Happy Anniversary, Sgt. Pepper

22nd May 1967: The Beatles (clockwise from top left: Ringo Starr, George Harrison (1943 - 2001), John Lennon (1940 - 1980) and Paul McCartney) pose for a photocall to promote their new album 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'. (Photo by John Pratt/Keystone/Getty Images)

“It was twenty years ago today,

Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play…”

Correction, make that 50 years ago. That’s when, on June 1, 1967, after months in the recording studio the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, perhaps the greatest LP of all time.

Predictably, several re-issue packages are coming out soon – they might be worth a listen. Better yet, I suggest you grab yourself a copy of the original album. Take a good look at that cool, iconic cover. How many of those faces in the crowd can you recognize, or make a guess at?

Now the music. Some of the highlights for me are:

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (the song): I love the rockin’ guitar and horns on this, the opening song of the album. Also, the sound effects (the emcee, the talking/laughter of the crowd) meant to re-create a live band’s performance.

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!: Love that whirly, swirly sound to invoke the circus.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: The imagery of the lyrics will blow your socks off – “tangerine trees,” “marmalade skies,” “plasticine porters with looking glass ties.” Just wow.

And the undoubted highlight, A Day in the Life. John Lennon had most of a song (“I read the news today, oh boy…”),  and Paul McCartney had an incomplete one, consisting of just a few lines (“woke up, fell out of bed…”). So they cobbled the two together, joined by that magnificent orchestral piece that starts off at the lowest note and rises to the highest. A masterpiece, pure and simple.

So go ahead and have a listen (or re-listen) to Sgt. Pepper.  A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

–Penny D.