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  #1  
Old 06-01-2007, 10:54 AM
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You Say It's Your Birthday...Well Happy Birthday To You



It was 40 years ago today...
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  #2  
Old 06-01-2007, 10:57 AM
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Exclamation "It Was Forty Years Ago Today..." Dept. (Milestone Beatles Sprout)

"...Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play..."


Quote:
"Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band didn't start out life as a 'concept album' but it very soon developed a life of its own. I remember it warmly, as both a tremendous challenge and a highly rewarding experience. For me, it was the most innovative and trend-setting record of its time." - George Martin.

"I was aware that new things were happening," says George Martin, "and I was very excited about it. I loved what the Beatles were doing and I was saying to them 'Let's have another session. Come up with more of these great ideas!'"

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was the Beatles' eighth album in a little over four years, release (unusually, on a Thursday) just a few days short of the fifth anniversary of the group's test/audition at Abbey Road studios. It would scarcely be an exaggeration to say that millions of words have been written about the LP, almost every one fulsome in its praise. But what surely stands out most of all is the Beatles' sheer progression to this point in time.

Here were four musicians, raw and inexperienced in June 1962, changing popular music right about face by June 1967. With their astonishing fame, respect and talent the Beatles made Sgt. Pepper in a heady atmosphere when, to use the cliche, they could do no wrong, and at a time when they could do virtually anything and suceed. Paul McCartney conducting a 40-piece orchestra? No problem!

"There's one thing they always used to say," remembers Phil McDonald. "'There's no such word as can't . What do you mean can't ?' The word just wasn't in their vocabulary. There was always a way around any problem. If they had an idea - any idea - they thought it must be possible to do it. That's how Sgt. Pepper was recorded."

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band typifies the year of 1967 and, as such, must rank as a masterpiece, for surely the prime objective for any piece of music is that it captures the time of its recording. Part of the reason for this may be that 1967, in turn, influenced Sgt. Pepper itself. The clothes worn by the Beatles at the sessions would have made a splendid fashion parade.

Drugs - the Beatles were using them more frequently during the recording of Sgt. Pepper than at any other time - also played a major role, expanding the imagination of four already very creative people. There was even psychedelic lighting inside studio two at Abbey Road, installed at the direct request of the Beatles. Well, sort of psychedelic anyway...

"By 1967 the Beatles had become a little bit fed up with studio two at Abbey Road," says Geoff Emerick. "They'd been there for five years, with the plain plaster walls, wooden floor and the huge acoustic sheeting which hangs down there, full of dried seaweed! And the big white lamps in the ceiling were just too much. They asked if the studio could install some psychedelic lighting. Later that same day someone [studio electrician Harry Monk] came along and installed this strange contraption: three five-foot red fluorescent tubes on a microphone stand. I had a lava lamp and a red darkroom lamp at home so I brought them in to brighten up the control room. Then one of the Beatles brought in a stroboscope. I don't suppose they knew that strobes can have a dangerous effect if they're left on too long. Sure enough, after about five minutes of fun they all sat down feeling sick!"

Keith Slaughter has an amusing postscript to this story. "George Harrison came into studio two at Abbey Road quite recently (1986) . He came up the stairs and said 'It's just like last time we worked here'. As he was saying this he saw the fluorescent tubes and really burst out laughing, saying 'They're really still here!'"

Had the Abbey Road studio personnel been given annual report cards like school student, a number would have been branded 'abuse of equipment', for in their efforts to innovate at the direct request of the Beatles, people often fell foul of the unwritten studio rules.

Geoff Emerick vividly recalls one occasion. "John wanted a really unusual vocal sound so I suspended a very thin condenser microphone tied in a plastic bag inside a milk bottle filled with water. Lennon was singing at the top of his voice at this bottle when the studio manager came in. 'What's that noise? How are you getting that?' I was terrified! We both stood around the bottle, shoulders at all angles, trying to hide it.

"The Beatles would say 'We don't want the piano to sound like a piano, we want it to sound like a guitar. But we then want the guitar to sound like a piano.' We used to sit there thinking 'Well why play the wretched thing in the first place?' And we never had the luxury of 1980s gimmick boxes then, just ordinary tape machines."

Jerry Boys, then a tape operator at Abbey Road, now a studio manager in his own right, sums up Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band from a technical standpoint. "If you listen to the album, there are noises which are still impossible to make, even with today's computerised 48-track equipment and all the mimcrochips imaginable. It's a very very clever record. In terms of creative use of recording it has been on of the major steps forward."

George Martin, Geoff Emerick and others involved on the production side of Sgt. Pepper were understandably aggrieved when they later read a John Lennon interview slating the LP. "John later said he thought Pepper was a terrible album," says Geoff Emerick. "He said something like 'We don't want to make another album like that rubbish!' which was a ridiculous comment."

"John told me he was never satisfied with anything he'd done, Beatles or solo," says George Martin. "In one interview [ Rolling Stone 1970, published 1971] he was vicious to everybody, including me, for which I hardly ever forgave him. It was completely unwarranted. I met him in Hollywood in 1974 and spent an evening with him. I said 'I don't know if you want to see me, John' and he replied 'Oh, come on George! I was out of my head when I said a lot of those things. Take no notice of what I said.' It was a kind of apology which I was grateful for. But John was a strange person and he did change enormously from the early days."

Quality and value for money were much on the Beatles' mind when Sgt. Pepper was issued. The record came in what was then a very novel, deluxe colour sleeve, with free cardboard cut-outs and the song lyrics printed in full - a first.

The Beatles also posed for a special poster issued by their fan club and even had the publisher of their official monthly magazine use colour for the first time. And the Beatles insisted that the album be issued identically all over the world, even in the USA where Capitol Records fell into corporate line with the UK on a Beatles album for the first time.

At one point Sgt. Pepper was even going to be pressed on coloured vinyl, recalls Tony Bramwell. "It would have been like one of those children's records from Woolworth's, with the splattered colours." Bramwell also remembers the original workng title of the LP: "'One Down, Six To Go', a joky reference to the new contract with EMI."

It is a contentious point that Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band represented the Beatles' last real united push behind a project, and their last truly creative offering. Certainly after the LP had been completed the Beatles' recordings - throughout the remainder of April, all of May and early June, for example - did display a startling lack of cohesion and enthusiasm, as though they had injected their all into Sgt. Pepper and now wanted to take things easy.

On this day, 1 June 1967, perhaps the most celebrated day in their career, the Beatles went into the studio and recorded nothing but untitled, unplanned, highly tedious and - frankly - downright amateurish instrumental jams, with a bass guitar, an organ, lead guitar with reverb, guitar strings being scraped, drums and tambourine. The single-minded channelling of their great talent so evident on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band did seem, for the moment, to have diappeared.

- Mark Lewishon "The Beatles Recording Sessions"

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  #3  
Old 06-01-2007, 10:59 AM
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beat you by 3 minutes fanof...merged thread...
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  #4  
Old 06-01-2007, 11:08 AM
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"Missed It By THAT Much!" Dept.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vtred
beat you by 3 minutes fanof...merged thread...

Ahhh...I thought their was a spanner in the works, so I just re-posted it.

Good work, Vinnie!

I'll delete the second effort.
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  #5  
Old 06-01-2007, 11:16 AM
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"Fun Aloud" Dept.

Just got an e-mail from The Beatles ("we're just friends, actually") about this very subject.

Here's a some links to check out:

www.thebeatles.com:80/

www.myspace.com/thebeatles

www.youtube.com/thebeatlesofficial
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  #6  
Old 06-01-2007, 11:24 AM
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"Woke Up, Got Out Of Bed..." Dept.

On WFUV (90.7 FM) and www.wfuv.org throughout the day they are celebrating the 40th anniversary; today at 2pm (EDT) is a special program, "The Two Sides of Sgt. Pepper".

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  #7  
Old 06-01-2007, 11:31 AM
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Here are some snippets from Richard Goldstein's review of Sgt. Pepper from June '67:
Quote:
The mood is mellow, even nostalgic. But, like the cover, the over-all effect is busy, hip, and cluttered
Quote:
Like an over-attended child "Sergeant Pepper" is spoiled. It reeks of horns and harps, harmonica quartets, assorted animal noises and a 41 piece orchestra.

On Harrison's lyrics on Within You and Without You:
Quote:
Dismal and dull, resurrects the very cliches the Beatles help bury. All the minor scales in the Orient wouldn't make it profound
Quote:
There is nothing beautiful on "Sergeant Pepper." Nothing is real and there is nothing to get hung about.
Quote:
What a shame that "A Day in the Life" is only a coda to an otherwise undistinguished collection of work.
Quote:
"She's Leaving Home is uninspired narrative and nothing more.

wow....
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  #8  
Old 06-01-2007, 11:40 AM
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"Who Knew?" Dept.

Reminds me of two scouts' assessments of a young pitcher who made his Major League debut 40 years ago, and never looked back:
Quote:
For instance, we surmise that Tom Seaver didn't become Tom Terrific until long after he left Fresno City College and Southern Cal.

One scout decided that Seaver had ''a chance to be a fair pitcher'' and was ''worth draft.'' Another, less overwhelmed, wrote, ''From his performance in this game, I could not consider him a prospect.''

From "Scouting Reports: The Original Reviews of Some of Baseball's Greatest Stars", by Stan Hart
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  #9  
Old 06-01-2007, 02:05 PM
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Thumbs up "Not To Be Anal" Dept:

On 06/01/67 it was twenty years ago, therefore it was 60 years ago today.
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  #10  
Old 06-01-2007, 02:15 PM
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"Is Anal Retentive Spelled With A Hyphen?" Dept.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empathetic Socialist
On 06/01/67 it was twenty years ago, therefore it was 60 years ago today.

Y'know, that thought occured to me an hour or so ago when I was driving home for lunch...40 years since the release, but 60 since he 'taught the band to play'.
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  #11  
Old 06-01-2007, 02:50 PM
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Post "The Fifth Estate On The Fab Four" Dept.

'Sgt. Pepper': It was 40 years ago today

By LINDSAY TOLER, Associated Press Writer

1 June 2007

LONDON - The Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight, the Fray and other popular rock groups have joined to record songs from "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in honor of Friday's 40th anniversary of the Beatles' epochal album.

During the special recording session, which airs on BBC Radio 2 on Saturday, musicians and audio engineer Geoff Emerick will work with the same equipment the Beatles used for their album.

"From a recording point of view, people have forgotten how groundbreaking it was given the recording technology at the time," said Jo Phillips, director of 10 Alps, the company commissioned to create the documentary. "Production capabilities were so limited. So much was up to the imagination of the producers."

It was the first British album done with eight-track recording, running a pair of four-track machines in synch.

"Sgt. Pepper" was recorded at the Abbey Road studio in London over more than 400 hours spanning 129 days, and was released on June 1, 1967.

Arriving on a wave of psychedelia in the so-called Summer of Love, the album was meant to be played and experienced from start to finish.

The band had tired of touring by the late 1960s — they had played their last live concert in San Francisco on Aug. 29, 1966 — and spent their time recording novel technical elements into the music, ushering in a new era both in their own music and in rock 'n' roll as a whole.

One music critic called the album "a decisive moment in the history of Western civilization."

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was treated as a real band, and the album cover art, designed by Peter Blake, shows the group presiding over the funeral of the Beatles surrounded by a congregation of pictures of famous figures such as Marlon Brando, Aldous Huxley, Oscar Wilde, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan and Karl Marx.

In 1968, "Sgt. Pepper" was the first pop album to win the Grammy award for album of the year. It also won best contemporary album.

Rolling Stone magazine placed the album in the No. 1 slot on their list of the 500 best albums of all time. Within (days) of its release, Jimi Hendrix was performing the title track in concert.

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  #12  
Old 06-01-2007, 04:23 PM
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"I Read Newsday Today, Oh Boy" Dept.

It Was 40 Years Ago…

No one outranks Sgt. Pepper


BY RAFER GUZMÁN
rafer.guzman@newsday.com

June 3, 2007

Every few years, rock critics like myself are asked to mark the anniversary of the greatest album of all time, The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." This year, with that classic disc reaching the ripe old age of 40, I had an idea: What better way to celebrate than to hear it the way it was meant to be heard - on vinyl, spinning atop a turntable?

In June 1967, when the album was released, that would have been a simple task. In 2007, however, it proved tricky. I had to make a few calls to find anyone who possessed the album, as opposed to the CD. I also had to hunt around for a turntable.

But with a little help from my friends, I succeeded - and on a warm night in late May, a group of folks gathered with me at Sabella Recording Studios in Roslyn Heights to take a journey with Lucy, Mr. Kite, Lovely Rita and the gang.

Our group ranged in age from early teens to mid-50s, providing a gamut of perspectives. Jim Sabella, 56, is the owner of Sabella Studios. John Sullivan, 43, a Garden City rock musician and novelist, brought the album, which he borrowed from a friend. Danny Ross, 22, is a budding pianist-songwriter from Melville. The youngest listener was Sullivan's 15-year-old son, Dylan, who had never heard "Sgt. Pepper's" at all.

We began by bombarding Dylan with Beatles trivia and discussing the album's backstory: In 1965, The Beatles' "Rubber Soul" lit a competitive spark in The Beach Boys, who actually held prayer sessions to ask God for an album as good. The result was their heady 1966 disc "Pet Sounds." That gave The Beatles an even higher hurdle to clear, and they did so with "Sgt. Pepper's," which was released in the United States on June 1, 1967.

We wondered why every concept album that came afterward, from Pink Floyd's "The Wall" to Green Day's "American Idiot," never surpassed "Sgt. Pepper's." We decided that The Beatles were not only brilliant, they were first.

Later bands outdid them in terms of complexity and technology, but there's no way to recreate the stunning impact of an innovation.

With that, Sabella plopped the disc onto a Thorens TD 165 turntable connected to a pair of Altec Big Red speakers, and we sat back to listen.

As the title track established the album's theme - a "concert" of sorts - Ross noted that this concept album doesn't have much of a concept. "Any of these songs could be on any of the other albums," he said. "But because they said, 'We're Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,' and because they were The Beatles, they got away with it."

Next came Ringo Starr singing the wry, slightly risque "With a Little Help From My Friends," followed by the foggy, dreamy "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." Ross, who had only heard the album on CD, had an epiphany: "There are some effects in here I've never heard before," he said, noting George Harrison's distorted guitar and John Lennon's hazy vocals.

We tapped our toes to "Getting Better," then drifted into "Fixing a Hole." Next came "She's Leaving Home," a poignant short story set to music. "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" didn't elicit many comments: Perhaps the song's circus motif, so popular in the psychedelic '60s, seemed dated. [On edit: Personally, this is my favorite track on the album]

And then Sabella did something many of us hadn't done in years, and others of us had never done at all: He picked up the album and flipped it over.

Now we discussed side two's opening track, Harrison's raga drone "Within You, Without You." I judged it a weak spot, but Sullivan disagreed: "This is like the intermission during the show when I go out and get my popcorn," he said. "Then I come back, and I'm ready for a whole new thing."

The mood shifted with the jaunty "When I'm Sixty-Four," followed by "Lovely Rita," with its intentionally wobbly piano lines. Sabella held up a finger: "Right here," he said, indicating the moment when the song switches from upbeat pop tune to bizarre sexual freak-out.

That led to "Good Morning Good Morning." We got a kick out the daffy animal noises and especially the last stray chicken-cluck that morphs into a guitar-squeal, kicking off the fast-moving reprise of the title track.

Then we braced ourselves for the existential grandeur of "A Day in the Life." Of the opening drumrolls, Ross whispered, "I get the chills every time." We fell silent, concentrating on Lennon's mournful verses and McCartney's quick-paced interludes. The orchestra reached its unbearable crescendo, and at least one of us visibly shuddered at the whomping piano chord that ended the album. (Indeed, it seemed to end everything.) Lasting nearly one minute, it's perhaps the most famous final chord in pop history.

For some reason, we all turned to Dylan. "What did you think?" I asked him. I noticed he was curiously inspecting the album's colorful, gatefold sleeve, much the way kids his age probably did 40 years ago.

"It was better than a lot of the stuff I listen to," he admitted. "It was different."


Outtake from the 'Sgt. Pepper' photo sessions, 30 March 1967
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  #13  
Old 06-01-2007, 04:39 PM
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I have the album. I also still have Hard Day's Night and Rubber Soul in glorious mono.
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Old 06-03-2007, 12:37 AM
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Question

I always wondered....

Down towards the bottom of the album cover where the word Beatles is written in red flowers underneath the L and E are some yellow flowers. Are they supposed to represent something. I've stared at that cover a thousand times in all conditions wondering about this.
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Old 06-03-2007, 05:57 AM
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They look like they're in the shape of a guitar. That's what I've always thought.
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Old 06-03-2007, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyberlibrarian
They look like they're in the shape of a guitar. That's what I've always thought.
I figured that out when I was 6.
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Old 06-03-2007, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papa Bear
I figured that out when I was 6.

Well, I can't say I was 6 when I figured it out because the album came out when I was 7.

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Old 06-03-2007, 10:06 AM
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I was 4...you're all old...
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Old 06-03-2007, 02:50 PM
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According to Wikipedia Dept.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empathetic Socialist
I always wondered....

Down towards the bottom of the album cover where the word Beatles is written in red flowers underneath the L and E are some yellow flowers. Are they supposed to represent something. I've stared at that cover a thousand times in all conditions wondering about this.

According to wikipedia (your mileage may vary )
Quote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sgt_pepper

A young delivery boy who provided the flowers for the photo session was allowed to contribute a guitar made of yellow hyacinths. Although it has long been rumoured that some of the plants in the arrangement were cannabis plants, this is untrue.
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Old 06-04-2007, 12:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papa Bear
I figured that out when I was 6.
So last week
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