Culture

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

Journalist

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. 

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions

3 comments

Join the conversation

The Crikey comment section is members-only content. Please login or sign up for a FREE trial to engage in the commentary.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details

Sending...