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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