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Is Sgt Pepper overrated?
17 June 2016
3.33pm
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Zig
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Wigwam said
With regards to the thread's title ........This suggests not.

 

http://observer.com/2016/06/49.....-mono/  

Fantastic article - thanks!

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19 June 2016
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It is fantastic.  This puts into perspective the different, more laudatory, view I have of Sgt Pepper than many others. I remember it as the mono version I first heard (and heard, and heard...). I can confirm that because I distinctly remember the audience laughter in Reprise, even now.  I recall thinking, "what's so funny?"   The mono version is definitely more edgy, and thematic.  I also agree with the author about When I'm 64, although not in such harsh terms. It certainly could provoke a WTF reaction when it pops up in the play list. 

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17 March 2017
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Song for song, I think Sgt. Pepper is the seventh-best Beatles album. But impact it had on the culture, the way music was made, the way albums were crafted, and the way rock and roll was defined was huge. The music is inseparable from the concept, the production, album art, etc.

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19 March 2017
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For me the technical achievement is beyond question. Having to use two synchronised 4-tracks because EMI just could not be arsed to update enabled more freedom to manage overdubs and to layer the effects (eg Penny Lane pulled out all the stops). That article touches on something I noticed about Peppers, it's not such a leap from Revolver as the stereo version suggests. It's dark and edgy and not at all the happy clappy trip. It's a rush of an album in its proper context.

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5 April 2017
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It's a good album but I wouldn't call it a "concept album". "Authentic" concept albums to me are albums like the Kinks - Village Green Preservation Society and Arthur, Small Faces - Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, and The Zombies - Odyssey And Oracle.

And it's probably not the best Beatles album.

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5 April 2017
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Welcome to the forum.

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5 April 2017
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Dark Overlord
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I don't know why people would refer to this album as overrated, this is such a classic album and just look at the instruments used, key, and genre/influence in each song and you will see that it is a landmark album.

Sgt. Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Instruments:

3 electric guitars, bass, drums, vocals, french horn

Key:

G

Genre:

Classic Rock, Psychedelic Rock

Influence:

Rock music, introductions, marching bands

With A Little Help From My Friends

Instruments:

2 electric guitars, bass, drums, vocals, cowbell, piano

Key:

E

Genre:

Classic Rock, Pop Rock, Psychedelic Rock

Influence:

Sing alongs, piano music

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Instruments:

Acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums, vocals, piano, organ, tambourine, tamboura

Key:

A (verse), G (chorus)

Genre:

Psychedelic Rock

Influence:

Poetry, psychedelic rock, fantasy

Getting Better

Instruments:

3 electric guitars, bass, drums, congas, piano, electric piano, harpsichord, tamboura

Key:

C

Genre:

Classic Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Pop Rock

Influence:

50's rock, pop music

Fixing A Hole

Instruments:

double tracked electric guitar, bass, drums, vocals, maracas, harpsichord

Key:

F

Genre:

Psychedelic Rock, Baroque Pop

Influence:

Drugs, psychedelic rock, classical music

She's Leaving Home

Instruments:

vocals, orchestral strings

Key:

E

Genre:

Baroque Pop

Influence:

Ballads, classical music

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite

Instruments:

electric guitar solo, bass, drums, vocals, organs, harmonicas, bass harmonica, glockenspiel, tape loops

Key:

C

Genre:

Experimental Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Progressive Rock

Influence:

Carousel music, amusement parks, carnivals

Within You Without You

Instruments:

vocals, sitar, tamboura, swordmandel, dilruba, tabla, orchestral strings

Key:

C

Genre:

Psychedelic Rock, Raga Rock

Influence:

Indian music, Buddhism, meditation, spiritualism

When I'm 64

Instruments:

electric guitar, bass, drums, piano, vocals, clarinet, and bells

Key:

C

Genre:

Pop Rock, Music Hall

Influence:

Old time music, jazz

Good Morning, Good Morning

Instruments:

2 electric guitars, bass, drums, vocals, brass ensemble, tape loops

Key:

A

Genre:

Classic Rock, Psychedelic Rock

Influence:

Rock music, TV commercials, brass band music

Sgt. Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

Instruments:

2 electric guitars, bass, drums, vocals

Key:

F, then G

Genre:

Classic Rock, Psychedelic Rock

Influence:

Rock music, endings, sing alongs

A Day In The Life

Instruments:

Acoustic guitar, bass, drums, vocals, pianos, tambourine, maracas, congas, alarm clock, 40 piece orchestra

Key:

G, E for the bridge, C for the Aaahs

Genre:

Psychedelic Rock

Influence:

Storytelling, acoustic ballads, endings

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5 April 2017
9.54pm
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There is a new completely remastered anniversary edition that's going to be released in May. To be honest, the tracks sound absolutely amazing and fresh.

 

 

But it's still not their best album 😉

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5 April 2017
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Hope this new edition is a as good as the trailer!

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)

6 April 2017
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Dark Overlord said
With A Little Help From My Friends

Instruments:

2 electric guitars, bass, drums, vocals, cowbell, piano

Key:

E

Genre:

Classic Rock, Pop Rock, Psychedelic Rock

Influence:

Sing alongs, piano music

I would consider this tune a Music Hall pastiche as well.

 

Anyway, I've said it elsewhere, but I do consider this the group's most overrated album mostly because none of Paul's contributions have ever bowled me over all that much -- and, alas, 8 of the 13 tracks are his (not to mention his pivotal contribution to "A Day In The Life "). It's strange how he hit nothing but home runs on Revolver but then could only manage a string of mere base hits for this album (apologies to those not familiar with baseball analogies  a-hard-days-night-paul-4). Of course, his best composition from these sessions didn't end up on the album; actually, I'd say arguably the 2 very best songs from these sessions - "Penny Lane " and "Strawberry Fields Forever " - severely crippled the album by not ending up on it and instead being released as a stopgap single, at Parlophone's insistence. And I still wish "Only A Northern Song " had also made the cut, as I still find it far more aurally interesting than a lot of the other tunes. John also appeared to be running short on inspiration during these sessions, given that his contributions only numbered 4, and they were all inspired by outside sources ("A Day In The Life " by a couple of newspaper headlines; "Good Morning, Good Morning" by a cereal commercial; "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" by a circus poster; and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds " by a drawing by his son). At the end of the day, I merely consider Sgt. Pepper to be in a tie with A Hard Day's Night as the group's fifth best album; Rubber Soul Revolver , the White Album , and Abbey Road are all superior, IMO (as well as Magical Mystery Tour , if we're counting that as a full-fledged album).

29 April 2017
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My view is that Sgt Pepper is the best album ever recorded, or (EDIT) at least the most important. Dark Side Of The Moon is up there too, and there is an argument that it's better but I think Sgt Pepper mixes the Beatles' pop roots with their psychedelic and experimental sides so well it's the superior of the two.

The first four tracks on Pepper are just magical. That tongue-in-cheek intro followed by a brilliant singalong ending with Ringo's high note. Then as it fades out that tambora comes in and it's otherwordly. 

Both albums are more experiences than albums and that's why they're so good but Pepper represents an entire culture and decade, and contains a bigger variety of sounds. Plus, Dark Side tends to play to Floyd's strengths with jazz instruments and expressive guitar solos with avant-garde elements whereas for the beatles Pepper was a huge commercial risk.

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29 April 2017
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I think it overrated by Rolling Stone because it is ahead of Revolver . But @QuarryMan has a point, the context of its release makes it more important, and there are few albums that match it in quality and innovation. 

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29 April 2017
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Yah it is.

Thread over :P.

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29 April 2017
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I think it's a great album and deserves the praise it gets. If anything, this album is underrated by newer generations.

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30 April 2017
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"Of course, his best composition from these sessions didn't end up on the album; actually, I'd say arguably the 2 very best songs from these sessions - "Penny Lane " and "Strawberry Fields Forever " - severely crippled the album by not ending up on it and instead being released as a stopgap single, at Parlophone's insistence."

Sorry the quote feature wasn't working @Duke_of_Kirkcaldy but I disagree with you here.

Although SFF and PL are brilliant songs they wouldn't have fitted in on the album, since they mention real places.

To me what makes Pepper so magical is how timeless and inventive it is, almost like the Lonely Hearts Club Band are from another universe and I think using real places would spoil that immersive illusion. 

IMO the only song that should have been on the album but wasn't is All You Need Is Love . Obviously it was written about a month after Pepper's release, but it seems like John could have written it at any point in the psychedelic era, and it's general message fits the album better than PL or SFF. Also, I never thought Within You Without You was fit to open side 2, and an uplifting song would do that much better. It's orchestral elements also fit better with the whole band theme of the album. 

I would also have the track list at an even number, so the length of each side is equal ish.

Side 1

1. Sgt Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band

2. With A Little Help From My Friends

3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

4. She's Leaving Home

5. Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite

6. Fixing A Hole

Side 2

7. All You Need Is Love

8. Within You Without You

9. Getting Better

10. When I'm Sixty-Four

11. Sgt Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band

12. A Day In The Life

Hidden Track: Good Morning Good Morning (shortened version)

 

What do you all think? IMO this would make it a perfect album.

¡No pasarán!

 

30 April 2017
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Love what I'm heard so far on Spotify & iTunes with the centred vocals! 

Now I cant wait to buy the CD

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2 May 2017
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QuarryMan said
Although SFF and PL are brilliant songs they wouldn't have fitted in on the album, since they mention real places.

WTF does that have to do with anything? I don't care about lyrical content; I care far more about musical composition/arrangement/instrumentation/texture/timbre/etc. -- and those two songs are head and shoulders above most of the other tunes recorded for the album in that regard, IMO.

QuarryMan said
Hidden Track: Good Morning Good Morning (shortened version)

You'd put one of the album's better tracks as a mere hidden track?  a-hard-days-night-paul-3

I've also posted this before, but this would be my definitive version of the album:

Side 1:

"Sgt. Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
"With A Little Help From My Friends "
"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds "
"Fixing A Hole "
"Only A Northern Song "
"Penny Lane "
"Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!"

Side 2:

"Within You, Without You"
"Strawberry Fields Forever "
"When I'm Sixty-Four "
"Good Morning, Good Morning"
"Sgt. Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)"
"A Day In The Life "

This would at least put it above MMT in my rankings, which would be altered by including "Getting Better ," "She's Leaving Home ," and "Lovely Rita " instead, and pushing "Baby, You're a Rich Man" to one of the 4 exclusive songs for Yellow Submarine , as it was initially intended.

2 May 2017
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Duke_of_Kirkcaldy said

QuarryMan said
Although SFF and PL are brilliant songs they wouldn't have fitted in on the album, since they mention real places.

WTF does that have to do with anything? I don't care about lyrical content; I care far more about musical composition/arrangement/instrumentation/texture/timbre/etc. -- and those two songs are head and shoulders above most of the other tunes recorded for the album in that regard, IMO.

The reason it matters is because it's a concept album (I don't give a damn what you think Paul McCartney , it is definitely a concept album).

If the question was whether to include two good songs from that era on any other release I would be all for it but the whole point of the album is that it's a performance by Sgt Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The purpose of the album was to escape from the mop top boy band look by taking on new identities unrelated to their own. They had grown out of 'yeah yeah yeah' songs and felt they couldn't be taken seriously. 

Since that's the idea behind the album, why include two songs tying the album down to the real band when the rest of it was about a fictional one?

The whole album is an other worldly experience from the fantasy of Lucy In The Sky to the rushing cacophony of A Day In The Life . Why would you want to spoil that illusion with a dose of reality? The point is, with a concept album like this one, simply adding some great songs isn't the way to improve it. It's more about developing the concept and refining the ideas than just throwing in good songs.

Sonically, what do those two tracks (whilst being brilliant themselves) have to offer that the album hasn't already got? Penny Lane 's baroque pop is more than well covered already, and Strawberry Field's psych madness is similarly made up for.

Side note: Good Morning Good Morning isn't that great in my opinion. It's basically Wild Honey Pie sketched out over two minutes. The guitar solo is it's saving grace.

¡No pasarán!

 

3 May 2017
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QuarryMan said
The reason it matters is because it's a concept album (I don't give a damn what you think Paul McCartney , it is definitely a concept album).

If the question was whether to include two good songs from that era on any other release I would be all for it but the whole point of the album is that it's a performance by Sgt Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

See, it's really not. I'm with John when he said outside of the first 2 tracks and the reprise, there's really no concept of which to speak; it's just a random collection of songs like all their other albums. That may have started out as the idea, but it didn't end up that way. The Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed, now THERE'S a concept album where said concept is sustained though the entire album.

I suppose it comes down to subjectivity when it comes to the quality of the songs. None of Paul's tunes for this album have ever done a whole lot for me (I'm not even that fond of Joe Cocker's more famous version of "With A Little Help From My Friends "). I seldom find myself singing any of them of my own accord; the title track and its reprise are a little above the others, but their arrangements just give me a 'trying too hard' vibe -- particularly with "She's Leaving Home ," which clearly seems to be trying to be another "Eleanor Rigby ," but its maudlin tone automatically handicaps it. And "Lovely Rita " and "Getting Better " sound like extra-dressed-up Revolver rejects to my ears.

3 May 2017
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Duke_of_Kirkcaldy said

And "Lovely Rita " and "Getting Better " sound like extra-dressed-up Revolver rejects to my ears.  

Two songs in my top 10...

If it has something to do with Revolver , it cannot possibly be bad, you must admit. Even if it's a reject!

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