dodgealum - I don't want to get embroiled in a "better album" debate :-) though I sort of get where you are going with this. Of your two options, I guess I’d choose Penny Lane given Lennon’s Lucy in the Sky and Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite are already on there. Somehow, to me, Strawberry Fields has a similar feel to both of those (I expect we’ll hear from persons otherwise opinionated). BUT to meet "contractual obligations" to Mr. Harrison, maybe Blue Jay Way would be a good choice??? That (again to me) has a similar feel to Within/Without and avoids a McCartney trifecta on the first 3 tracks of Side 2. But I ain't sayin' dropping WY/WY to include ANY of those 3 would make it a better album!
While you're at it, cut "With A Little help From My Friends" (a dreadful song, with a dreadful Ringo vocal), "When I'm Sixty-Four" (McCartney at his worst), and perhaps even "Lovely Rita" (a mediocre song at best).
Both "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" belong on the album, and would greatly improve it. No "Blue Jay Way" though, please. It barely qualifies as a "song", though it IS less bad than "Within You Without You". Almost nothing isn't!
At the risk of being a nattering nabob of negativity (the only thing RR said that I thought was funny), I find Elton John's cover of 'Lucy' more interesting as a listen. And "With a Little Help..." was covered in the movie 'The Lathe of Heaven' so much better and in a fashion that the song only hints at....moving, instead of being a vague sex/drugs/r'n r reference....
BTW...the album exists as it is. If you want to re-arrange it, have at it. It's your playlist, after all....
avsjerry is right...the album exists as it is.
The only thing that I think would make it a better album is if it was a better album.
Whenever I hear awe and reverence regarding this album, I have to think of a British songwriting duo that I consider superior; Glen Tillbrook and Cris Difford of Squeeze. I'll put Sweets Fom a Stranger or East Side Story against Sgt . Peppers any day. No, music isn't a contest. I'm just referring to talent, musicianship and just plain old entertaining excellence.
I think that way too much has been made of Sgt. Peppers.
Amen roxy, about both the imo somewhat over-rated SP, and Squeeze. Squeeze are becoming almost forgotten, but they were one of the very best of their time (late 70’s into the 80’s), if your taste includes "Pop" (a dirty word to some, especially Grateful Dead-loving hippies). Great albums, good live too.
Another great Pop group is The Rubinoos, whose guitarist Tommy Dunbar is absolutely fantastic.
There is an avid following of Beatles fans on the Hoffman board who are constantly raising similar questions about track arrangements and perfect sequencing for the songs within the various albums. I've never been a huge fan of Sgt. Pepper's, and the hype surrounding it from day one only pushed me further away. There are a few tracks on it that I like and I rely on the recent Mono Box.
I'm not a Beatles hater- far from it-- the early videotape of their performance at the Washington Coliseum in 1964 continues to astound me- playing without stage monitors on a dinky stage in a crowded basketball arena- these guys were close to note perfect in their harmonies. They were, at that time, playing old style rock and roll and doing it as well as anybody. Yes, some of the Lennon/McCartney song writing that followed is brilliant, but if I had to pick a late album, it would probably be side two of Abbey Road, for both content and sequence.
Love that Squeeze track- Tempted by the Fruit of Another.
there's at least six beatles albums i'd take over sp, with only the title track, "fixing a hole" and the incredible "day in the life" really matching their lofty standard (tho i do admire "lucy in the sky" from a distance). the penny lane/strawberry field single, however, is among their very best work and would have markedly improved the album.
I love that there are others who feel as do I. Sgt. Pepper was a product of it’s time, and has not aged well, sounding dated. The best music is timeless, out-living the social conditions which influenced, even produced, it. I do listen to Sgt. Pepper in context, and much prefer other music being made in 1967, of which there is imo a lot "better" (which is nothing other than personal taste, of course). I have long considered both Rubber Soul and Revolver much better albums than SP. And if the "white" album had been a single rather than a double, it would have been much better. Too self-indulgent!
ghosthouse and onhwy61, I stand corrected and thanks. Memories of that error, I mean, era tend to blur a bit. And those gentlemen would have made me want to find a way to erase as much of it as possible. ;)
I remember RR as guv of CA, where he practiced his lines for the 'next act'. Spiro was 'funny', but it was always a 'groaner'. And it would figure that Safire wrote 'NNoN'...he was an alliteration freak. It'd show up occasionally....
Yes - love "Within you and without you". Probably more responsible than anything else for my spiritual quest starting in my teens.
But beyond that, it really cemented from the first listen that this album was revolutionary. If you really listen to Sgt Peppers, it hits you that other than "Within you.." "A day in the Life" and maybe "Lucy in the Sky" the rest is pretty much polite Brit-Pop. (Though as good as it gets).
The reason SPLHCB is almost always at the top of lists of best albums is because of its originality and great songs and inventiveness for the time and to a large extent it survived very well. It was you could say a benchmark. Actually, now that I think about it, there were really good albums by individual Beatles after they broke up, All Things Must Pass, Lennon and Plastic Ono Band and Band on the Run to name a few.
LSD probably ruined a lot of things but I think true rock and roll as seen in the late 1950’s while still lots of fun was too limited to have a long lifespan hence all the directions rock/pop music went in subsequently, which I view as a good thing delivering a much broader range of musical styles to choose from. That’s progress. Sgt. Pepper was perhaps as much responsible for this as any single album release ever. Hence its fame. Music and recording still holds up pretty well.
While we're talking about changing Sgt. Pepper, the Taj Mahal (not the dead Trump casino) could use a few improvements as well. I would not want to live there.
I don't listen to much psychedelic music anymore but I think there are some great examples of psychedelic songs that still sound good today. It's probably true that the lesser examples of the genre are more embarrassing than those of some other styles, but every category of music has its hits and misses. Personally, I think rock peaked some years later, around 1973. While it still survives and produces some worthy recordings there hasn't been much in the way of revolutionary sounds since then. There are a lot of nice re-treads and mish-mashes.
Psychedelic music is somewhat of a misnomer since the music is not necessarily linked to drug use, probably very seldom, or even a drug lifestyle nor would the group or singer had to have taken LSD or any other drug to write or play psychedelic music. Maybe to listen to the music, though. 😃 Exceptions perhaps are Morrison and Joplin who performed with bottle in hand frequently and Carlos Santana who ingested LSD just prior to Santana’s set at Woodstock. Whaaaat! Yes, I know alcohol is not considered a psychedelic.😁 Of course the Stones’ Something Happened to me Yesteday was most definitely about taking LSD. 😳
I was being a little tongue-in-cheek, deliberately and intentionally provocative. I love "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "A Day In The Life", and they most likely came to be as a result of ingesting. Brian Wilson’s Smile definitely did. In "psychedelic", I was referring to the more pompous and self-consciously "high-art", grandiose practitioners of the style.
The second and third Grateful dead albums are really interesting musical explorations, and can be considered psychedelic. Ironically, that era of The Dead ended with the release of Workingman's Dead in 1970, their stab at what is now called Americana. Ironic in that that style of music, which Dylan moved to in his 1968 John Wesley Harding album, and The Band did on their 1969 s/t second (the "brown" album), was a repudiation of psychedelia (as was The Band's first, 1968's Music From Big Pink). Those albums were extremely influential amongst musicians, as was The Byrds Sweetheart Of The Rodeo. Workingman's Dead was the Dead's response and reaction to those albums (Garcia is and was a big fan of Bluegrass and Hillbilly), as was Neil Young's Harvest, and all the Country/Rock that followed in the 70's. Meanwhile, psychedelic music continued on with the mass public---Pink Floyd, etc. The appeal of Dark Side Of The Moon completely eludes me.
The appeal of Dark Side Of The Moon completely eludes me.That’s because there was never one released on digital media that wasn’t compressed, it’s a real shame.
The only one worth listening to was vinyl, or the Blu-Ray one
@austinbob - thanks for mentioning Twelve Dreams. One of my favorites from the time of its release. I assume with your name, you are in Austin?
We just bought a period house here, and the chandelier in the entry way was a gift to the house from Mark Andes when it was under restoration by the former owner, an ardent preservationist (who, I gather, knows him).
It’s just one of those little quirks of life that makes it pleasing to be here.
Within You and Without You of course was a George Harrison song, George was learning sitar from Rabi Shankar at the time. The sitar also popped up on Paint it Black (the sitar was played by Brian Jones (who one assumes was not adverse to ingesting acid or anything else within reach), a pop psychedelic song from the Stones. The India connection of WYAWY smacks of Timothy Leary’s Psychedelic Book of the Dead, the original Book of the Dead, a book that is psychedelic at its core.
Austinbob, I too really like Spirit’s 12 Dreams album (have it on LP, bought at the time of release), though it doesn’t sound psychedelic to me. It was sad to see Mark Andes join Heart, such a low-class, tacky band.
monsignor, I am a fan of The Beatles, though with some reservation and of the opinion that they are not "the best", as they are pretty universally considered to be. There are songwriters I like more than them, singers I like more than them, musicians I like more than them, and ensembles I like more than them. For me, they prove the wisdom of the old adage "The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts".
As for the rest on your list, I liked the first two doors (they didn’t use an uppercase d in their name) albums at the time of their release, and saw them live twice, in ’67 and ’68 (in ’68, the opening act of the day was a local San Jose band named Fritz, whose members included Buckingham and Nicks!). By the time of their third album, my taste in music had, ahem, evolved. They now to me sound hopelessly dated, corny even.
I’m not missing out on the rest; I have heard them all, and just don’t care for them or their music. In late ’68, a non-musician friend told me our college library had an album by a new band whose music he loved, that I should check it out. I got to the library, found the LP, and saw Jimmy Page’s name and pic on the cover of that first Led Zeppelin album. I love, love, loved The Yardbirds, but their last album (Little Games), after Jeff Beck had left and Page had taken over, was a real pos. I thought the same of the LZ album. Talk about corny! Can white men sing the blues? If this is your evidence, the answer is a resounding no. The musicianship on that album is just SO bad---everyone playing in the pursuit of glorifying themselves (don’t listen to him, listen to me. Aren’t I good?), not serving the song. Very immature, musically. But then, there is not much in the way of songs to serve, is there?
But what does LSD have to do with Led Zeppelin, Queen, or Yes?
Taste is a purely subjective and personal matter. I was surprised to read that Glenn Gould didn’t like Mozart’s music!
SP was pure creative genius, particularly the work done in the studio at a time when recording electronics were archaic by today's standards. I agree with several here that a couple of the songs are not the Beatles best, but in usual Beatles fashion they seem to make them better than they are.
One of my favorite stories I recall reading at the time was Brian Wilson of Beach Boys relating that he was at a party when someone showed up with a newly released SP LP and they started playing it. He stated the Beach Boys were completely blown away.
Actually I think Within You Without You is far and away the best song on the album and, in hindsight, one of the very best Beatles’ songs. That said, Sgt Pepper was an album that was more influential than good (compare the 1963 Beatles with the 1969 ones and note how far they pulled rock music up from the style of the 50s). Yes, there are some good tracks (WYWY, LSD, A Day In The Life) and some really bad ones (Rita and 64), and adding the wayward high spots from the US release of Magical Mystery Tour (The Fool on the Hill, I Am the Walrus, Hello, Goodbye, Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane, All You Need Is Love) to WYWY, LSD and Life does create a far more consistent album that positively shines by comparison...in hindsight.
Agree with the guy above. Within You Without You is one of my favorite Beatles songs. George Harrison was a highly original songwriter.
Fixing a Hole and She’s Leaving Home also run close favorites from this particular album.
At least Yellow Submarine isn’t on Sgt. Pepper’s. No desire to hear that song again.
Interesting topic. I beg to differ with the earlier comments about Squeeze. I mean, the Beatles are the ones who essentially led the transformation of Rock to an art form going from rockabilly (Elvis, Bill Haley, etc...) to concept albums. Heck, they even led the transformation of hairstyles and dress! To say that Squeeze has had anywhere near that impact to Rock and music in general, is really missing the scope of the impact the Beatles had. It's like a comparison of Beethoven to John Williams.
Regarding Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane, it was always George Martin's greatest regret that they didn't make it to Sgt. Pepper's. Certainly Strawberry Fields should have been on it. To me A Day in the Life is the perfect ending to the album, so it seems to me that Strawberry Fields could have been the opening. Penny Lane could have replaced Getting Better IMHO.
- George Martin's son is currently updating (removing compression layers utilized when the album was recorded not utilized anymore). His son also stated the real pride was placed into the mono version and that the stereo version was "a rushed production." In all honesty...I would wait until the "remastered version" of Sgt. Peppers comes out before having this conversation. Just a thought. Best regards!