‘Sgt. Pepper’ changed our views about music
An indisputable work of genius, the Beatles' eighth album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," was released on June 1, 1967. It broke the creative boundaries that once limited the concept of what pop albums could be, and gave us songs that we'll love forever.
Honolulu Symphony Pops
» In concert: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday
» Place: Blaisdell Concert Hall
» Tickets: $15 to $83; students $10
» Call: 792-2000 (days); 524-0815, ext. 245 (evenings); or visit www.honolulusymphony.com
This weekend, the Honolulu Symphony Pops presents a tribute to the Beatles and celebrates the 40th anniversary of "Sgt. Pepper." It's your chance to relive one of music's best moments: the release of an album that changed the way we think and feel about music (even though we might not know it).
First and foremost, "Sgt. Pepper" is a great album. Each song can stand alone as a classic hit. In the days before "Sgt. Pepper," most albums (remember those vinyl LPs?) included a couple of hits that were sold as singles and packaged for radio. The remaining songs were mostly filler: the "B sides."
But "Sgt. Pepper" was packed with classic songs from beginning to end: "With a Little Help from My Friends," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "When I'm Sixty-Four" and "Lovely Rita," to name a few.
The Beatles recorded the album with an orchestra of about 40 musicians. It was one of the first to combine symphonic music, or "classical" instruments, with pop music. Paul McCartney, Sir Paul as he's now known, devised the theme of the Sgt. Pepper band.
Many background sounds on the album are what you'd hear at the Blaisdell Concert Hall: concertgoers whispering, plus lots of applause. Originally, the intention was to have it play without silent pauses (again, just like the concert hall), but there wasn't room on the record and the songs had to be broken up. This weekend, you'll have the chance to hear the songs in their original order, just as the Beatles intended.
"Sgt. Pepper" also changed the way we looked at records -- those of us who remember physical records. For starters, the artwork was spectacular. And for the first time, the lyrics were on the back. The original albums came with paper cutouts of badges, a mustache -- everything required for a member of "the band."
The famous cover included wax models of John, Paul, George and Ringo (from Madame Tussauds), as well as cutouts of famous people (including Freud and Bob Dylan) and some unexpected objects, including a snake and a TV.
This weekend, we'll revisit the magic of "Sgt. Pepper," joined by special guests Anita Hall and Zanuck Lindsey. Take a trip back to 1967 with the Honolulu Symphony Pops!