Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: No Issues With The Re-issues

Written by Brody Duggson

On May 26, 2017, the lyric “Twenty years ago today” turned fifty years old. 

The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on May 26, 1967.  It was a Friday.  The album came out in the United States a week later. 

Why is this album so important?  Why should you care what four musicians did before you were born?  Before your parents were born?

What’s so important about music released prior to the advent of the internet and the rise of personal computers?  Why bother with an album that was recorded on magnetic tape and originally mixed in mono?

You should care because Sgt. Pepper is the greatest album of all-time.  Even if you don’t think it’s the greatest album of all-time, it’s been regarded as the greatest album of all-time for half-a-century.

It was the ipso facto start of the Summer of Love, a milestone for Baby Boomers, and the culture apex of the 1960s.

It was the first rock album to win a Grammy Award for Album of the Year.  It has sold more than 32 million copies.

In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine put it first on their list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All-time.”

If your favorite artist has ever recorded a concept album, or used the studio as an instrument, they owe a debt to Sgt. Pepper.  The album didn’t necessarily invent those techniques, but it certainly popularized them.

Therefore Sgt. Pepper has influenced, either directly or indirectly, current artists as diverse as U2, Green Day, and even Lady Gaga.

In fact, music historians often credit Sgt. Pepper with starting the “album era.”  If we accept this accomplishment, then the sphere of the opus’ influence increases even more.

Sgt. Pepper legitimize rock as an art form.  It laid the foundation for progressive rock and was the zenith of British psychedelia. 

Songs from Sgt. Pepper have been successfully covered by numerous big-name artists including Elton John, The Flaming Lips, Cheap Trick, Patti Smith, Sonic Youth, Thievery Corporation, Gomez, and Billy Brag.

It has survived half-a-century.  Not many things survive five decades.

Think about this: recordings celebrating their 50th anniversaries in 1967 were Billy Murray’s "Over There" and "Livery Stable Blues”—the first commercial jazz recording. 

There were no 50-year-old albums in 1967.  The album format was invented in 1952.

It’s highly likely that Sgt. Pepper will be celebrated in 2067.  Do you think the same can be said for Ed Sheeran’s Divide, Katy Perry’s Witness, or The Chainsmokers' Memories... Do Not Open?  No offense to those artists, but probably not.

Beyond all those accolades, it’s just a damn good record.  From the title track to its closer, “A Day in The Life,” the album has no weaknesses.  Every song is a classic.

To commemorate its 50th anniversary, Sgt. Pepper has been reissued via four versions: a single CD, a double CD set, a double vinyl collection, and a super deluxe edition that contains six discs.

Giles Martin, son of the Beatles producer, George Martin, went back to the original masters and made a stereo remix out of Sgt. Pepper’s original mono mix. 

The Beatles participated in the original mono mix.  They did not participate in the stereo mix.  So, this 50th anniversary edition allows fans to listen to Sgt. Pepper’s the way the band intended it to be heard (but in stereo).

If your budget allows, pick up the super deluxe edition.  It contains three discs of outtakes, instrumental versions, and mono mixes. 

These extra tracks reveal the genius of the Fab Four and provide listeners a glimpse into how the greatest album in the history of rock and roll was created. 

Longtime fans, many of whom bought the album when it first came out, have been blown away by the extras.  Fans are hearing sounds, riffs, and phrases they’ve never heard before.

The reason behind these sonic discoveries lies in how the Beatles recorded their music.  They played like an orchestra, with each instrument performing a different part.  When heard without the vocals, the songs of Sgt. Pepper sound very different.

For example, the chorus of their psychedelic masterpiece, “Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds,” sounds like garage rock sans John Lennon’s singing. 

That transformation, and others like it, allow longtime fans to experience the Beatles’ masterpiece in an entirely new way.  For new fans, the extras are a master class on how to make a rock album that’s impervious to the ravages of time.

If you’re a music fan, Sgt. Pepper’s should be in your collection.  The 50th anniversary re-issue is the perfect place to start.  It doesn’t detract from the original, it adds to it.

 

AIR + STYLE 2015

Written By Jessica Klausing

For the first time, AIR + STYLE brought big air, snow, and music to Pasadena's Rose Bowl. Hosted by Shaun White, This two day festival featured world elite snowboarders and skiers qualified from the Innsbruck and Beijing events. This was also the first time skiing was added the lineup where 16 professional skiers competed on the Big Air Jump.

Despite the cold weather and rain showers, the competitions were completed with more than 40,000 spectators in attendance!

For the results and additional information check out the AIR + STYLE  main page.

In addition to the competition, AIR + STYLE brought 18 incredible bands performing over two stages. The Saturday lineup consisted of: Bad Things, Phantogram, Diplo, Kendrick Lamar, Teenage Wrist, In the Valley Below, Metz, The Black Lips, and Portugal The Man.

Below are my favorite songs from each of these bands. Enjoy!

Bad Things

These guys were the first act of the day. This is an American Synthrock band that features professional snowboarder and skateboarder Shaun White on lead guitar. I didn't think at first I was gonna dig it. Despite White's athletic celebrity status, this band has some songs worth checking out. "Caught Inside" stands out among their predominant garage band sound. This song is smooth with a nice steady drum beat. The group also includes lead vocalist Davis LeDuke, bassist and former Augustana member Jared Palomar, guitarist Anthony Sanudo and the lovely Lena Zawaideh on drums and vocals.

Phantogram

This band was my favorite of the day! Their music is catchy, chill and motivating. What's not to love? Sarah Barthel can belt out the pop vocals like nobody's business! It's hard to find a bad song out of their catalog, but "Fall in Love" is their ultimate best in my opinion. Barthel's voice just pulls you into a deep hypnotic spell with no chance of ever coming back. Seriously, I can't stop playing this song on repeat.

Diplo

Electronic music lovers unite! This American DJ is usually seen with his associated act, Skrillex, or as the duo are better known as Jack U. This electronic dance music (EDM) sound can be described as Dubstep. Honestly, I am not much of a fan to Dubstep. I personally prefer the more traditional House or relaxing Trance. "Revolution" is one of the exceptions to the rule for me. It's upbeat and fun, which is the whole point to EDM, right?

Teenage Wrist

When it comes to music I'm genuinely a sucker for 90's garage and indie sounds. So, I was quite pleased to discover Teenage Wrist. In a world full of autotune it's pleasant to get back to the simpler sound of sweet nostalgia. Not a whole lot of information can be found other than their Facebook and Twitter accounts. What we do know is the band is a collaborative side project that consists of Kamtin Mohager (The Chain Gang of 1974), Marshall Gallagher (Swing Hero) and Anthony Salazar. "Slide Away" is the second single off the band's forthcoming EP. According to the band, this song is a sample of what we can expect for future releases. If that is true, then I don't think music lovers will be disappointed.

In the Valley Below

Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob blend the beautiful harmony that is Americana, blues and synth pop. Their sound is almost a dead ringer in the style of Peter Bjohn and Jon Jon. This dynamic duo has already gained attention by European alternative radio. "Peaches" is the opening song on the their debut album The Belt. It's a fitting pick to give listeners an introduction into Gail and Jacob's synchronized chemistry.  

Metz

This Canadian post punk trio are a real punch to the gut. If you are not too much into the heavy metal scene then you might have a hard time listening to their new stuff. It is heavier, darker and much more sloppier. Those that love heavy distortion, screeching vocals with growling guitar riffs may appreciate "Wet Blanket" or "The Swimmer." My pick is the somewhat tamer "Spit You Out." This song has the right amount of feedback in which can almost resemble Nirvana.

The Black Lips

The Black Lips are a self described "flower punk" garage band. Basically, it's another term for psychedelic rock. Despite their provocative stage antics, their sound has a 60's British rock vibe. Granted a demented 60's sound but the lyrics are quite catchy. "Bad Kids" is one of those dark songs that you can't help but sing along.

Portugal the Man

Portugal The Man is an American rock band that hails from Wasilla, Alaska. Most of their songs have a quirky synth sound to them while under toning symbolism for the darkness of human nature. I like "Sleep Forever." That song has a beautiful "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis like eloquence to it. However, "Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue" receives the honorable mention for its deliciously dark combination of bells and falsetto vocals.

Kendrick Lamar

Hip Hop artist Kendrick Lamar closed the AIR + STYLE Day 1 as the last performance of the night. And what a fun way to close the festivities indeed.  Lamar brings a fresh sense of swag to west coast hip hop. His arty self expressions give hip hop a much needed positive look on life. "I" is perhaps the best example of that point. The song is a reminder to keep happy and be blessed in things that you have despite the bad times.

Plus the line "These days of frustration keep ya'll in tucking rotation" is a real doozy. It gets stuck in your head for days!