Jun 2, 2017

‘Many years from now’: Sgt Pepper’s is not the album you remember

The primary appeal of Sgt Pepper has, from the very beginning, been as much about nostalgia as music.

Charlie Lewis — Journalist

Charlie Lewis


It was always 20 years ago today, whether it was actually a day, or a decade, or, as it is today, 50 years. That belted first line about the “act you’ve known for all these years” is an irresistible invitation that writers have been accepting ever since. The album we are most nostalgic about, by the band we are most nostalgic about, is itself almost entirely about nostalgia.

The military band theme. The harpsichords and Victorian circus folk. The creeping revulsion regarding adulthood (“going to work, don’t wanna go, feeling low down”). It’s incredibly suburban and grounded in its concerns. It’s lyrics are almost completely apolitical, cosy and in places fairly conservative. When it indulges in its few flights of fantasy, they come from Lewis Carroll and far east mysticism. The defining album of 1967 is constantly looking backward. 

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3 thoughts on “‘Many years from now’: Sgt Pepper’s is not the album you remember

  1. John Kotsopoulos

    Still amazing after all these years. And to hear the genesis of the songs through out takes is a joy

  2. Keith1

    Re “Getting better”. Filler it might be, but it sure pulled me up with a start at the time:
    I used to be cruel to my woman
    I beat her and kept apart from the things that she loved
    Man I was mean but I’m changing my scene
    And I’m doing the best that I can

  3. Jack Robertson

    First Clyde Stubblefield, now Ringo…Charlie Lewis outs himself as a drummer ‘Underrated and ripped off’ is right; take away Ringo’s tom-heavy, left-hander/right-handed kit milli-lag, and the Beatles are a very different band…

    How about a top ten drummers listicle, CL? Or top ten drum aficionado songs…

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