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Sgt. Pepper
21 August 2011
10.21pm
meanmistermustard
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From reading Cant Buy Me Love by Jonathon Gould it appears that Pepper came at exactly the right time socially. It slotted in perfectly with where the US and the UK were and i dont believe any other album has done that to such a grand scale. There have been some amazing albums that have captured the mood of the public but not to the level of Pepper or in both countries at the same time. Not even another Beatles album. Its the same as the Beatles timing was perfect when they first hit the UK and then Sweden, France, the US and the world. The music was great but there were so many other combinations/reasons that magnified it to a much higher scale. One of the biggest reasons that no band will ever get close to The Beatles no matter how good the music is. There are far too many other components that would also be required.

 

I actually agree that Pepper needs to be heard the whole way thru. For me the first 2 tracks are pretty ordinary, bordering on annoying, they certainly jar when heard on the Blue Album. ADITL is too good a song for that to happen. With A Little Help is my least favourite Ringo track. Mr Kite, Lucy, Good Morning, Lovely Rita and ADITL are the ones that i will go and play out of want. Everything else, mmeh, im not that bothered. Within You Without You has a great instrumental section and some fine lyrics and is underrated but its not Georges best work.

Personally i believe Revolver was far more ground breaking in the music it presented, backwards instruments, tape loops, vocal effects, the instruments used, lyrics etc.  The public were more prepared, accepting when Pepper came along.

Album-wise I prefer Help!, BFS, Abbey Road, The White Album, AHDN and Revolver.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
22 August 2011
1.22am
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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My feeling here is that this is one album that you can't judge by comparing its song list to another album's.

It's not about whether you like this song or that song.

The impact of Sgt. Pepper was HUGE.

How many rock albums land on the cover of TIME?

In fact, TIME was probably the only magazine that had never put the Beatles on its cover - until Pepper came out.

Let us count the ways in which it was original:

- the band taking on another persona.

- the Beatles playing songs that were not strictly rock (they could do so since they were temporarily not the Beatles).

 (Whether you like "When I'm 64" or not, it's become a classic).

- The lyrics printed on the album

- The super-sophisticated cover art that you could stare at for hours.

- The paper cutouts that came with the album (but not with the CD).

- An album that "opens up"

- The idea of a "concept" album (yes, yes, it isn't really)

- the use of an orchestra

- the intensity of the production (whether it's to your taste or not)

- Rightly or wrongly it was Sgt. Pepper that got the Beatles (and the world of rock) to be taken as serious musicians.

- and of course, A Day In The Life, was a masterpiece and the ultimate example of the Lennon-McCartney collaboration.

These reasons taken collectively commonly land the Beatles at or neat the top of any Best Album list.

No? What do you think?

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
22 August 2011
1.41am
GniknuS
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Well I think it's difficult for us younger folks to realize the impact, so what we have to go on is song quality and Pepper's song quality doesn't match up with Revolver, Rubber Soul, etc, etc. It just doesn't, there's no way around it, I enjoy all the songs on Pepper but don't consider any except maybe ADINTL, Lucy and She's Leaving Home to be among my favorites when compared to the rest of the Beatles catalogue. That's not to say the other songs aren't good, it's just puzzling to me why Pepper is always looked upon as the greatest album of all time. Just take a look at Joe's poll from the main page of this site, I believe Pepper is fifth behind Abbey Road, Revolver, Rubber Soul and the White Album in terms of those who view this site's favorite albums.

I think that's a more telling sign than whatever Rolling Stone thinks.

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine
22 August 2011
2.16am
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GniknuS, I agree with you on one level: if I had to take but one Beatle album with me on a desert island, I don't know that it would be Pepper. The only 2 "must haves" on that album for me are Lucy in the Sky (note the title of my book) and A Day In The Life.

But someone on this thread was wondering how/why people have made such a big deal of Pepper, and I was just addressing that!

(by the way, in my ranking of Beatle songs at http://www.intotheskywithdiamonds.com I include the impact of a given song. Thus some songs I really like go down in the rankings while others go up. The same could be said of an album. Is that wrong? Should there be separate rankings - with and without impact?)

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
28 August 2011
2.38am
Jackson
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There's a difference between a good song and a song you're surprised that others don't really care for. I really like the songs Fixin' a Hole and Rita and I'm kinda surprised others don't.

While Peppers clearly wasn't their best album content-wise, they did do one thing perfect: Marketing. The attitude and atmosphere surrounding the album is a living, breathing beast of its own. The cover art, much like Abbey Road, is beyond iconic. They may not of been thinking of their image that way but it does seem like they tried to recreate the magic for MMT but failed. The unappealing color scheme (and blue & gold are supposed to look good together) and what would today be the equivalent of crappy photoshop of them wearing those costumes makes the album cover almost repulsive.

Maybe I'm just being naïve here, but I think the album cover may be one of the most definitive reasons as to why MMT wasn't as culturally successful as Peppers. You can think of "All You Need Is Love" without thinking of "Magical Mystery Tour" but you can't think of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" without thinking of "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". Even the name "Magical Mystery Tour" isn't as cool as Peppers'.

But anyway, we aren't here to talk about MMT, but I do think you can learn a lot about the success of Sgt Pepper's when you compare and contrast the two. Sgt Pepper's just has the coolness factor.

28 August 2011
4.56am
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Jackson, I'm with you on Fixin' a Hole and Rita. Love the guitar on Fixin', and I think Rita is fun. Is Rita rock'n'roll? No. But who cares? I think every song on Pepper is either great or fun or innovative or poignant (except "Good Morning, Good Morning" - and obviously IMdeWalrus will strongly disagree).

Couple of things about MMT: I happen to like the cover, but of course that's just personal choice.

There are a number of reasons why MMT had zero impact:

- MMT was a "Best of" album. At least the entire second side. It's a collection of the Beatles' '67 singles (and what a collection!!!). The only stand-out song on Side 1 was "Fool on the Hill."

- If you had already bought the singles throughout the year, you really weren't getting your money's worth with MMT.

- You don't think of MMT when you think of "All You Need Is Love," or "Penny Lane," or "Strawberry Fields," etc... because those songs had come out 6 -10 months earlier.

- No one in the US saw the movie, so there was no particular emotional attachment.

- It was a flop in the UK (for many reasons), so there was no emotional attachment there either.

Had All You Need Is Love, Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, etc... appeared on MMT for the first time ever, it would arguably be the Beatles' best album ever.

No?

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
28 August 2011
3.23pm
The Walrus
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"Into the Sky with Diamonds" said:

- MMT was a "Best of" album. At least the entire second side. It's a collection of the Beatles' '67 singles (and what a collection!!!). The only stand-out song on Side 1 was "Fool on the Hill."

I Am The Walrus?

And I neeeeeeeeed her all the time
28 August 2011
3.47pm
meanmistermustard
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The cover of MMT is on a par with Yellow Submarine. Nearly all of the Beatles album covers (talking UK here) are pretty iconic, a piece of art in themselves, even Beatles For Sale and Help!. Neither MMT or Yellow Submarine achieve that. Let It Be may also be in this category.

Interestingly Pepper is surrounded by myths: the album concept was a myth, the summer of love was a myth, the greatness of the music is a myth.

Does anyone else recall Brian Epstein not being in favour of the album cover? I have this memory of reading he prefered a brown paper bag and it being a sign that he was not on the same wavelength as the fab four.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
28 August 2011
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Good question re Brian Epstein.

According to Peter Brown (his assistant), the spring and summer of '67 were times of intense personal turmoil for Epstein. The cover of Pepper would not have been on his top ten list of worries. His biggest concern was getting re-signed by the Beatles now that they were no longer touring. He had little to no impact on any of the music or covers.

 

[Just curious, how was "summer of love" a myth? It was a label used to reflect all the prevalent songs regarding universal love and grooviness. Not that people weren't killing each other all around the world as usual]

 

As for album covers, I'd rather have MMT on my wall than Help!  Unless of course you factor in the picture on the back of the American Help!, in which case it's a closer call. On the UK cover, I don't mind that they blew the spelling of HELP with their arm signals, but I consider the Beatles themselves to be too small. Don't you think?

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
28 August 2011
5.04pm
The Walrus
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I like the Help! cover, but that's a good point, they could have been bigger. I think the cover is more iconic, though not as good, as those for Revolver and Rubber Soul. Let It Be is fairly iconic too, it's the one people get on their T-Shirts.

In rough order of iconicness (heh):

Abbey Road

Sgt. Pepper

The White Album

With The Beatles

Help!

Let It Be

Hard Day's Night

Please Please Me/Get Back

(gap)

Revolver

Rubber Soul

Magical Mystery Tour

Yellow Submarine

And I neeeeeeeeed her all the time
28 August 2011
5.17pm
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(Thanks everyone for keeping me entertained during Hurricane Irene)

 

In terms of iconic covers, here in the U.S., Help! would be at the bottom since it was never seen here until the CD came out 2 decades later. Hard Day's Night was also different (I rate the American and UK versions equal; neither is really iconic. I don't see many Hard Day's Night T-shirts walking around.)

In my ranking, With the Beatles (Meet the Beatles) would be closer to the top. Tough call between With the Beatles and 

Abbey RoadSgt. Pepper,The White Album, and Let It Be. (Hey, every guy with a white T-shirt is wearing a White Album cover!).

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
28 August 2011
5.17pm
meanmistermustard
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I would place With The Beatles above Help! and Let It Be in terms of cover iconicness. The cover with the half shaded faces and black turtleneck jumpers is highly esteemed. And as said before Let It Be would be far lower. The top 3 i would agree with tho.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
28 August 2011
7.34pm
Jackson
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"Into the Sky with Diamonds" said:

- If you had already bought the singles throughout the year, you really weren't getting your money's worth with MMT.

- You don't think of MMT when you think of "All You Need Is Love," or "Penny Lane," or "Strawberry Fields," etc... because those songs had come out 6 -10 months earlier.

 

I didn't know that about MMT, I guess I have much to learn! But why would they ever release a song as a single when they could just wait to put it on an album? I know that All You Need Is Love was time-sensitive, but what about Penny Lane or Strawberry Fields or Lady Madonna? If they can help it, why not just wait to put it on an album? Or do the opposite and release every good song as a single.

28 August 2011
7.40pm
mr. Sun king coming together
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Because, the Beatles wanted to put out good songs to give listeners the sense of what is to come, to keep them in the public's mind, and to get the record company to shut up. They didn't put the singles on albums in the UK because they felt it was duping the public, and therefore wrong. American's (and therefore Capitol) felt no such way, and routinely turned one 14 song album and 2 sides of a single into 2 albums. And Into The Sky With Diamonds, it's our pleasure. Nothing like chatting about the Beatles while New York is sinking (apples to the first person to get that).

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
28 August 2011
8.39pm
The Walrus
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I think I agree with the pair of you about With the Beatles, on

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" said:

(Hey, every guy with a white T-shirt is wearing a White Album cover!).

I did think that!

And I neeeeeeeeed her all the time
28 August 2011
9.01pm
mithveaen
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mr. Sun king coming together said:

Because, the Beatles wanted to put out good songs to give listeners the sense of what is to come, to keep them in the public's mind, and to get the record company to shut up. They didn't put the singles on albums in the UK because they felt it was duping the public, and therefore wrong. American's (and therefore Capitol) felt no such way, and routinely turned one 14 song album and 2 sides of a single into 2 albums. And Into The Sky With Diamonds, it's our pleasure. Nothing like chatting about the Beatles while New York is sinking (apples to the first person to get that).

Thanks to Irene? *waiting for her apples*

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
28 August 2011
9.10pm
meanmistermustard
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 Jackson said:

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" said:

- If you had already bought the singles throughout the year, you really weren't getting your money's worth with MMT.

- You don't think of MMT when you think of "All You Need Is Love," or "Penny Lane," or "Strawberry Fields," etc... because those songs had come out 6 -10 months earlier.

I didn't know that about MMT, I guess I have much to learn! But why would they ever release a song as a single when they could just wait to put it on an album? I know that All You Need Is Love was time-sensitive, but what about Penny Lane or Strawberry Fields or Lady Madonna? If they can help it, why not just wait to put it on an album? Or do the opposite and release every good song as a single.

I agree with Mr Sun King.

 

Certainly in the UK when the Beatles started the singles chart was where the interest was. The albums were generally the hit single(s) plus filler, generally rip-offs of the hit regurgitated till you had 14 songs. Little effort or thought went into what else was included. Please Please Me in the uk was sold with the advertising line "Please Please Me with Love Me Do and 12 other songs", promoting the fact that the band had had 2 top twenty singles. Over time artists like The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks and The Rolling Stones changed that thinking until the album became more/as important in itself. Rubber Soul is said to be the first Beatles album where they saw it as a complete entity instead of 14 separate songs.

You need the single to promote the band, thats what still happens in the charts. A band releases a single which promotes the band and the album, how else would anyone get to hear of anyone ona grand scale, except seeing them live.  Rarely is an album released without a single being pulled.

The Beatles/Brian Epstein however wanted to give fans value for money. They would often keep the singles off the album so you were buying 14 new songs instead of 12, eg With The Beatles, Beatles For Sale, The White Album, Pepper, tho there are albums like Help! (Ticket To Ride), Revolver (Yellow Submarine), A Hard Days Night (Can't Buy Me Love) that did have hit singles on them. Abbey Road was the first Beatles album that had a single taken after the album had been released and that Mr Klein wanting money (Apple was in a financial mess). And then you had the whole ep market at the same time for the fans who couldnt afford to buy the whole album. And the Beatles had enough in the can to release Long Tall Sally which had 4 new songs not on any album.

The US was completely different with all of this.

And you cant simply release every good song as a single. If you did some acts would be releasing songs every month, tho some would never.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
28 August 2011
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All of the above + the Beatles didn't need singles to drive their album sales.

Conversely, many album songs could have been released as singles and been hits in their own right. Hmmm, I think I see a new thread here (unless it's in here somewhere).

(Mr Sun King I give up on the "New York sinking." A play on Macca's "the pound is sinking"? (so's the dollar...)

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
28 August 2011
9.42pm
meanmistermustard
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"Into the Sky with Diamonds" said:

...Conversely, many album songs could have been released as singles and been hits in their own right. Hmmm, I think I see a new thread here (unless it's in here somewhere)...

After 1 had been released to such unexpected success there was an idea banded about of a sequel, a compilation of top 10 songs from around the world, and im convinced Dont Pass Me By was included as it had been released as a single from The White Album in some country (somewhere like Indonesia) and made #2. Is that complete rubbish?

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
28 August 2011
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CranberrySauce
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"Into the Sky with Diamonds" said:

Hard Day's Night was also different (I rate the American and UK versions equal; neither is really iconic. I don't see many Hard Day's Night T-shirts walking around.)

 

My friend has one, and she wears it a lot. Plus, because so many of the smileys were taken from that cover, it's iconic in my book.

 

 

 

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