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Is Sgt Pepper A Concept Album?
20 June 2019
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50yearslate
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How is Sgt Pepper 'musically cohesive?' There are all kinds of very different songs. Within You Without You and When I'm Sixty-Four are not exactly what I'd call cohesive. If anything, it's the oh-all-these-songs-are-by-Sgt-Pepper's-Lonely-Hearts-Club-Band-wink-wink thing that might make it a concept album.

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20 June 2019
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CouldntThinkOfABeatlesPun
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I think it's just half of a concert album, almost like they tried to do it (SPLHCB going into a little help with my friends, and the reprise), but the rest has nothing to do with each other.

20 June 2019
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Beatlebug
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Kaniffee said
I don't mean just in the way one might say Please Please Me is musically cohesive.  I mean the ways the music calls back to itself and connects throughout.  That's without getting into the medley itself which obviously fits this.  Things like having Sun King start with Here come the sun king, three songs after Here Comes The Sun .
[snip] 

And all those times they use the 'Abbey Road riff' (variations on a descending arpeggio theme) which appears most prominently on YNGMYM but also crops up elsewhere.

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20 June 2019
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8where could I find this riff? What is it exactly, I've never noticed it.

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20 June 2019
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CouldntThinkOfABeatlesPun
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@The Hole Got Fixed In You Never Give Me Your Money , it shows up in the "oh that magic feeling" part and in the outro ("One sweet dream came true")

(1:32 and 2:48 respectively) a-hard-days-night-ringo-10

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20 June 2019
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The best example is during the transitions in YNGMYM (during 'Came true [RIFF] Today', right before Paul turns into Robert Plant) and between Carry That Weight to The End . There's a kind of a thing that's not quite the same riff, but that sounds familiar when you hear it, that appears elsewhere on the album (I can't think of any examples off the top of my head, I'm off Abbey Road until 26 September ahdn_paul_01).

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20 June 2019
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Kaniffee
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I always thought of that part as a callback to She Said She Said .  "She's making me feel like I've never been born."

While we're at it the beginning of Sun King reminds me of Don't Let Me Down in that the chords seem to fit well.

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20 June 2019
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CouldntThinkOfABeatlesPun said
I think it's just half of a concert album, almost like they tried to do it (SPLHCB going into a little help with my friends, and the reprise), but the rest has nothing to do with each other.

  

But that's the point - they don't need to have anything to do with each other. 

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20 June 2019
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I think the Magical Mistery Tour EP is more conceptual that Sgt. Peppers album.

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20 June 2019
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Kaniffee
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QuarryMan said

CouldntThinkOfABeatlesPun said

I think it's just half of a concert album, almost like they tried to do it (SPLHCB going into a little help with my friends, and the reprise), but the rest has nothing to do with each other.

  

But that's the point - they don't need to have anything to do with each other. 

  

SPLHCB is all the better for the production it used that transcended the limits of live performance at the time.  To turn back around and say the concept of this album is that it's a live performance completely goes against that.  Things like the laugh after Within You Without You feel shoehorned in and it takes away from the experience of the album rather than elevating it.  Basically I don't buy in that any of it is "live" when I'm listening to it so the reminders that it's supposed to be are just kinda annoying, and I don't think they actually committed to it enough for it to actually feel like a live performance.

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20 June 2019
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@Kaniffee said

Things like the laugh after Within You Without You feel shoehorned in and it takes away from the experience of the album rather than elevating it. 

Okay, I get what you're saying here all but this. I have never felt, and don't think, that the laugh in WYWY is 'shoehorned in' or was meant to reinforce the live-album-concept. It seems logistically unlikely that George, whose contributions (see Only A Northern Song ) to the album were the most disassociated from the theme of the album, especially the 'concept' idea, which would have been Paul's notion more or less exclusively (as proven also by John's reluctance to adopt the idea), would do something like that. I have always felt like George's laugh was completely spontaneous, a typically Harrisonic self-deprecating humourous reaction to the excessive heavitude and philosophising of the song itself.

(PWT ahdn_george_05)

@Shamrock Womlbs said
I think the Magical Mistery Tour EP is more conceptual that Sgt. Peppers album.  

MMT kind of doesn't count because it was a soundtrack to a film which had a concept. (well, we can argue about whether MMT had a concept or not elsewhere ahdn_george_06)

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20 June 2019
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Kaniffee
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Beatlebug said

Kaniffee said

Things like the laugh after Within You Without You feel shoehorned in and it takes away from the experience of the album rather than elevating it. 

Okay, I get what you're saying here all but this. I have never felt, and don't think, that the laugh in WYWY is 'shoehorned in' or was meant to reinforce the live-album-concept. It seems logistically unlikely that George, whose contributions (see Only A Northern Song ) to the album were the most disassociated from the 'concept' idea, which would have been Paul's notion almost exclusively (as proven also by John's reluctance to adopt the idea), would do something like that. I have always felt like George's laugh was completely spontaneous, a typically Harrisonic self-deprecating humourous reaction to the excessive heavitude and philosophising of the song itself.

It's not George laughing.  It definitely sounds like the "audience" is laughing.  The laughter was added in as an overdub after the fact.  Most likely it was actually because this song was otherwise the biggest departure from the live album concept that they felt the need to *ahem* shoehorn the laughter in at the end.

George even said:

You were supposed to hear the audience anyway, as they listen to Sergeant Pepper's Show.

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20 June 2019
10.34pm
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Beatlebug
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ahdn_paul_06Did George say that specifically in reference to WYWY?

Joe's article for the song says:

The laughter at the end of the track was Harrison's idea. While some listeners initially thought it was the sound of the other Beatles mocking his songwriting effort, it was in fact meant to lighten the mood after five minutes of sad, almost mournful, music.

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21 June 2019
12.31am
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Kaniffee
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The quote I found on the Wikipedia page for the song.  It apparently comes from this book:

  • Davies, Hunter (2009) [1968]. The Beatles (rev. edn). New York, NY: W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-33874-4.

But I don't have this on hand to necessarily verify.  Usually these articles tend to be pretty accurate as far as information on beatles songs go.

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21 June 2019
4.37am
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Beatlebug said

@Shamrock Womlbs said

I think the Magical Mistery Tour EP is more conceptual that Sgt. Peppers album.  

MMT kind of doesn't count because it was a soundtrack to a film which had a concept. (well, we can argue about whether MMT had a concept or not elsewhere ahdn_george_06)

  

umm...does that make AHDN a concept album as well? a-hard-days-night-george-4

Isn't there a concept behind every album? the concept of sell millions... of getting one or two number 1 hits...etc ? mccartney-shrug_01_gifa-hard-days-night-george-10

Is the concept behind Pepper that of a band other than the Beatles themselves playing live? Then , to me, it is not a concept album. It is an album with two concept songs in it.

And most important, as i said before in this thread, it's an album with a concept cover. a-hard-days-night-george-4

Sgt. Peppers music is a soundtrack to it's cover. ahdn_john_08_gif

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21 June 2019
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vonbontee
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Shamrock Womlbs said umm...does that make AHDN a concept album as well? a-hard-days-night-george-4

  I may be misremembering, but I seem to recall somebody suggesting that very idea in some thread here: That its 13 songs, all romance-themed, tell the story of a relationship's rise and fall (achronologicallly)

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21 June 2019
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Kaniffee
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I remember someone doing that for with the beatles on reddit.  They reordered the songs to make it a concept album.

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21 June 2019
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QuarryMan
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I don't know. Songs being about a similar subject matter such as love, but otherwise unconnected, is not enough to make a it a concept album.

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21 June 2019
2.36pm
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Beatlebug
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8 I mean, like 95% of all songs are about love. In that genre, during that time, for sure. mccartney-shrug_01_gif

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21 June 2019
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QuarryMan
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Yeah, that's something that always kinda bugs me. I do love a great love song as much as the next person, but I like to hear about other stuff too. That's a good thing about Sgt Pepper 's - When I'm Sixty Four is the only thing that really resembles a standard love song, and even that has a unique twist on the matter. 

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