A flood of news stories arrived over the weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the June 1, 1967 release of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

I've seen plenty of superlatives used to describe the album, which some reviewers have hailed as the best rock and roll album ever. One went as far as labeling Sgt. Pepper "a decisive moment in the history of Western civilisation".

Well, I reckon Sgt. Pepper is a patchy affair. There are definitely some great songs on there, such as the title track, A Day in the Life and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. With A Little Help From My Friends is great too, though Joe Cocker made it his own.

I agree with Ringo Starr, who believes
The White Album and Revolver are better than Sgt. Pepper.

Overall, Sgt. Pepper is not an album that's enjoyable to listen to from beginning to end. It doesn't get much play time on my stereo. That's in sharp contrast to Pink Floyd's masterpiece Piper
at the Gates of Dawn, which was recorded at the very same time in the studio next to the one occupied by the Beatles at Abbey Road. The Beatles were fully aware of what the Floyd were recording next door and the influence Syd Barrett's work on Piper had on McCartney and Lennon seems pretty obvious. Piper At The Gates of Dawn was released in August 1967 and did extremely well in its own right. But songs like Interstellar Overdrive and Astronomy Domine weren't particularly radio friendly.

In my book, Piper is far more memorable and significant an album that Sgt. Pepper. I hope there's some recognition of that when the album hits 40 in August!

Meanwhile, the Floyd fan website, Brain-damage.co.uk, has some great photos from the Syd Barrett tribute concert held last month in London and featuring Roger Waters (and the rest of the band performing separately to him).

1 comment:

Jintzey said...

EMI has issued a press release about the upcoming "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" 40th Anniversary re-release! Release date is scheduled for 3 September 2007 and will be a Deluxe 3 CD set, in a DVD sized hardback book format with a reproduction of a previously unseen Syd Barrett notebook. There will be a Stereo disc, mono disc version of the album (different takes of the tracks), and a 3rd disc of all 1967 singles and B sides, plus unreleased edits of 2 tracks (TBC), all in sequence. All music remastered by James Guthrie. A 2 CD standard version of the stereo and mono discs, but without booklet and singles disc, will also be released in a brilliant box and will be priced at deluxe 1 CD price. Everyone is discussing it at www.PinkFloydChat.net