Why Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was a decisive moment for Western civilisation
One of the more surprising figures on the cover — top left, between Lenny Bruce and W C Fields — is Karlheinz Stockhausen, whose avant-garde compositions, especially his electronic music, had recently begun to fascinate McCartney.
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has what is probably the most famous record cover in history, yet its really significant feature was not the photography on the front, but the words on the rear.
Today we take such documentation for granted, but Sgt Pepper was the first pop album to publish its song lyrics in this manner, and the implication is obvious: the Beatles expected their new record to be listened to with the same kind of attention commonly given to classical music.
In 1963, their first album, Please Please Me, had been recorded in a little under 10 hours; Sgt Pepper took 129 days.
The Beatles now required a correspondingly greater investment of time and effort from their listeners.
I know that many people around the world grew up with the Beetles as did I. My first concert, my first album, my first rock movie all were the Beetles. I remember vowing to myself that I was not going to scream like those silly other girls did. I found myself screaming along with every other teen in the venue. It was hypnotic and no one could respond in any other way. At least I have never known anyone who confessed to different behavior.
I have been to many rock concerts since those days. I have seen George Harrison, may he rest in peace, and Paul McCartney in concert. Ringo please come to Asheville, NC. I feel that musically we have lived in a magic age that found its roots in the 60’s revolution and then blosssomed out and created a garden full of amazing composers, singers and musicians. I wish to thank them all for providing the soundtrack of my life.