, given their influence on late-1960s popular music.

But McCartney's Sgt. Pepper compositions are even better. And while the title song may stand out as the most accessible, the trio of consecutive McCartney songs on Side One, "Getting Better," "Fixing a Hole," and "She's Leaving Home" represent a pop sophistication only matched by Brian Wilson. None was a single, nor does any one stand alone as a Beatles classic. Each, however, is a good example of a type of song that was still emerging at the time, which we now refer to as an "album cut" or a "deep cut."

I could go on explaining why I think Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is so great. My suggestion to any fan of prog rock?and indeed to any fan of popular music: get it. I doubt you'll be disappointed.


*"She's Leaving Home" was released as a b-side in Italy (1967) and four-song EPs from the album were released in Argentina and Spain in 1967 and 1968. A promo single, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" b/w "A Day in the Life" was pressed in Italy in 1967. Also, in 1978 a three-song single ("Sgt. Pepper's" / "With a Little Help from my Friends" b/w "A Day in the Life") was released worldwide in connection with Michael Schultz's film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, starring the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is another fine album by the Beatles, filled with non-conventional pop experiments (progressive for 1967). Lennon delivers strong vocals, semi-progressive attempts and one filler song ("Good morning good morning"). McCartney balances between safe pop ("When I'm 64"), experimental pop ("Lo ... (read more)

Report this review (#2787894) | Posted by sgtpepper | Saturday, September 3, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When Sgt. Pepper was originally released in 1967, it was hailed as the Beatles' ultimate masterpiece and a key work in Western music history. There were a few critical voices at the time, most notably Richard Goldstein of the New York Times who felt it was more about effects than music - not to ment ... (read more)

Report this review (#2590599) | Posted by The Anders | Monday, August 30, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Sgt Peppers by The Beatles Released in 1967 as the bands eighth studio album. It was there second psychedelic record, and this one definitely had a bigger impact on the progressive rock scene to come, simply because it was more popular, and way more psychedelic. that being said I do not think th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2508917) | Posted by Lieutenant_Lan | Thursday, February 25, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Beatles were always a hard band for me to get into, I had listened to Norwegian Wood (Rubber Soul), but it was covered by Allan Holdsworth on None To Soon. Abbey Road was never an album I was crazy about but this album is. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a phenomenal album by ... (read more)

Report this review (#2403613) | Posted by Zoltanxvamos | Tuesday, May 19, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of the best BEATLES if not the best, yes it's him!. So dive back into it a little! 1.Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for the title rock more than pop, sound effects, we are still in a crazy psyche period, the one that will launch a movement that we don't yet know the name of 2. With a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2312115) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Review #29. Released on the 1st of June 1967, Sgt. Peppers album fell like a bomb in the music scene of the 60's. From that point and on, Rock music would never be the same. I have the feeling that there is no actual reason to try and write a critic for this album. Hundreds - not to say thou ... (read more)

Report this review (#1596934) | Posted by The Jester | Friday, August 12, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Not much can be said about Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in a review that hasn't already been covered in great detail in books. The only thing left to do is throw in my 2 cents. This album changed the way people thought about popular music. Not just the average radio listener, but music ... (read more)

Report this review (#1289553) | Posted by drubella | Friday, October 10, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Paul McCartney has been in the media lately criticizing the Rolling Stones for borrowing from the Sgt. Peppers album, both from the album cover and musical themes (psychedelic rock). I don't know why he chooses to criticize The Rolling Stones? Their Satanic Majesties Request was one of the lea ... (read more)

Report this review (#1061591) | Posted by iluvmarillion | Friday, October 18, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For me, "Sgt. Pepper" is the peak of The Beatles' psychedelic and overall sound. "Revolver" was still undeveloped, and not as gripping or consistent, and on the other side, their self-titled white album was too overloaded and varied, making it quite a strenuous listen. "Abbey Road" obviously is anot ... (read more)

Report this review (#984636) | Posted by Xonty | Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is not my favorite Beatles album, but this is the album that has been called the "blueprint" for Progressive Rock and based on influence, it gets 5 stars but, lets get some background. In 1966, The Beatles gave up touring cause their experimental songs like Tomorrow Never Knows and Eleanor ... (read more)

Report this review (#816518) | Posted by criticdrummer94 | Friday, September 7, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "And of course Harry the Horse dances the waltz!" Rolling Stone magazine once called this the most important album in the history of rock and roll. Now, I don't usually subscribe to such superlatives, but I also have to admit that not only is this one a strong contender for such a title, I ... (read more)

Report this review (#772450) | Posted by Progosopher | Saturday, June 16, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The more artsy and psychedelic sound first displayed in Revolver is further toyed with in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which probably represents the pinnacle of their experimenting. The songwriting is taken to new heights, as the band has discarded any remnants of their earlier works. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#771415) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For me there are some "sacred monsters" in rock, prog or something. The Beatles are one of them, and to give it less than 5 stars is a profanity. But when you are dealing with Sgt Pepper it might be a double profanity, because the music (all the songs, the concept, the artwork(what about that, my ... (read more)

Report this review (#538050) | Posted by ridemyfacetochicago | Friday, September 30, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Rating: 10/10 At this point, The Beatles were unstoppable, and they continue their musical and artistic progression. If "Revolver" showed the possibilities of artistic aspirations in popular music, "Sgt. Pepper" settled that there were no limits for an album from then on. The sound experim ... (read more)

Report this review (#458501) | Posted by Mattiias | Thursday, June 9, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is an album well worth owning. For me, the musical ideas and songwriting here is just one-of-a-kind and it all sounds very different to the previous "Revolver". The Beatles had incorporated a variety of newer influences, and the fact that their instrumentation now covered a wider range includi ... (read more)

Report this review (#406035) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Tuesday, February 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What can i possibly add to what numberless generations of rock music lovers have already said about it? Nothing, right. I go for repetitive here.Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band is a masterpeace on it's own, not only for the huge footprint it landed on rock and popular music in general and pop ... (read more)

Report this review (#343762) | Posted by Revan | Sunday, December 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of the best of all time. This Abum deserves to be higher in our all time prog rock ranking because it is amazing how these men could make a very complex album with a limited acces to technology: they used only 4 channels to record this masterpiece with the addition of orchestra, complex v ... (read more)

Report this review (#323022) | Posted by DannyProg | Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars You know, if anyone could summarize this record in one line of text, and say something original, it wouldn't be me. It'd probably be Jesus or something. Overall Rating: 12 Best Song: WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS, or LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS Sgt. Pecker's Only tart's gloved hand ... (read more)

Report this review (#293982) | Posted by Alitare | Tuesday, August 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars According to Mike Portnoy, this album was the birth of prog. Now I don't really agree with this, due to the fact that The Moody Blues was out slightly before this album was made and Pink Floyd were making their first album in the studio next to The Beatles at the same time this album was made. ... (read more)

Report this review (#288541) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Monday, June 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Sgt Pepper another album with textures with many songs with non-standard rock backings like "A Day in the Life", and "Within You Without You" for example. Is it a concept album? I would say it is in terms of how it's structured. The structure is different than Frank Zappa Freak Out with it son ... (read more)

Report this review (#268331) | Posted by Floydman | Thursday, February 25, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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