On the Sgt Pepper Anniversary

Yesterday, in honor of the 40th-anniversary of the release of Sgt Pepper, I listened to the album, both the original and two cover versions, several times.

I listened to it before I went to work. 🙂

I wore my Sgt Pepper tie to work.

I listened to it again when I got home from work. 🙂

I listened to the Big Daddy cover album, done in a 1950s style.

I listened to the cover album done by Mojo Magazine a few months ago which features a bunch of bands I’ve never heard of, along with one band–Echo & the Bunnymen–I have heard of (and they cover “All You Need Is Love” as a bonus track).

Just for fun, I decided to listen to Sgt Pepper with its original running order.

And as midnight came in, to end the day, I listened to “A Day in the Life,” the monumental close to the album. 🙂

Wait. Back up. Original running order, I say?

Sgt Pepper‘s first side was originally going to be sequenced differently. The side runs:

  1. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  2. With a Little Help From My Friends
  3. Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
  4. Getting Better
  5. Fixing a Hole
  6. She’s Leaving Home
  7. Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite

The initial running order, though, was:

  1. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  2. With a Little Help From My Friends
  3. Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite
  4. Fixing a Hole
  5. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  6. Getting Better
  7. She’s Leaving Home

I made the necessary changes to the running order in Windows Media Player, and let the album unfold as the Beatles had intended in April 1967 in their first assembly of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

I’m so used to hearing the tracks in their “proper” order that it was quite… shocking, much as hearing LOVE was shocking for putting different emphasis on different things.

Truthfully, I don’t see why one running order is better than the other. I’m not sure why the Beatles changed–literally in the matter of a day–from their original order for side one to the final order. I think the melancholy of “Getting Better” flows better into the optimism of “Fixing a Hole” instead of into the equally melancholic “She’s Leaving Home.” Yet I think “She’s Leaving Home” would have been a better close to side one than “Mr Kite”–“She’s Leaving Home” leaves with an emotional connection (much as side two ends with the emotional climax of “A Day in the Life”), instead of with the nonsense novelty of “Mr Kite” (which is important more for its production than its lyric or message, and is the weakest of John’s three songs on the album).

So, the 40th-anniversary has come and gone. Curiously, it seems to have gone little noticed in the circles I travel. Another anniversary that came and went last week was noted nearly everywhere, yet I couldn’t have given a toss. 😉 I noticed no special features in the newspaper. I noticed no specials on television. “A decisive moment in the history of Western Civilization,” and forty years on it seems unremarked.

But not by me!

And that’s really all that matters. 🙂

2 thoughts on “On the Sgt Pepper Anniversary

  1. Unlike Paramount and Lucasfilm, I don’t give a toss about the 30th or 40th anniversaries of anything–after 25 years, I don’t care until the 50th.

    In this case, I suspect it’s much the same with regards to media attention (especially since there’s no corporate funding to push the anniversary). Try again in ten years. 😉

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