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Is Sgt. Pepper...´ Over-Rated?

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oldbrownshoe:
Thirty years ago I'd probably have said 'Yes', but in 2013 I think the answer is 'No, Sgt. Pepper's is actually slightly underrated'.
That said, it's not a record I return to too often, having last listened to it on the 40th anniversary in 2007.

NYSPORTSFAN:
Revolver was notable for experimenting with Eastern influences, tape loops, sampling, backward music, baroque pop sections, and rougher guitar parts. You have to remember this was 1966 and this was before The Doors or Pink Floyd had recorded their debut albums

One common criticism of Sgt. Pepper that this album was released after albums like Absolutely Free, Velvet Underground or Younger Than Yesterday which of course did nothing on the pop charts. This of course does nothing to tarnish Sgt. Peppers influence as none of the albums mentioned have hardly anything in common with Sgt. Pepper.

In reality Sgt. Pepper combines many of Revolver musical experimentations with bombastic presentation and its focus on recurring melodies and fanfares creating an album unlike any before which in turn influenced everything from prog rock to Brit-pop

The gatefold album cover to the lyrics on the inside sleeve and cover art featuring iconic movie stars and other famous people with the Beatles dressed in their band costumes

The influence of Sgt. Peppers on the progressive rock movement extends past rock heavy weight bands Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd, King Crimson, to a lot of contemporary progressive rock bands today. The biographical elements of Big Big Train's English Electric parts 1 and 2 and use of brass instruments on these albums hacks back to the Sgt. Peppers album. The Flower Kings suite, Garden of Dreams, on the album Flower Power, has an orchestral intro at the start and then is reprised near the end of the suite. The silence at the end of A Day in the Life followed by the voice loop just when you think the song is finished inspired many bands to use voices, as effects, in their songs.

Moogmodule:
At the risk of sounding pompous so early in my time on this forum, I view pepper now as a bit like what Falstaff was to Verdi. Verdi had much bigger "hits" and the lack of standout arias in Falstaff means its not as popularly well regarded as his other more famous operas. But it's artistic merit shines through via short passages in ensembles and snatches of great moments. Similarly the songs on Pepper don't always seem to rise to great heights. Except for A Day in the Life of course, which is magnificent.  But there are great moments distributed throughout the album. The song structures and harmonics are varied on each song, while not having necessarily the easier hooks of previous works.  The production gives it a sense of cohesiveness. In that sense Pepper is one album where the individual songs don't work as well as individual songs off other albums. I tend to listen to Pepper as a whole. To me it sounds different to any other Beatle album and I disagree with John that you could have taken any song off it and put it on any other album.

The mix of styles from the more trippy Lucy in the Sky to the music hall When I'm 64 remind me of old talk shows that might have Paul Anka singing one minute then Led Zeppelin. It was meant to cover the entertainment waterfront.

Still not my favourite Beatles album. But I think in reacting against overrating it we don't want to underrate it either.

In My Life:

--- Quote from: Moogmodule on December 16, 2013, 11:41:40 AM ---The mix of styles from the more trippy Lucy in the Sky to the music hall When I'm 64 remind me of old talk shows that might have Paul Anka singing one minute then Led Zeppelin. It was meant to cover the entertainment waterfront.

--- End quote ---

Well put!

Kangaroo Kev:
Good post moogmodule :-)

i think musically musically it is slightly over rated in that the songs are not the best of the beatles but as an event and a statement it was huge at the time so in that respect it was not over rated

I don't agree they invented talking on records things like that, George Martin had been doing that for years, they nicked  a lot of ideas from less successful people but people gave them credit for inventing everything, that wasn't they're fault

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