"A splendid time is guaranteed"

It was 20 years ago today: Sgt. Pepper came out on CD, honoring the 20th anniversary of the release of the Sgt. Pepper LP. I bought the LP sometime in June 1967 for $3.67 at W.T. Grant’s, and while I wasn’t immediately overwhelmed by the music – I was, eventually, especially “Getting Better” and “Fixing a Hole” – I did realize that the album was something special.

It was the cover, often parodied (see here, starting with 240) – but this will change as more titles are added) and all the cool stuff enclosed in the package, such as the sergeant stripes – I still have that sheet SOMEWHERE.) The lyrics actually being listed indicated that they were (gasp!) IMPORTANT.

With very few exceptions, it seems as though the idea of The Album – i.e., a collection of songs designed to be put together as a coherent whole – is endangered. If Sgt. Pepper were released today, would the individual cuts get downloaded, thus missing the impact of the coherent whole?

There have been few covers of songs from Sgt. Pepper, save for Joe Cocker’s classic rendition of “With a Little Help From My Friends”, that have really stood out for me. Recently, I was able to hear the MOJO recording of the package, which didn’t send me. Bill Cosby, on his “Hooray for the Salvation Army Band” album did a cover of the title tune, with female backup singers: strange.

One exception is the take of Sgt. Pepper by a group called Big Daddy. “With a Little Help from My Friends” as “Chances Are” by Johnny Mathis. “Mr. Kite” turned into Palisades Park”. “A Day in the Life” as a couple Buddy Holly tunes. And possibly my favorite, “Within You Without You” as a beatnik send-up. Good stuff.
JEOPARDY answer from 5/15/2007 under YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED for $600: “Title of the 1965 Beatles No. 1 hit song that is a calendrical impossibility.” Response below.
Am I going to be going to Starbucks to get the new Paul McCartney album on June 5? Well, it does sound intriguing, but I’d like to hear a review or two beforehand. Macca’s last album, 2005’s “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard”, which I have, was pretty good, so history would suggest he’s due for another dud. But I’ll keep a good thought. Here’s the first video. BTW, I have a copy of the Macca interview in the June 4, 2007 New Yorker.
A link to the Smithereens’ “I Want To hold Your Hand. And another link, in case the first one goes away.
J question: What is “Eight Days a Week”?


Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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