Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sgt Pepper is 50.

It was 50 years ago today ... 

A new stereo remix of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album has been released to celebrate its 50-year anniversary (https://goo.gl/lX2dpz).  Remixed by Son Martin it still feels overproduced on several songs, though overall crisper and more balanced than before.  Listen to the mono version, however, and you’d get the Beatles’ preferred sound mix. 

Whereas often considered the culmination of their creativity, the album is uneven.  Its heralded “concept” structure is really Sgt. Pepper's Intro and Reprise bookending several brilliant songs and some lesser fillers, which are mostly unconnected as a set.  Imagine if George Martin had decided to include (Lennon's) Strawberry Fields Forever and (McCartney's) Penny Lane and removed (Lennon’s) For the Benefit of Mr Kite and shortened (Harrison’s) Within You Without You.  Fixing a Hole is also a (McCartney) throwaway.  They might have considered the addition of (Lennon’s) All you Need is Love, which was finalized around that time (or, who knows, Carnival of Light).  The lineup (below, with a few minutes extra) would have eclipsed Revolver, which otherwise remains their creative masterpiece and last true group effort.

Side one

  1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band              
  2. With a Little Help from My Friends      
  3. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  4. Getting Better
  5. Fixing a Hole
  6. She's Leaving Home
  7. Strawberry Fields Forever

Side two

  1. Penny Lane
  2. Within You Without You (shorter version)
  3. When I'm Sixty Four
  4. Lovely Rita
  5. Good Morning Good Morning              
  6. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  7. A Day in the Life

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