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 again George Martin). 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.