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Author Topic: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.  (Read 4891 times)

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Kevin

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If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« on: August 13, 2008, 02:38:37 PM »

I know "what if" threads are fraught with danger, but here goes. I think a lot about 66, especially after someone (when talking about Paul's "death" ) described it as their highpoint. But in many ways it was their nadir (some of these points I've raised before, so excuse the repitition). This is all from a 66/67 perspective. No hindsight allowed.
1. In the US concert numbers down (20% for Shea).
2. Paranoia, bad reactions and exhaustion force them off the road.
3. Paperback Writer worst performing (by Beatle standards) single since 63 (didn't go straight to #1 and "only" stayed their for 2 weeks.)
4. No followup single, so forced for 1st time to release album tracks.
5. Revolver was their worst performing album, and I think I'm right in saying it recieved only lukewarm reviews (no one seemed to understand their change of direction).
6. No traditional 2nd album, so forced to release another greatest hits package.
7. Constant rumours that the band was on the verge of splitting.
8. Next single first since Love Me Do not to hit number one.

It must have seemed at the time that the band were running out of steam and ideas. But then came Pepper, a new myth had been created to replace the Beatlemania  and hey ho off they went.
Stop the clock. Paul doesn't come up with the Pepper idea. Release instead A Dolls House, with SFF replacing Sgt Pepper and Penny Lane replacing the reprise.
What do we have? Revolver part 2: an Indian track (WYWY), a horn based track (Good Morning etc), a Lennon freak out at the end, a social commentary song (She's Leaving Home for Eleanor Rigby) and a Ringo comedy song. It would have been no worse, but definately no better than Revolver. And no new personna. "Just" a band putting out an album of very good songs, but lets face it, by then so were a lot of people. It was good, but just more of the same. Could argue that the actual standard of music was, overall, inferior to Revolver
A lot of Peppers success (imo) had more to do with the supposed "concept" and the mystique it created than the actual music. Without that surge of popularity Pepper created, just when the band appeared to be near it's end. maybe the post Beatlemania story would be a whole lot different.
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Geoff

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2008, 03:34:54 PM »

I agree: Pepper gave the Beatles an image makeover that put them in sync with the then-emerging rock culture. Without that, they might have remained stuck with their 1964 moptop / pop persona and become quite passe within a couple of years. Perhaps the real test of the Beatles' value as musicians and songwriters will come after rock itself has finally faded into history.
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alexis

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2008, 05:13:49 PM »

Quote from: 1161
I agree: Pepper gave the Beatles an image makeover that put them in sync with the then-emerging rock culture. Without that, they might have remained stuck with their 1964 moptop / pop persona and become quite passe within a couple of years. Perhaps the real test of the Beatles' value as musicians and songwriters will come after rock itself has finally faded into history.


But will it ever? People still say Mozart and Beethoven were great, and one can still listen to their music live or buy recordings of it. I hope and expect that rock and roll will be the same. Lennon and McCartney will be Mozart to the Stone's Salieri!

But back to the original thesis that Pepper gave the Beatles a great shot in the arm - I agree 100%, at least from what I can tell so many years later. But do I think the music probably WAS a huge factor in it. I don't think anyone had ever to that point produced songs like George Martin did on SPLHCB, listening to the record in 1967 must have seemed like it was a gift from advanced space aliens. And the songs on the album were in general superb - Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds, A Day in the Life as the great standouts.

For me, at least as of now, the concept aspect of the album doesn't even register much (as a matter of fact, that part seems pretty weakly done), but the other parts of the album make it fantastic. Just my two cents/pence worth - thanks!
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Alexis

HeatherBoo

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2008, 12:58:52 AM »

I agree with Geoff.  I think that album really showed the world that they could remain a great band, going along with the changing time and sounds.  Alot of bands cannot pull this off.  Once they hit it big with a certain type of sound and era, many times they are unable to remain "hip or cool", if you know what I mean.  
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DaveRam

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2008, 10:01:51 PM »

It's a snappy album title, thats for sure , and it's lasted .
Not much of a concept album though .
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Kevin

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2008, 08:28:31 AM »

Quote from: 971
.
Not much of a concept album though .

I agree, but I think the crucial thing is at the time people thought it was. It created a new aura for the band.
You can count the British Invasion bands that made it past 66 on one hand (or maybe a bit of two.). I think even without Pepper The Beatles would have escaped their mop top image, but still would have "just" been another band making good records, not the mystic guru's of a generation. (poncy tosser that I am.)
To continue the digression I'm not sure that in two hundred years The Beatlers will be the Mozarts of their day. The continued appeal of classical musical is much to do with its timelessness. Popular music is a fickle thing, and I'm inclined to think they'll be regarded more as the inheritors of Gilbert & Sullivan and Gershwin (which is no mean feat)
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BlueMeanie

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2008, 08:45:10 AM »

Quote from: 185
To continue the digression I'm not sure that in two hundred years The Beatlers will be the Mozarts of their day. The continued appeal of classical musical is much to do with its timelessness. Popular music is a fickle thing, and I'm inclined to think they'll be regarded more as the inheritors of Gilbert & Sullivan and Gershwin (which is no mean feat)

There's been a growing interest in other more obscure bands from the 60's, and these are increasingly becoming more 'credible' in some peoples minds, particularly those non-Beatles fans. I know several people - myself included - who think that the best album recorded in '67 was The Pretty Things 'SF Sorrow'. Coincidentally recorded at more or less the same time - and at Abbey Road -  as Pepper, and produced by Norman Smith. The other album worth mentioning here, that was also recorded at Abbey Road at the same time is 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn'. Both that and SF Sorrow far more epitomise the era to me than Pepper does. And both Syd Barrett and Phil May really do make Lennon/McCartney seem like the Gilbert & Sullivan of their day.
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Bobber

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2008, 11:46:11 AM »

I think Sgt Pepper gave The Beatles a chance to re-invent themselves. On the other hand, the band virtually broke up after the release of the album. Of course there was MMT and the White Album, but certainly the latter is more a collection of solosongs rather than a group effort.
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Kevin

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2008, 12:57:04 PM »

Quote from: 63
I think Sgt Pepper gave The Beatles a chance to re-invent themselves. On the other hand, the band virtually broke up after the release of the album. Of course there was MMT and the White Album, but certainly the latter is more a collection of solosongs rather than a group effort.

True. We probably shouldn't bemoan the 69/70 breakup but celebrate the fact they survived as long as they did.
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Kevin

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2008, 01:13:16 PM »

Quote from: 483

There's been a growing interest in other more obscure bands from the 60's, and these are increasingly becoming more 'credible' in some peoples minds, particularly those non-Beatles fans. I know several people - myself included - who think that the best album recorded in '67 was The Pretty Things 'SF Sorrow'. Coincidentally recorded at more or less the same time - and at Abbey Road -  as Pepper, and produced by Norman Smith. The other album worth mentioning here, that was also recorded at Abbey Road at the same time is 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn'. Both that and SF Sorrow far more epitomise the era to me than Pepper does. And both Syd Barrett and Phil May really do make Lennon/McCartney seem like the Gilbert & Sullivan of their day.

While I initially decried it I think song for song Love's "Forever Changes" is an excellent album, though it does lack a standout track like A Day In The Life (which I adore). And a thousand brownie points for including the immortal line "Oh the snot has caked against my pants.."
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fendertele

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2008, 02:17:41 PM »

Quote from: 483

There's been a growing interest in other more obscure bands from the 60's, and these are increasingly becoming more 'credible' in some peoples minds, particularly those non-Beatles fans. I know several people - myself included - who think that the best album recorded in '67 was The Pretty Things 'SF Sorrow'. Coincidentally recorded at more or less the same time - and at Abbey Road -  as Pepper, and produced by Norman Smith. The other album worth mentioning here, that was also recorded at Abbey Road at the same time is 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn'. Both that and SF Sorrow far more epitomise the era to me than Pepper does. And both Syd Barrett and Phil May really do make Lennon/McCartney seem like the Gilbert & Sullivan of their day.

yeah it seems cooler to be a kinks fan, which most non beatles fans seem to say when you ask them who is there fave 60's band, followed by the The Who, with The Stones and The Beatles coming in last.
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Mairi

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2008, 02:35:30 PM »

^This is probably an indie kid snobbery thing. Just say you like whichever band is least popular, because that way you won't be following the masses. I can say this because I have indulged in indie kid snobbery from time to time.

As for Sgt. Pepper's, I do agree that it really heightened the public's opinion of the Beatles and defintely put them square in the middle of the "counter-culture" spirit that was around all the time. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this correctly, but Pepper's was like a total clean slate, it's like they were a new band, whereas Revover was just adding to their previous image.
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Jane

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2008, 08:21:27 PM »

I don`t think that any other band from the 60s will stand out as high as the Beatles do, no matter what non-Beatles fans say or do. The simple reason is that it`s too late to rewrite the 60s history and try to push some other pop-bands up. You may know some of them but the rest of the world doesn`t know the other bands that well and won`t start to listen to them now to be able to appreciate them to greatness 50 years later. For example, few know the Kinks ( I even think nobody beyond the anglo-saxon world), all have heard of the Who and have listened to 1-2 songs but nobody knows much about the group ( except their fans, of course) And it concerns any other band of the 60s. Except the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and some other well-promoted ones, but these are rock.  So, it`s too late, the word has been said. No Kinks, no Monkeys, no Shadows, no Moody Blues and the such.  
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Geoff

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2008, 12:40:47 PM »

Quote from: 185
To continue the digression I'm not sure that in two hundred years The Beatlers will be the Mozarts of their day. The continued appeal of classical musical is much to do with its timelessness. Popular music is a fickle thing, and I'm inclined to think they'll be regarded more as the inheritors of Gilbert & Sullivan and Gershwin (which is no mean feat)

I'm not sure either. I suspect that rock music will have its place among antiquarians with an interest in twentieth century popular music, but as a whole the genre is too purely adolescent to outlast the age that produced it. If the Beatles are to survive, they probably will have to be taken out of the rock context and placed within the broader spectrum of twentieth century music, and putting them in a line that included Gilbert and Sullivan or Gershwin wouldn't surprise me, although I'm hardly the guy to say. As for that now not uncommon comparison to Mozart... ouch. I understand why people see a similarity, but the level of achievement is just not the same.
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fendertele

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2008, 05:44:40 PM »

Also with Popular music you can almost instantly recognize what decade, style even where it originates from just by listening to certain production techniques or instruments sounds.

you can tell when a Stock, Aitken and waterman song is on just by the sound of the Drum machine thats is used in every song they released and the same goes with The Beatles and any other popular band/artist.

I'm not a huge Fan of Classical music so it may just be me, but when i listen to a Mozart piece or piece by a modern composer apart from them being different songs, you don't think mozart is so last century and this is the now, you just hear the same sound but different noted with maybe slight variations and techniques thrown in but nothing drastic.

But there are so many different genres in pop that even if youre a fan Alt-rock it doesnt make you a lover of all popular music, but with Classical although there are different genres within Classical it still stays pretty close to the original sound.?

So what im trying to say is CLassical music will never sound dated as it has never been associated with a certain time, where as the beatles could end up soundign very dated in the future with all the changes in music that is happening.
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Jane

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2008, 07:59:26 PM »

But the classical music hasn`t survived in its classical form as well. It has changed too. And what will become of it in 100 years? Everything is changing: classical music, pop music etc. Classical music is also dated, one can always say to which half century it belongs.
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Bobber

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2008, 12:49:25 PM »

Quote from: 1393
Classical music is also dated, one can always say to which half century it belongs.

But it's still here.
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Jane

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2008, 05:11:57 PM »

The fact is that the Beatles music has become classical. I hear people saying: The Beatles they are classical! I think they will survive, when the rest of the bands have vanished into thin air, all of them, even Led Zeppelin, Queen, Rolling Stones...
Another thing is that typical classical music will transform into something as well...
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fendertele

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2008, 05:48:08 PM »

Quote from: 1393
Another thing is that typical classical music will transform into something as well...

we'll if it will, it is taking its time about it lol, and i think they are classic but not classical
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Jane

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Re: If Paul hadn't thought of Sgt Pepper.
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2008, 05:59:49 PM »

Classic or classical? There are so many definitions of these words. Maybe both, classic and classical?
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