50-year-old Sergeant pepper again goes on the attack
June 1 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Beatles album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Columnist Russian service Bi-bi-si Alexander Kan discusses the significance of this epochal work and talks about the rapid surge in commemorative activity.
Credit: The Beatles
50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band caused a rapid surge in commemorative activity: the newly perevedennogo reissue of the legendary album of the Beatles, the release of the full-length documentary about the history of its creation and, finally, a series of special performances-performances in Liverpool — one for each song.
Inexhaustible “cash cow”?
Over the past since the collapse of the Beatles for almost half a century, with regular intervals every few years there is another big (in quotes or without) a reason to return to the legacy of this great band.
In 1996 appeared the three-volume (on each volume on three disks) “anthology”, which included many previously unreleased tracks, alternative versions of famous masterpieces and even specially recorded for this reason “new” songs — preserved acoustic demo lennonovskih Free As A Bird and Real Love, McCartney turned, then still living with Harrison and Starr in full records no longer existed by the time of the group.
Father and son, George and Giles Martin on the Love album launch at Abbey Road studios on 17 November 2006
Periodically in 1978, 1982, 1988 — there are “boxes” with the “complete works” of the group. Crowned this series published in 2009 on CD, and in 2012 reissued vinyl box set. He came out in two versions — mono and stereo, each of which has its appeal for the ardent Beatles fans. Disputes that the Beatles authentic — mono or stereo, underway for decades, and many who want to have both.
A special place in this production is the album, Love — made by George Martin and his son Giles re-composition 26 classic songs for the Grand presentation of the same Cirque de Soleil.
The Beatles at a press conference in connection with the release of the album. House of Brian Epstein in London’s Belgravia, 19 may 1967. Credit: Liverpool Echo
Many are convinced that the whole ongoing decades of work for galvanizing long-dead group has to a one, quite cynical purpose — again and again to milk as much money out of the unconditional love of millions of fans around the world.
On the other hand, most selfless love is not and by definition cannot be anything cynical. “The Beatles” — has long been universally recognized classic, they and their music have long gone beyond fashion, and enduring interest in their work, including from people who were born much later, the collapse of the Quartet, is the best evidence of the true value of what they have achieved in the short six years of prosperity.
It is in this vein should be considered and the surge in commemorative activity that accompanies the 50th anniversary of the “Sergeant”.
For better or worse?
John Lennon conducts a Symphony orchestra during the recording of A Day in the Life at Abbey Road studios 15 February 1967
In connection with the anniversary of the “Sergeant” can be a lot, a lot to say about this wonderful album.
That it was the beginning of a new era not only in the history of rock music, social and spiritual history of the twentieth century: the release of “Sergeant” 1 June 1967 ushered in the “summer of love”, a turning point in the being and consciousness of millions of people around the world.
You can talk about it as the final, victorious point in started a year before such albums as Revolver, Pet Sounds, Beach Boys Blonde on Blonde Bob Dylan, evolution, transformation, fun and mindless pop music into a serious art. It was then that the concept of “rock” as a symbol of seriousness — began to displace the until then completely dominated the word “pop”.
You can talk about him as the firstborn of the genre of “concept album”, although released a year earlier Freak Out! Frank Zappa already had all the characteristics have become defining for the whole progressive rock form of musical creativity in the second half of 60-ies and 70-ies.
You can talk about the revolutionary concept of design — and not just about the now legendary “the flowerbed” by Peter Blake, but first published in the rock-record the lyrics of all the songs and submenu inside drop-down of the album is incredibly cute set of various paper paraphernalia up to the cut whiskers fictional Sergeant.
About “the Sergeant” is said so much that anyone says is just repetition. For decades, it, like all its “Battleship Potemkin” in cinema, has consistently topped the lists of best rock albums of all time. Yes there are rock albums! “A turning point in the history of Western civilization” — so unequivocally described the “Sergeant” immediately after its release, in light of known (and very reputable!) theater critic Kenneth Tainan.
In preparation for “Sergeant” Lennon took a passive stance and almost without a struggle gave the reins of power in the group McCartney
Then was made a “Sergeant” to blaspheme and to cast him down from the pedestal not only the best album rock music, but even the best records by the Beatles.
Intonation put with his often ostentatious nihilism of Lennon himself: “the biggest pile of crap that we ever can fight,” said he in a year after the release of tailored mainly for maccarthyism the patterns of the album.
Keith Richards in an interview with British newspaper the Daily Telegraph in 2015 called “Sergeant” “farrago of nonsense” and compared it with the album “the rolling stones” Their Satanic Majesties Request.
Let’s leave the first part of this claim on the conscience of the great guitarist. As for the comparison with the album “stones” in rock historiography has long been considered common place the fact that came out six months later, in December 1967, the album by Jagger-Richards was placed under the direct influence of the recordings of the Beatles and is considered to be a success a little pretentious attempt educated on the root Blues “stones” to jump in an unusual train of psychedelia, the locomotive which was, of course, “Sergeant pepper”.
Someone goes to an extreme. As held in 1998, the newspaper Melody Maker poll of pop stars, DJs and journalists Sgt. Pepper was named the worst (!) album in the history of rock music.
And if this seems to be mainly teenage-nihilistic call, then the statement of the British critic Richard Smith in connection with the 40th anniversary of the album in 2007 that it is “the most overrated album in rock history,” the grain of truth is definitely there. Stream of praise — even for the most part quite reasonable, for half a century comes this record, sometimes, indeed, rolls and could not, perhaps, not to cause the opposite reaction.
Anyway, regardless of even who are being questioned purely artistic merits of the album, its historical significance is undeniable and associated with the anniversary of the explosion of publishing activity confirms that fact.
Reissued “taste and elegance”
OUT TODAY! @TheBeatles Super Deluxe Anniversary Reissue Of ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ #sgtpepper https://t.co/Ks8f70ks9E pic.twitter.com/gHfmEZdq7i
— uDiscover Music (@uDiscoverMusic) May 26, 2017
It looks like a six exclusive re-release the album
26 may released four (!) variant reissue of the album hero of the day: a single CD, double CD, double vinyl album and a six exclusive collector’s edition.
Looks absolutely gorgeous: body iridescent cover, inside the book is 144 pages in hardcover, facsimile reproduced graphics, two additional poster. Yes, and the contents can’t complain: alternative, never before published version of all the songs and reproductions of manuscripts lyrics, videos, documentary material from Abbey Road studios, essay McCartney, Giles Martin, and many historians of rock music.
As written with a mixture of admiration and sarcasm in my review of the critic of the Guardian newspaper, “few people can surpass Apple Corps. in art to get their fans to part with their money with such taste and elegance”.
But the main component of the kit — new made by Giles Martin stereo mix.
Mono vs stereo
1968: three Beatles; from Left to right John Lennon (1940 1980), George Harrison (1943-2001) and Paul McCartney, record voices in the Studio for their new cartoon “Yellow submarine”
In 1967, stereo was in its infancy, was perceived as a kind of architectural extravagance, trickery, and neither the musicians nor brought up in the old school producer George Martin seriously did not belong to him. Suffice it to say that, according to the testimony of the engineer of the album, Geoff Emerick, to monomix they spent three weeks, and on a much more technically complex the stereo mix, and the musicians in working on it almost did not participate.
What I have determined, perhaps, not a very respectful term “gamesmanship” was actually the result of naive childlike delight and ecstasy of opening horizons previously unseen technical innovations. Able to decompose all the sound channels were used in full measure — so that, for example, a leading voice exclusively on the left, and vocals — only on the right. As to the ultimate extreme was posted and instrumentation.
This was a certain charm, but it was so characteristic of the onset of the psychedelic surrealist vision of the world system of music. This is the same as, however, and held at the same time, experiments of Brian Wilson with the Beach Boys record or have recorded here at Abbey Road the first album Pink Floyd A Piper at the Gates of Dawn has laid the foundations for a revolutionary interpretation of the Studio as an equal instrument and element of the creative process. But on the other hand, the rampant, rampant games sonic experimentation strongly distorted the natural sound of the group.
However, as departure from the psychedelia and the return to the root, the foundations of rock (and here the Beatles were ahead of everyone: “Get Back Where You Belong!” — they have already proclaimed in 1969) charm gave way to irritation, and more and more among fans and critics has strengthened the view that the mono version of “Sergeant” in their artistic and expressive qualities clearly superior to become over decades of canonical stereo mix.
“Mono Sgt. Pepper sounds like a sharp, sharp and at times even disturbing statement. It’s not bloated to the excessive size of the bouquet of sweet-sickening floral scent, which is full stereo mix,” wrote a year ago, in honor of the 49-th anniversary of the album, critic of the Observer newspaper Tim Sommers.
He continues: “Instead of pretentious, crammed with LSD dreamworld mono version appears almost as a cynical reflection of its time. Mono-“Sergeant” is riddled with skepticism, mockery and sounds a lot more fateful”.
“This cynical, often aggressive burlesque the new age of Aquarius (Age of Aquarius — the name of one of the rooms released at the same time, in 1967, the rock musical “Hair” became a metaphorical symbol of the era of hippie — AK) is its naively optimistic praise” — Sommers concludes his analysis.
Giles Martin took the difficult and highly responsible task to create a new stereo mix of “Sergeant”
In light of these changing values and should be considered conducted by Giles Martin work to Remix the stereo mix of “Sergeant”.
“My idea consisted of “modifikacii” stereo, if I may say so, — he said in an interview with MOJO magazine. I wanted to move the vote closer to the center, making the sound more direct. In this “direct” sound of the Beatles obviously win”.
At the same time, Martin is well aware of lurking danger too radical changes. Even if the majority of the songs new mix sounds tighter and more powerful, in some cases, the approach had to be much more subtle.
“In the old stereo mix of A Day In The Life, for example, suddenly emerging from somewhere from the side, as if from nowhere, a voice sounds absolutely gorgeous, creating a mystical otherworldly feel to it. If you move it to the center, the picture will become much more flat and boring,” he says.
But in General such an approach, argues Martin, brings the sound of the Beatles to modern and makes them closer to a new generation of music lovers.
“Martin wanted to produce “three-dimensional mono” — and he did it. This “centralized stereo” sounds sharp, quick, forward. Music more tension and energy, it seems to be adapted to today’s ear,” reverent respect writes about the new work, the magazine Rolling Stone.
So, it seems that Martin, Jr. was able to remove laid half a century ago by his father and four Beatles, the conflict between the two versions of the same album to achieve Golden mean — the combination of modern sounding stereo with the energy and aggression of the original mono.
Seemed blasphemous to many at first intervention in the Canon caused almost unanimously enthusiastic response of the critics — all I’ve seen while reviews praised the reissue of the highest five stars.
Not happened to Liverpool album
It McCartney came in November 1966, the idea to create the album based on a fictional military orchestra of the Edwardian era of the early twentieth century
Another characteristic and forcing many to reconsider the feature of the reissue is the inclusion of both an audio and video associated with two non-album songs, Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane.
And although the idea to create an album based on a fictional military orchestra of the Edwardian era of the early twentieth century came to McCartney in the head in November 1966, the album, which some months later was to become the “Sergeant” started in November-December with record Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane.
After Christmas, Brian Epstein insisted on the need to release a new single. George Martin, well aware of the benefits of two new songs (“the best that has been done by the group so far”), yielded to pressure group Manager, and a single with two parties “And” released in the US 13th and in Britain on 17 February 1967.
According to the then existing “Beatles” logic, released as singles the songs in the album will never be included, and thus, both of the masterpiece was automatically eliminated from the future “Sergeant”.
Martin later called the decision “the worst mistake of my professional life.” It is largely allowed and Lennon, and others so scornfully about “the Sergeant”.
McCartney invented the “concept” was clearly flawed — except the title song and return to it at a second side of the album as a Reprise no other song to the idea of a military band any relation had.
To what extent Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane would fit in this concept — the issue is complex and controversial.
The other — far more interesting and important question is that Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane were able to lay the Foundation of completely different, has no relation to the “Sarge” concept.
The concept of this was that, starting from these two songs as the beginning, as the Foundation, two of the most brilliant of songwriters his time could pursue the idea of a kaleidoscopic, surreal and psychedelic recreation of the images of the people and places of his early childhood.
This concept fits quite well written informative still Liverpool youth 16-year-old McCartney When I’m 64, and stylistically and aesthetically — Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and A Day in the Life.
There is no sense to regret that Sgt. Pepper turned out the way it turned out.
But not happened, “the Liverpool album,” sincerely sorry.
Alas, those excellent grades, which is both comprehensive and design deserves a re-release, in no way do not belong to one more prepared for the anniversary release. This time not a musical, and cinematic.
“How sad that the anniversary of such a revolutionary album marked such a mediocre documentary” — in the hearts cried, the Times reviewer.
In cinemas today!! New film & footage ?on #TheBeatles #SgtPepper50 Special @AlanGParker1 Director Q&A tonight @CentralPictureH ?✨ pic.twitter.com/p3T6QwNZ5f
— ar:pr • F I L M P R (@arpublicity) May 26, 2017
Promotional poster for the film “It was 50 years ago! The Beatles: “Sgt pepper” and beyond”
We are talking about a published on may 26, the new documentary film “It was 50 years ago! The Beatles: “Sgt pepper” and beyond”. The title of the film, of course, refers to the first line of the first song of the album: “It was twenty years ago today // Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play”.
The film picks up the story exactly from the point that ended released last year, the band “Eight Days a Week” — the last tour of the US in August 1966, when a new, more serious songs were drowned in the hysterical screams of an ecstatic crowd, and the reactionary “Bible belt” of hit band with curses in connection with a careless statement Lennon compared the Beatles to Jesus Christ.
Between the beginning of the movie — August 1966 — and his late — August 1967, when the sudden death of Brian Epstein marked the beginning of a completely new phase in the life of the group, instead of 12 months associated primarily with the “Sergeant”.
The film is filled with “talking heads”. Many of them quite reputable witnesses: historians group Philip Norman and hunter Davies, the predecessor Ringo on drums Pete best, the sister of John Lennon by Julia Baird, sister of the wife of George Harrison Jenny Boyd… However, new information can be gleaned from all these interviews inveterate Beatles fan (and who else is interested in such a movie?), almost there.
Archival footage with the participation of the Beatles, of course, always a pleasure to watch. Especially fun to watch the dialogue-McCartney altercation with a journalist about who of these two is more responsible for the promotion of LSD — half, truthfully answered the question of the journalist, or the journalist who told this information to millions of people around the world.
The main and insurmountable drawback of the film by Alan George. Parker (not to be confused with namesake and namesake, the famous Alan William Parker, author of “Midnight Express” and pinkfloydish “Wall”) is that the Director and the producer failed to get the rights to the music group. As a result, in the 90-minute film about “the Sergeant” no one (!) note played by the Beatles. That is, priglyadno.
Liverpool “the passion of “Sergeant”
Well, it is impossible not to mention already happening in Liverpool’s Grand celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the album.
A harbinger of the celebration was the last weekend of the so-called “Overture”, and starting June 1 for 13 days — the number of songs on the album — every day in the city will host a special presentation, or otherwise associated with the song or inspired by it.
The range of genres, styles and scope of these representations as huge as the spread of the songs of the album. Here is the poster of the festival:
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band — dance group choreographer Mark Morris will show “Pepperland” — a special ballet to the music of the songs “Sergeant”.
With a Little Help From My Friends — the winner of the Turner Prize artist Jeremy Deller will present two specially prepared for the festival of the work on friendship and sacrifice. And 8 June 64 choirs from across Liverpool will come together in a citywide performance of the famous song.
The #French company will present a new work inspired by ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. #SgtPepper50https://t.co/7kaQj8Nn6L
— Your Move Magazine (@yourmovemag) May 25, 2017
Here is a special light show by French pyrotechnics team of GroupeF prepared for submission to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds — the French group of the pyrotechnics GroupeF and American composer-engineer Scott Gibson has prepared a special light show — “partly a performance, partly a narrative history, partly pyrotechnics”.
Getting Better is an American writer, composer and musician Paul Miller, known as DJ Spooky in his audiovisual installation asks the question: would the world be a better in these 50 years?
Fixing a Hole — the American artist Judy Chicago has responded to the lyrics with a huge painting on the wall of the Grand Elevator in the Liverpool Great Howard Street.
She’s Leaving Home — Liverpool youth theatre 20 Stories High right in a residential area of the city district of Toxteth will stage a performance about life in the fab houses.
The first performance of the original “Musical circus” by the American composer-avant-gardist John cage’s happened in the same year 1967 that the recording and release of “Sergeant”
Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite circus the contents of Lennon songs will reflect what is happening on the Racecourse Aintree Racecourse show with the participation of thousands of artists, musicians and local residents. Its basis is the anarchist “Musical circus” of John cage.
Within You Without You — June 11, concert hall St. George’s Hall will become the center inspired this song George Harrison Indian music and culture. Throughout the day the hall is filled with Indian music, dance, yoga and, of course, food.
Lovely Rita is an Australian actress, dancer and cabaret singer Melissa Madden gray, also known under the artistic name meow meow, heading consisting of 300 participants in the parade on one of the main streets of Liverpool’s hope street, which will end with a special performance in honor “pretty Rita” are eager to hang the fines for improper Parking negligent motorists.
Good Morning Good Morning — in full accordance with the title to enjoy dedicated the song submissions will only be early morning from 7 to 9 am on 9 June. Theaters, clubs, cabarets and concert halls of the city will prepare this morning to those who rise early, their not pre-announced surprises.
Reprise — the repetition of the idea of “the Beatles”, “hiding” under the pseudonym “the orchestra of Club of lonely hearts Sergeant pepper”: unknown “lead artist” will perform in the unknown room. Only known date — 9 June.
A Day in the Life — a documentary film by screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Director Karl hunter on “one day”, 24 hours in the life of Liverpool.
Here such “a Passion for the Sergeant,” notes the city “the Beatles” the anniversary of the great album.
Alexander Kahn, columnist for culture.