The Beatles contribution to my own hours of listening and beloved music industry down through the years can never be understated. These four cheeky Liverpudlian legends have given me much enjoyment from their music catalogue down through the decades and I felt that should be reflected in a high place in my personal hall of fame.
I’ve been fascinated by Beatles albums for 25 years now and still have only scraped the surface of knowledge that’s available out there. Its only when you are buried deep in the world of a record dealer that you truly appreciate what ‘Beatlemania’ still means to thousands of hardcore collectors around the world. Every Beatles album was pressed on vinyl hundreds of times and had different versions of sleeve and label print, some with misprints and some with misaligned logos (which are like holy grails for Beatles collectors) One copy of an album might be worth a couple of quid and another copy of the exact same album, but as a first pressing will be worth hundreds and potentially thousands. I’ve sold a ton of Beatles records over the years, anywhere from £5 to £500 and it always excites me when I’m flicking through a collection of Jim Reeves LPs that someone is trying to sell me and I stumble across a few Beatles rarities in there. Obscure versions of their albums are scattered all over the world and some collectors spend entire lifetimes piecing together missing parts from their personal inventories.
This album showcases The Beatles at their experimental best, but most musically beautiful, every song on this collection is stunning.
I have many favourite songs spread out over their entire catalogue, but Sgt. Pepper’s is my own personal favourite Beatles album. I have many music boffin friends, and a few proper die hard super fan mates who quite probably will lay claim to the likes of ‘Abbey Road’ or ‘Revolver’ as being their weapon of choice. For me my choice is down to the fact of having warmed to and listened to this album so much more than the rest of them down through the years, i just enjoy the songs and subtle production a lot more. I keep coming back to it and believe it to be the best Beatles album.
‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club’ kicks off proceedings followed (a mere 2 minutes later) by ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ which then leads casually into ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ – Is there really an album on planet earth with three bigger opening tracks!
From then on in the general subtle trippiness and softness of the instruments throughout this entire album is just incredible. ‘She’s Leaving Home’ is one of the most beautiful songs ever written and tells the story of a 17 year old girl who runs away from home and of her family’s angst. The stunningly complex ‘Within Without You’ uses classical Indian instruments and percussion to create the most mystic of journeys and If I was forced to choose would possibly be my favourite song on this LP.
If there’s one reason why this album still stands the test of time it’s due to its entire presence as a whole individual piece, and not just a collection of songs, it just works as a beautiful concept and I absolutely adore every bit of it.
This iconic album cover which features a host of renowned artists, actors, writers, friends, wax works and philosophers still remains to be one of the most parodied in history as everyone loves to put their own name on the kick drum and replace the collection of people featured on the sleeve with their own friends, work colleagues or club members heads.
There will always be that ‘one’ album that will define any artist, an album that truly shows all their work in one project, and “Sgt. Pepper’s is that for The Beatles. To me this collection of mini masterpieces sums up what the Beatles were at their core and on every level, experimental, psychedelic but still delivering catchy and popular songs at the same time.
This is one of the true great masterpieces of the Sixties that remains so relevant and essentially set the standard for rock & pop music as an art form.