We have indeed enjoyed the show–Sgt. Pepper hits 50

Sebastian Suarez ’18

In 1967, a little group called the Beatles released an album that would change the popular music scene forever. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the seminal LP for many more to come in its wake. However, the album was not only a turning point for popular music, but for the band itself.

With Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles were telling the world something. They standing on top of tangerine trees and screaming to the world that they were no longer the mop-topped boys who had enchanted the world some couple years before. They were becoming artists now, rather than simply performers. Sgt. Pepper was the defining moment of the Beatles as arguably the best band of all time. They were taking off the tidy suits and replacing them with psychedelic band outfits. The boys from Liverpool were now the forefront of Rock.

The musical prowess of the record is undeniable. With iconic tracks such as “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and “Getting Better,” the Beatles journeyed into a new territory of music which some of their listeners perhaps had to grapple with to understand. The underlying symbolism in “A Day In The Life” was taken with much controversy, so much so that radio stations wouldn’t play it because of its macabre lyrics in some sections of the song. In contrast, some radio-friendly songs such like “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” the Beatles still had a firm hand on the wheel with concern to pop. They created, for the most part, the very first hugely popular and mainstream album of its abstractness. Perhaps this is what they were trying not to do, as they wanted to distance themselves from the past boy band feel that they once had, but it has all turned out for the better.

Another important aspect of the album is its display of the divergence between John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s styles as musicians. Songs like “When I’m Sixty-Four” and “Getting Better” show the optimistic paradigm that characterizes Paul’s later work. Paul wrote the lyrics of both of these songs and was lead vocalist on both of the tracks. They are both more upbeat, more sunny songs that perhaps instill a feeling of brightness in the listener and are indicative of Paul’s stylistic inclinations. John, on the other hand, wrote “Lucy In The Sky” and lead the writing of “A Day In The Life.” The more abstract and psychedelic tones in these songs are testaments of John’s new way of making music: a more introspective take, not concerning himself with the premeditated popularity of the songs but rather the substantial meaning behind them. With this album, not only did the Beatles leave their old pop persona, but John and Paul began their journey to take the band in different directions.