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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
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Audio CD, Enhanced, Limited Edition, September 8, 2009
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Standard CD pressing of The Beatles' classic album, one of the grand pillars of modern popular music that practically changed the world of the LP when it was issued in 1967.
Before Sgt. Pepper, no one seriously thought of rock music as actual art. That all changed in 1967, though, when John, Paul, George and Ringo (with "A Little Help" from their friend, producer George Martin) created an undeniable work of art which remains, after 30-plus years, one of the most influential albums of all time. From Lennon's evocative word/sound pictures (the trippy "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," the carnival-like "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite") and McCartney's music hall-styled "When I'm 64," to Harrison's Eastern-leaning "Within You Without You," and the avant-garde mini-suite, "A Day in the Life," Sgt. Pepper was a milestone for both '60s music and popular culture. --Billy Altman
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Still, I suppose because I'm a Beatles die-hard fan (have been for ever, and will be till I die, I'm sure), I gobbled up every enhancement, and instance of cleanup that came with this issue. This is especially great for beginning musicians that are also Beatles fans, because the clarity afforded in this disc makes it much easier to learn the songs bit by bit. Somehow, I believe, that just as in the first issue of the Beatles music on CD, what pops out the most is the bass guitar sound. This may not establish Paul as a virtuoso, but he is one of the true stylists of the instrument, and plays about as melodic bass-wise as anyone else in rock or any other genre.
As a "concept" album, it seems more and more tongue-in-cheek as time passes, but the moments of brilliance nevertheless shine thru. The greatest moment in the collection is probably crescendo climax and E chord smash of the opus known as "A Day in the Life." Ever a "rock" fan, I also enjoyed the excitement and pounding pulsing rhythms of both "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and its reprise.
The music of Sgt. Pepper was once called psycadelic, but the only real psycadelic offerings are "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite," both of which are a sonic delight (especially in this remastered work), the likes of which allow me to "trip" without actually ingesting any chemicals or other mind altering substances.
I have no idea what processes and amount of tinkering George and Gyles Martin did with the Beatles' songs on the Love project, but hopefully in the not too distant future, most or all of the Beatles recordings will receive a treatment that truly fulfils the potential that was explored by the original producer and his son. Until then, this package is the only version of "Pepper" I will listen to from now on.
Revolver is praised highly these days...and rightfully so. It's a very good/excellent collection of songs. Mainly solo Beatles songs with some assistance from the other Beatles.
But Sgt. Pepper's comes across as much more of a Team Effort. A group effort. More Beatle harmonizing. More shared vocals in any given song. And Sgt. Pepper's rocks harder than Revolver.
Revolver is black and white brilliance.
Sgt. Pepper's is in color, is more cohesive, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Plus...the Beatles' greatest song, A Day In The Life is on Sgt. Pepper's.
Along with their best production.
Although Paul's production on Revolver shows he's learning the trade.
Kudos to Sir George Martin and the Beatles for the Best Album of the 20th Century.
Just please buy a great cassette deck, a good cassette cleaner, and a Sgt. Pepper's Analog Cassette.
Analog Beatles via Cassette.
It doesn't get any better than this.