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More thoughts on Sgt Pepper! 

 December 1, 2020

By  Ben Owens

Taking a deeper dive into the album!

I felt like we didn’t get into more of the nuts and bolts of the album during the podcast, so I wanted to go through some more thoughts on Sgt. Pepper! I could literally talk about this album all day, so if you ever see me out in the world and want to have a never-ending discussion…bring up The Beatles and this album.

Why do I love the Sgt Pepper album so much? First off there’s the sentimental/personal part…it was the first Beatles CD we got as a family. I vividly remember my mom bringing it home, being confused by the general attire of the Beatles, and then reading the insert booklet lyrics over and over while listening to it. But without the personal attachment, it is still an incredible album (contrary to what Jacob thinks).

Let’s start with the concept. As a way to reach outside of themselves, the Beatles used the idea of Sgt Pepper to create new music without the shackles of sounding “like the Beatles.” Was this the first concept album? It’s the earliest one I can think of, so I’m saying yes! Other bands would take this to the next logical step of applying narrative stories to entire albums, and then others basically created musicals. 60s and 70s British rock bands loved musicals, there’s no two ways about it…Tommy, The Wall, they’re a stone’s throw away from being Rent! But Sgt Pepper gets the ball rolling; they use the concept as a way to stretch themselves musically, try new things sonically, and write songs that are about more than just a pretty girl who’s hand they want to hold.

While Revolver flirts with psychedelia, Sgt. Pepper masters it. If you add Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane to the mix, it’s out of this world. Paul can hop around with genres as he tends to do but it all still fits in a way that it doesn’t always with the White Album. They explore their now pharmaceutically opened minds by releasing themselves from the structure of two guitars, a bass, drums and occasional keyboard or harmonica. Also, by discontinuing touring they didn’t have the burden of making the music reproducible on stage. They used the studio to add more instruments, more voices, more everything, and this album has everything…clarinets, tablas, animal noises! They continue to play with speeding up and slowing down takes to change keys. On innovation alone, this album should be held in high regard. (If you have a minute, do yourself a favor and read Here, There and Everywhere a book by Geoff Emerick, the chief engineer during Revolver, Pepper, Mystery Tour and part of the White Album. It goes into great detail about the recording process, real nerd stuff.)

Here are some quick thoughts on each song:

1 – Sgt Pepper: The orchestra warming up, it instantly takes me into it. I can see an old school theatre, the curtain is down but you can hear them warming up, the curtain raises and the Sgt Pepper Band and orchestra is there to take you on an adventure. This song rocks, and sets the tone!

2 – With a Little Help from My Friends: ESTABLISH RINGO EARLY! Yep, this album is gonna be something else! I love this song. It’s my favorite Ringo song (Good Night is #2…fight me)

3 – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: DRUUUUUUUUGS…This song IS psychedelia to me. That and the words “marshmallow overcoat” (watch The Bands “The Last Waltz” to properly catch that reference.) John doesn’t get a song until track #3…I legit think that his foray into LSD tamped down his ego and made him more amiable…he doesn’t come close to amount of production Paul has on this album but his material is SO EFFECTIVE. 

4 – Getting Better: The guitar part during the chorus is so simple and yet so effective! The harmonies are great…”better….Better…Behhhhh-Taaahhhhh!.”

5 – Fixing a Hole: “I’m taking the time for a number of things that weren’t important yesterday.” I don’t pay that much attention to lyrics…but that one hits!

6 – She’s Leaving Home: I LOVE THIS SONG. Using Paul’s voice as a third person narrator and John’s as the first person POV of the parents…brilliant! Now that I’m older and have nieces and nephews/my friends have kids, it hits different…and I’m sure that if I do have kids it’ll take it to another level.

7 – Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite: I dare you to look at a poster for a circus show and write a song about it…I dare you! Taking some big-league swings here.

8 – Within You Without You: I think I hated this song the first time I heard it. I get that it can be an acquired taste. But once you get past the unfamiliar sounds, it really is the best of the George Goes to India music. Plus, it has a great message… with our love, we can save the world.

9 – Sixty-Four: This one’s fun! It’s a fun song. Best clarinet part in modern music (until the Law and Order theme song came out.)

10 – Lovely Rita: Another Paul song where John’s voice is heavily used. Maybe I like this album so much because they are still a collaborative group at this point?

11 – Good Morning: This song GROOVES! Especially with the chaotic opening and the changing time signatures. How much of the animal noises was an FU to Pet Sounds?

12 – Sgt Pepper Reprise: Oooh, we’re coming back to the opening but with a bit more Umph! Ringo really shines here, just driving the beat.

13 – A Day in the Life: First time I listened to this song it blew my mind! Another song with changing POVs based on who’s singing. The lyrics are literal enough to tell a story but vague enough for the listener to make their own interpretations. Also, do yourself a favor and google A Full Day in the Life by Peter Serafinowicz (he played The Tick on the most recent show) it is brilliant. And lastly, Every album by every band should end with that piano chord.

Listen to the original Pearl Jam 10 VS The Beatles Sgt. Pepper podcast episode…

Pearl Jam 10 VS The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

 
 
00:00 / 51:33
 
1X

Ben Owens


Questionable entertainment about questionable entertainment brought to you by Ben Owens and Jacob Miller.

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Taking a deeper dive into the album!

I felt like we didn’t get into more of the nuts and bolts of the album during the podcast, so I wanted to go through some more thoughts on Sgt. Pepper! I could literally talk about this album all day, so if you ever see me out in the world and want to have a never-ending discussion…bring up The Beatles and this album.

Why do I love the Sgt Pepper album so much? First off there’s the sentimental/personal part…it was the first Beatles CD we got as a family. I vividly remember my mom bringing it home, being confused by the general attire of the Beatles, and then reading the insert booklet lyrics over and over while listening to it. But without the personal attachment, it is still an incredible album (contrary to what Jacob thinks).

Let’s start with the concept. As a way to reach outside of themselves, the Beatles used the idea of Sgt Pepper to create new music without the shackles of sounding “like the Beatles.” Was this the first concept album? It’s the earliest one I can think of, so I’m saying yes! Other bands would take this to the next logical step of applying narrative stories to entire albums, and then others basically created musicals. 60s and 70s British rock bands loved musicals, there’s no two ways about it…Tommy, The Wall, they’re a stone’s throw away from being Rent! But Sgt Pepper gets the ball rolling; they use the concept as a way to stretch themselves musically, try new things sonically, and write songs that are about more than just a pretty girl who’s hand they want to hold.

While Revolver flirts with psychedelia, Sgt. Pepper masters it. If you add Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane to the mix, it’s out of this world. Paul can hop around with genres as he tends to do but it all still fits in a way that it doesn’t always with the White Album. They explore their now pharmaceutically opened minds by releasing themselves from the structure of two guitars, a bass, drums and occasional keyboard or harmonica. Also, by discontinuing touring they didn’t have the burden of making the music reproducible on stage. They used the studio to add more instruments, more voices, more everything, and this album has everything…clarinets, tablas, animal noises! They continue to play with speeding up and slowing down takes to change keys. On innovation alone, this album should be held in high regard. (If you have a minute, do yourself a favor and read Here, There and Everywhere a book by Geoff Emerick, the chief engineer during Revolver, Pepper, Mystery Tour and part of the White Album. It goes into great detail about the recording process, real nerd stuff.)

Here are some quick thoughts on each song:

1 – Sgt Pepper: The orchestra warming up, it instantly takes me into it. I can see an old school theatre, the curtain is down but you can hear them warming up, the curtain raises and the Sgt Pepper Band and orchestra is there to take you on an adventure. This song rocks, and sets the tone!

2 – With a Little Help from My Friends: ESTABLISH RINGO EARLY! Yep, this album is gonna be something else! I love this song. It’s my favorite Ringo song (Good Night is #2…fight me)

3 – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: DRUUUUUUUUGS…This song IS psychedelia to me. That and the words “marshmallow overcoat” (watch The Bands “The Last Waltz” to properly catch that reference.) John doesn’t get a song until track #3…I legit think that his foray into LSD tamped down his ego and made him more amiable…he doesn’t come close to amount of production Paul has on this album but his material is SO EFFECTIVE. 

4 – Getting Better: The guitar part during the chorus is so simple and yet so effective! The harmonies are great…”better….Better…Behhhhh-Taaahhhhh!.”

5 – Fixing a Hole: “I’m taking the time for a number of things that weren’t important yesterday.” I don’t pay that much attention to lyrics…but that one hits!

6 – She’s Leaving Home: I LOVE THIS SONG. Using Paul’s voice as a third person narrator and John’s as the first person POV of the parents…brilliant! Now that I’m older and have nieces and nephews/my friends have kids, it hits different…and I’m sure that if I do have kids it’ll take it to another level.

7 – Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite: I dare you to look at a poster for a circus show and write a song about it…I dare you! Taking some big-league swings here.

8 – Within You Without You: I think I hated this song the first time I heard it. I get that it can be an acquired taste. But once you get past the unfamiliar sounds, it really is the best of the George Goes to India music. Plus, it has a great message… with our love, we can save the world.

9 – Sixty-Four: This one’s fun! It’s a fun song. Best clarinet part in modern music (until the Law and Order theme song came out.)

10 – Lovely Rita: Another Paul song where John’s voice is heavily used. Maybe I like this album so much because they are still a collaborative group at this point?

11 – Good Morning: This song GROOVES! Especially with the chaotic opening and the changing time signatures. How much of the animal noises was an FU to Pet Sounds?

12 – Sgt Pepper Reprise: Oooh, we’re coming back to the opening but with a bit more Umph! Ringo really shines here, just driving the beat.

13 – A Day in the Life: First time I listened to this song it blew my mind! Another song with changing POVs based on who’s singing. The lyrics are literal enough to tell a story but vague enough for the listener to make their own interpretations. Also, do yourself a favor and google A Full Day in the Life by Peter Serafinowicz (he played The Tick on the most recent show) it is brilliant. And lastly, Every album by every band should end with that piano chord.

Listen to the original Pearl Jam 10 VS The Beatles Sgt. Pepper podcast episode…

Pearl Jam 10 VS The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

 
 
00:00 / 51:33
 
1X

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