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Author Topic: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers  (Read 14416 times)

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tkitna

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Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« on: May 13, 2011, 05:29:35 PM »

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

The concept album that wasn’t. I have a soft spot in my heart for this record. Maybe it’s the fact that my buddy and I listened to it (on 8-track) everyday after school at his house while we shot pool and lifted weights. Maybe it’s because it’s the second album I stole from my sisters collection when I was young. Maybe its just because it’s a damn good record.


Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band -  I love the opening with the orchestra tuning up. The guitar tone is nice and just raunchy enough. The muddy sounding drums fit nicely with Pauls distant sounding voice.  0:47 I love the crowd laughing like the lads just did something comical. 0:55 the harmonies with the guitar being played behind them are great. All in all, I don’t have much more to add other than I think it’s a great opener.

With A Little Help From My Friends - This is the defining moment for Ringo in the Beatles, or at least, this is what I always associate with him. The guys finally said enough with the bullsh*t and wrote him a good one. Whats nice about the song is that it trys to stay in character with Ringo. He immediately apologizes to the audience about his lackluster voice. This eases the mood and deems the song acceptable. If that wasn’t enough, the entire song is about the assistance he receives from his friends. Brilliant. Pauls bass sounds amazing. Ringos drums are crisp and clear. Piano sounds good. The cowbell during the chorus is neat and something I never picked up on before. 0:25 love the tambourine. Backgrounds are great. Guitar tone is nice. 1:30 I like Ringos ride taking up space. Ending is very nice with Ringo actually showing a little range in his voice. Not one of my favorite songs, but it’s a super good tune for Ringo.

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds -  And the concept is gone already. Doesn’t matter though because the rest of the album has some cool stuff with this song being one of them. The electric harpsichord beginning is cool (or whatever the instrument is). Bass sounds great. Johns voice is awesome sounding on this one. 0:25 is Johns voice double tracked here or is it Paul or George joining in? Either way, its not as tight as it could have been.  0:32 love John singing with the guitar playing along. 0:50 like how Pauls voice sticks out here. 1:00 love the higher voice here too. Is it Paul? I enjoy the constant sitar sounding feedback throughout the song. 1:32 John sings another little ’High’ like he ran out of breath or something. Neat. I think Pauls bass carries the song in the ending. Listen to it at the 3:16 mark. Awesome. Good song.

Getting Better - Paul sings Its getting better all the time while John sings it cant get much worse. Pretty self explanatory of how they really were in my opinion. It seems that a lot of people don’t like this song, but I do. Moving on. I really like the guitar tone. I don’t know if it’s the crash or a hi hat splash, but I like how Ringo takes up space on this one. First instance is at the 0:10 mark if anybody wants to take a crack. I use the hats here personally, but it could be either. Love the background vocals. 0:44 the piano and guitar come in together and sounds great. Pauls voice is awesome too. Bass sounds great (reoccurring theme on this album). 1:35 is that the sitar again? Congos are a nice addition at this time too. What is the instrument at the end that reminds me of a police siren in how it repeats itself? I like it. Nice song, but not great.

Fixing A Hole - One of my favorites on the album. Ringos hat work here is fantastic. Love the bass and Pauls voice. 0:34 Johns voice cracks when he comes in with the falsetto. It cracks doing the same thing later in the song too. Guitar tone is great and along with the strong solo is one of my favorite instances of the electric guitar with the Beatles. 1:32 the background ‘Ooooo’s’ are stellar. 2:06 love how Pauls singing as if he’s almost pleading his case. Like theres a bit of urgency to get his point across. Great song in my opinion.

She’s Leaving Home - Another song I like a lot, but I’m not really sure it fits well within the context of the album. It never bothered me before, but it was something I thought about today. The harp in the beginning is nice. Pauls voice is pleasant enough. Strings are wonderful (thanks Mike Leander). 0:50 What a falsetto only to be matched at the 1:01 mark. This is why I think Paul had more range than John. 3:02 the violin plays a few drawn out notes here. Fantastic and a highlight for me. Johns ‘Bye Bye’s’ throughout are awesome. Another great song with a nice story to go along with it. Well, a pretty depressing story actually, but you get my drift.

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite - I always had fun singing along to this song. Ringos hi hat splashes are great. Bass is very cool. Johns storytelling voice is nice and sounds good. 0:29 echo effect on the backgrounds comes in and is super cool. 1:00 dig the organ and carnival sounds. Wonder what other bands were thinking when they first listened to this? 1:16 the guitar solo or note picking here is awesome. The ending of the song is sweet to with the abrupt ending. Good song.

Within You Without You - Ok, as everyone knows, I’m not the fondest of Georges Indian music. This song fits on this album though. It has the psychedelic sound and emotion that makes it ok to be here. 0:18 the harp strum is cool. Georges eerie voice works very well. Like the constant beat throughout. 1:11 strings come in and sound nice. 2:42 Love the high notes being plucked here by the strings. 3:04 three sharp sitar notes being played is the highlight of the song for me. I always listen to that part. 3:43 you can hear George or somebody counting in. Cool. Like I said, the song works for this album, but I’m still not a fan.

When I’m 64 - And here it is, the thorn of the album. I love Pauls music, I really do, but this shouldn’t be here. Its like a wart on a supermodel. It doesn’t belong. The sad thing is I like the song well enough, but not here. Regardless, the bass does sound good. 0:39 like the backgrounds coming in with the ‘Ooooo’s’. How cant you like Mal Evans on the bell? Ringo plays very well here. Stop and give him a close listen. Very nice. Piano sounds good. 1:55 sounds like a kids flute being played. Never noticed it before. 2:10 a guitar comes in. I never noticed that before either. I have to ask, what is the instrument being played that sounds like an instrument from the 20’s? Take the first 10 seconds of the song and its being played there plain as day. Oboe maybe? I never really wondered before today. Don’t know how to judge this song. Its done well and may have scored better if it wasn’t on this record.

Lovely Rita - My favorite song on the record and a top 10 of mine from their entire catalog. Love the guitar in the opening. Does John do the opening ‘Ahhh’s’ here? Sounds like him to me. Bass is awesome. 0:21 short ‘Ah’ in the background (John I think) and then at 0:24 theres a short ‘Oh’ (which sounds like George). Cool. Pauls voice sounds fantastic. 0:27 kazoo buildup? That’s what it sounds like to me. 0:31 theres a noise like a zipper being zipped really fast. That’s the only way I can explain it. Never heard it before. Mal on the bell again. 0:41 dig the background chugging. 0:55 John and George singing lovely Rita in the background is great. Piano solo is top notch. 1:38 love the part where Paul sings ‘Sitting on a sofa with a sister or two’ and the backgrounds sing ‘Ohhhhh’ as if to express the frustration. Awesome. 1:55 Pauls goes and sings different things all over the place. Neat. The ending is too much. Its as if Pauls going to explode. Is it frustration or relief? I’m sure you all understand. Awesome song in my opinion.

Good Morning Good Morning - I guess they say that John got this idea by reading the back of a cereal box? Makes sense. I like the frantic pace the song takes on. Johns voice is outstanding. Really dig Ringo ending the bars with the tom and crash at the same time. 0:42 speaking of Ringo, his double time on the hi hats here is nothing short of genius.  Changes the entire song at that point. 0:44 is this the first instance of rapping in popular music? Love, love the guitar solo. Sounds like McCartney though. Did Paul do this one? 1:34 three lead guitar notes is my favorite part of the song. Ringo does some sweet fills during the ending along with the animal noises. Decent song. I like it.

Sgt. Pepper Reprise - Going back to the concept idea that’s already been lost. Whatever, it’s a decent rocker anyways. The lead guitar coming off the rooster crow is awesome. Pauls count in is cool. 0:03 John says either bye or five. Neat. Guitar tone is good. Love the backgrounds but I hear Johns voice more than the others. Ringo does great. Nice fills. Bass drives the song. Nice short little rocker.

A Day In The Life - Many consider this to be the Beatles magnum opus. Who am I to disagree? The acoustic in the beginning is nice. Piano and bass sound great. Ringos drumming is top notch and this is easily one of his greatest drumming songs ever. Johns voice may never have sounded better. 1:44 the huge build up with the Mal Evans count in is cool. 2:18 Paul counts in with a quick 1, 2, 3, 4. Bongos in the middle section are nice and something I never really noticed before. Speaking of the middle section, its not my favorite. Its ok and changes the pace of the song, but maybe its because its not as good as Johns part. I don’t know. 2:49 Johns ’Ahhhh’s’ always got to me. Powerful. Bobber can post the link to Al’s Ahhh thread because I’m not getting into that argument. I always thought it was John and I’m sticking to it. 5:10 I like the tape loop even if it did scare the sh*t out of me when I was younger and stoned listening to this. Great song. Masterpiece? I don’t know. You be the judge.


Well, in closing, I love Sgt. Peppers. I think the Beatles went nuts and pushed the studio to the edge with some of the things they were trying. It worked. If Revolver blew the minds of other bands, Sgt. Pepper probably caused a good many of them to give up. Was it music or was it art? A little of both I would imagine. I’ve always said, if they would have chucked ‘Within You Without You’ and ‘When I’m 64’ and added ‘Strawberry Fields’ and ‘Penny Lane’, this is easily the greatest album ever in popular music. In closing you can see even more growth from Revolver to here and I don’t think they ever topped this creative pinnacle again.

One other thing I noticed. Although this is a heavily weighed Paul album, it seems that Johns efforts stick out more. LSD is a legendary Beatle track, ADITL is considered their masterpiece, while BFTBOMK is the strangest thing they did to date. I don’t know, it just seems that Pauls tunes don’t hold up as well although he had more to say.

Hello Goodbye

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2011, 11:33:52 PM »

You all have to remember that I was just 17 years old when I heard the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album on its release.  So I was a little young and susceptible at the time.  Psychedelia frightened me and I gravitated towards Paul's songs. 

Fixing A Hole - I liked this song the most and it remains my favorite song on this album.  I liked Sir George Martin's harpsichord intro and its use as the primary rhythm instrument for this song.  Paul's bass is highlighted and rightfully so.  It's Paul playing bass at his very best.  George's lead guitar was strong and enjoyable because of its double-tracking.  And I like the "ooooh oooohs" harmony too.  The lyrics were just a bit psychedelic yet very tame.  And I really enjoyed Paul's double meaning of "If I'm wrong I'm right where I belong."  We would see Paul use trick lyrics like these a few more times in the future.
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stevie

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2011, 08:00:19 AM »

ADITL and LR are my 2 faves off Pepper.

I think the zipping sound in LR is the boys playing a comb and paper!!! They created these fab sound effects out of nothing a fair bit.

Its funny, and I think most fans will agree, but even though this album is the most influential in musical history, its fair to say it wouldn't be the most played on a regular basis by fans.  Does that make sense?
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2011, 08:19:22 AM »

Its funny, and I think most fans will agree, but even though this album is the most influential in musical history, its fair to say it wouldn't be the most played on a regular basis by fans.  Does that make sense?

Sure it makes sense. I probably play Abbey Road more than any other Beatle album, but its not as inventive or creative as Pepper. Revolver is my favorite album by them and I rarely ever play that one either. Always seems to be AR, White album, and Rubber Soul for some reason.

nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2011, 03:41:49 PM »

Sure it makes sense. I probably play Abbey Road more than any other Beatle album, but its not as inventive or creative as Pepper. Revolver is my favorite album by them and I rarely ever play that one either. Always seems to be AR, White album, and Rubber Soul for some reason.

tkitna in denial about which is his favourite  ha2ha
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In My Life

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2011, 05:53:52 PM »

ADITL and LR are my 2 faves off Pepper.

I think the zipping sound in LR is the boys playing a comb and paper!!! They created these fab sound effects out of nothing a fair bit.

Its funny, and I think most fans will agree, but even though this album is the most influential in musical history, its fair to say it wouldn't be the most played on a regular basis by fans.  Does that make sense?

You should read Geoff Emerick's book "Here, There and Everywhere" if you haven't. He talks about how the sound effects were created for many of the songs on the albums he worked on and they were very inventive. What they went through for the underwater singing effect in Yellow Submarine is a hilarious story.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2011, 04:09:49 PM by In My Life »
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Kelley

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2011, 11:59:10 AM »

sgt. pepper.....a really great album.i remember the first time i heard the title track and it blew my 13 year old ears away.probably the first album by any band to offer 'goodies', and a great album cover,and lyrics printed on the sleeve.if nothing else,it is the soundtrack to psychedelia,is it not?the title track is brilliant,'a little help from my friends' is good but i have never enjoyed it as much as other people seem to.'lucy in the sky with diamonds' is good but again,everyone says how amazing the track is,it seems to knock some of the gloss off it for me.'getting better' and 'fixing a hole' are two of my personal faves from the paul cannon,'she's leaving home' is the black sheep on the album.not beatley at all,but a lovely song nevertheless.'being for the benefit' is john's usual freak out,'within you without you' is fine-georges' usual indian freakout,'when i'm 64' is lovely rooty-tooty music with lovely light and shade,very interesting.'lovely rita' is awesome with some sounds in there that are outstanding.'good morning good morning' is my fave john track on the album,the different time signitures really make the tune stand out for me.'sgt pepper reprise' fits lovely going into 'a day in the life', and what can you say about that song?sgt.pepper isn't my favourite album,but you cannot deny it at all.when you stand back and view it, it is an outstanding collection of songs,and it really does offer something new and 'keeps giving'.mind you,i never liked the taches.
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2011, 12:30:00 AM »

tkitna in denial about which is his favourite  ha2ha


You might be right.

Nah, the fact is that I dont listen to Beatle albums very often anymore and when I do, its usually because i'm pointing something out to someone.

In My Life

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2011, 01:05:27 AM »

The first time I listened to this album as an adult I was struck by the thought that so many of the songs just lend themselves well to a little soft-shoe routine.  ;) They make me happy when I listen to them but then there is also the stuff that balances out the lightness. That's what makes this a great album, IMHO.
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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2011, 06:49:16 AM »

You might be right.

Nah, the fact is that I dont listen to Beatle albums very often anymore and when I do, its usually because i'm pointing something out to someone.


 ha2ha

great review of Pepper mate, I enjoyed reading that..
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Bobber

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2011, 09:18:32 AM »



She’s Leaving Home - Strings are wonderful (thanks again George Martin).

Actually the strings were arranged by Mike Leander.
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Bobber

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2011, 09:29:18 AM »


When I'm 64 - I have to ask, what is the instrument being played that sounds like an instrument from the 20’s? Take the first 10 seconds of the song and its being played there plain as day. Oboe maybe?

Two clarinets and one bass clarinet were used. Agree wholeheartedly with you about this song. I believe it would have worked better as a b-side to Penny Lane. Strawberry Fields Forever could have been put on the album then.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 09:46:38 AM by Bobber »
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Bobber

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2011, 09:42:28 AM »

Good Morning Good Morning -  Love, love the guitar solo. Sounds like McCartney though. Did Paul do this one?

Correct.

Quote

A Day In The Life -  2:49 Johns ’Ahhhh’s’ always got to me. Powerful. Bobber can post the link to Al’s Ahhh thread because I’m not getting into that argument. I always thought it was John and I’m sticking to it.



My pleasure: http://www.dmbeatles.com/forums/index.php?topic=2065.0
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2011, 10:03:29 AM »

Actually the strings were arranged by Mike Leander.

See, you learn something new everyday. Thanks Cor.

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2011, 06:17:19 PM »

When I'm Sixty-Four - Here's another song on the album that I really like.  And it didn't frighten me either the first time I heard it.  ;)  Paul's voice did sound a bit sped up to me and I always wondered why.  Years ago, I purchased the complete set of "The Alternate Beatles" CD albums on the Pear label.  The Alternate Yellow Submarine album included the alternate stereo mix of When I'm Sixty-Four running at its correct speed.



This is from Wikipedia:

The song is in the key of D-flat major. The Beatles recorded the song in C major but the master take was sped up in order to raise the key by one semitone at the insistence of McCartney. Martin remembers that McCartney suggested this change in order to make his voice sound younger. McCartney says, "I wanted to appear younger, but that was just to make it more rooty-tooty; just lift the key because it was starting to sound turgid."


And here's When I'm Sixty-Four recorded at its original speed in C major...

When I'm Sixty Four original (In the key of C major)

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Bobber

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2011, 08:23:23 PM »

When I'm Sixty-Four - Paul's voice did sound a bit sped up to me and I always wondered why. 

I always thought it was because we didn't have to listen to it for a longer time.
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2011, 11:30:36 PM »

I always thought it was because we didn't have to listen to it for a longer time.

 ;D

But I still like it a lot, even in C major.  I guess I'm old fashioned.

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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2011, 11:50:33 PM »

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - As tkitna said, it's a great opener.  Close your eyes and listen to this song to see the setting and who and what you're about to hear.  I always wondered what the audience was laughing about.  I guess I was too engrossed in the experience and missed something.

I've always felt this album sounds best in mono.  I bought the mono Capitol version when it was released and so that's what I grew up with.  It was appropriate that Parlophone released their Beatles CD catalog starting with Sgt. Pepper's on the twentieth anniversary of the LP realease..."it was twenty years ago today..."

When I bought the CD, it was in stereo and I was disappointed with the sound.  It took another 22 years until Apple released the mono set.  Now I can finally give my turntable a rest!
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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2011, 12:38:43 AM »

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) - The Reprise sounds a bit different in mono with more audience sounds at the lead-in, and again that burst of laughter.  Paul is heard shouting in the background during the closing bars.  Just what is he shouting about anyway?  One can barely hear it in the stereo version.

I like the faster tempo and its march cadence.  I can't imagine a better transition to what follows.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Sgt. Peppers
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2011, 01:24:27 AM »

This album really changed everything. It wasn't a true concept album, but it changed the concept of what an album was. Although I prefer Rubber Soul and Revolver, I think that here there're not fillers as in those albums, or maybe it's just an illusion that gives the way each song was carefully produced. But as I don't find any weak song in Sgt. Pepper's, I neither find as many truly great songs as in Rubber Soul and Revolver. And that was the change produced by this record, everybody started to think about albums as a whole and not about songs individually. And actually, as much as I enjoy Sgt. Pepper's, I think that this change was not for good, because I enjoy more the individuality of a great song than an album as if it was one long song. Before Sgt. Pepper's the albums usually had fillers because all the forces were mainly put in those great songs, but after it the albums replaced the singles. I guess it's no coincidence that all my favourite bands appeared on the scene before Sgt. Pepper's was released; but I don't blame the Beatles, someone had to do that soon or later.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 01:26:27 AM by Hombre_de_ningun_lugar »
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