Saturday, June 02, 2007

It was 40 years ago...


...today, that Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in the USA, as I am reminded by my friend Rob Morris in Ammon, Idaho. Yesterday we'd been listening to it in the UK for 14,590 days. Unlike 'Revolver' I cannot remember where I was when I first heard the album. I'd experienced 'Revolver' for the first time at my parent's friend's house - they had two boys that were older than me and they had bought it the day it came out. We were playing table tennis and listening to it on their Dansette record player. Revolver I have to say has always been a better album that Sgt. Pepper for me.

Of course there are brilliant tracks on Sgt Pepper, songs that broke new ground and influenced music ever since. Thinking about what it is that makes it such a pivotal album it strikes me that a major factor in the whole thing was the whole packaging of it - the gatefold sleeve, the inserts, and the brilliance of Peter Blake's cover. Not that marketing music was anything like as sophisticated as it is now but there was no doubt that EMI made the release of the album an event. Ever since this has become all rather commonplace, with label after label and group after group attempting to pull off a marketing masterstroke; having us believe that their album is the one we cannot live without. Today there is rarely the feeling of something special happening in music. Instead of an artist's album being eagerly anticipated we are told some young singer is awaiting our votes on Pop Idol or some similar show and the hype and the anticipation is cranked up to try and get us excited - and of course for many it does, but equally it doesn't last.

Life moves on and I doubt that music will ever again create the excitement that it used to do, which is sad but inevitable. I count myself lucky to have been around when music meant so much, even if I cannot remember my first hearing of Sgt Pepper.

2 comments:

Amber T. said...

Music then was so awesome, to put it simply :)

james higham said...

Richard ... don't forget to get those nominations coming in for the Blogpower Awards - vote early and vote often!