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Thursday, 01 June 2017


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No record transports me so instantly back to my university days as Sergeant Pepper. Still sounds fresh 50 years on. It was a dreamy summer!

Clues and evidence of Paul's death were out well before 1969. In fact the funeral scene on Sgt. Pepper's was not even the first clue, and that came out in 1967. As you said, it was 50 years ago today!

Here are just a few of the audio clues from Beatles albums: "He blew his mind out in a car." "Paul is dead. Miss him, miss him, miss him." "I bury Paul." "Here's another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul." "Turn me on dead man."

Yes, probably like most people my age who heard this fun fact today my mind cycled through the following thoughts.

1. Has it REALLY been that long? (Start counting...). Yup, sure 'nuff, it has.
2. Damn, no wonder my skin doesn't look so great any more. I miss my hair, too.
3. It's nearing my nap time.

Eee, I remember buying the first CD release when it was "only twenty years ago today"

I felt plenty old enough on 24th March, 2013 - the 40th anniversary of the release of Dark Side of the Moon!

Ringo wasn't an original Beatle. Pete Best was the first drummer

I was born in February 1947, Mike, which means my high school years were 1960-64. Can you imagine what it was like? Portable transistor radios were just coming into use then (lovely big Japanese ones, National, now Panasonic) in leather cases, all knobs and dials. I was at a boarding school and all the rich farmers sons' parents brought them back from Singapore and Port Said.

In 1962,63,64, it used to be that we could listen to a Beatles song on one radio station, then when it finished, tune along the dial and there'd be another one, and another and so on. And this was out in the country in a relatively small town. Radio was big then.

We loved those early LPs. They cost more than I could afford, £2/12/6d in pre-dollar currency ($5.25), but I used to say that they were great value because every track was a winner, not like other artists where only one or two were hits. Anyway, who owned a gramophone? There was not even stereo then.

I can remember where I was when Sgt Pepper came out. I bought it (I was working by then, and building hi-fi amps), but for some reason I sold it again. No matter, I've got every Beatles album on CDs now. Hundreds of hits!

Pete Best would disagree on the living original beatle. 😉

Um - It's disputable whether Paul has died, but Pete Best is still kicking these days.

If I pull out Sgt Pepper it's just going to lead to Revolver and that means Rubber Soul is going to land on the wheel of steel and before you know it the weekend is gone.
You know how this ends. It always plays out like this.

Yes, 50 years. A good part of a lifetime ago.Times good when your having flies.

"Paul is dead" -> the original "fake news"!

I am pretty sure that the first copy of Sgt. Peppers that I bought was monaural (HiFi!) and I wore it out playing it on a simple record player that used something resembling a nail as a "stylus". I was playing in a rock band back then (Junior High) playing songs like Paperback Writer. Realizing that it was 50 years ago sure makes me feel old!

The only other album that I remember having the same impact on me back then was "Are You Experienced" by Jimi Hendrix. Both records were "disruptive" in their own way when they came out. It's hard for people who weren't around back then to appreciate how radical these records sounded to us back then. Now bands can do the kind of tricks that were incorporated into Sgt. Peppers by torturing a 4 track tape recorder, by clicking a mouse on computer.

I don't remember ever hearing the "glitch" after the end of A Day In The Life but there it is on the original (via Amazon). How did I miss it?

I do remember that there was no gap between Good Morning Good Morning and A Day In The Life.

I also remember the time, location and car I was driving when I first heard A Day In the Life and it's long sustained ending. First I laughed because it obviously (to me) had something to do with being high. Then I laughed again because every top 40 radio station was going to have to decide what to do with it -- play the whole thing or truncate it and make some public excuse for doing so. AOR (Album Oriented Rock) was still in its infancy.

1967 was a very good year. I knew a Beatles album was going to be released/was released for a while, but I was hitchhiking. June 1 I was in Ouarrzazate, Morocco after coming through Spain and Portugal. The previous winter I had worked in Munich, so I could ski the Alps each weekend, so I had been in Europe about a year. Between June 1 and about August 20, when I heard the album for the first time on a beach in Denmark, I travelled through Algeria during the 6 Day War, then Tunisia, Italy, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and West Germany. In youth hostels and cheap hotels I heard about the album and once even saw it, but nobody had the means to play it within my hearing. Then, near Nyborg, some Danish girls I met had brought a record player to the beach and played it. Once, twice, I don't know how many times. For hours. It was a good time.

I took a number of my favourite photos that year. My creativity, while hardly on a level near that of the Beatles, was also getting a workout.

By 'the blip on the end of A day in the life' do you mean the extremely famous thing in the run-out groove? Because that was very definitely there on the original record. I'm not sure if I have heard the new mix -- there is something called the 'deluxe' version on Spotify which may be it, and both it and the other version there have the run-out groove.

If that is it then either you (Mike) never heard the original LP, which I think can't be true, or US pressings didn't have the sound in the run-out groove.

(Also, if the Spotify 'deluxe' version is the new mix, yuk: the old everything-hard-left-or-hard-right-and-obviously-made-on-about-three-tracks mixes of Beatles albums were things of beauty, purity and minimalism when compared to modern mixes, in the same way a Nikon F1 is when compared to a moden DSLR with its vast encrustations of knobs and menus.)

[If I find the album I'll pull it out and see, but I'm fairly certain it's not on the US version of the LP because I would have remembered it. --Mike]

Wow, did you just use "She's Leaving Home" as an example of a good McCartney song?

And, yes, the run-out groove was always there on the original UK record. The USA desecrated Beatles albums and so cannot be used as a standard by which to judge them.

Personally, I like the effect on vinyl, deflating the pomposity of "A Day in the Life". Like "Her Majesty".

The end of Day in the Life is brilliant. The groove on the lp circles in on itself creating a loop and the album literally does not end. You can't do that with digital media. McCartney in particular was interested in Stockhausen and musique concrete - the influence for this idea. This is a good reminder for those who chastise him for Rockey Raccoon, which is intended to be as authentic as a Warhol soup can.

"She's Leaving Home" is arguably the worst song on "Sgt Pepper." OTOH, I have always felt that both the intro and reprise of "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" are amongst the best and most original songs on the album. Such wonderfully dissonant chords.

On the subject of Paul, he was responsible for some of the Beatles' greatest and worst songs. Such is genius. It's worth noting that not everything written by Bach and Beethoven is great either. Paul's post-Beatles career has been dismissed by some as pure drivel. Well amongst the drivel are some absolute gems, the sort of stuff that no other pop composer could ever touch.

I'm not sure how many people will recall, but the original Sgt. Peppers was recorded, mixed and released in glorious mono (as were all Beatles albums). When the remastered mono vinyl box set was released a few years ago, numerous critics praised it as being superior to the stereo version because it was true to the Beatles' and Martin's original vision. I won't jump into that debate - all I can say is that my copy of that mono box set, and Sgt. Peppers in particular, sounds glorious.

The mono vinyl reissue has the closed groove at the end, and I'm given to understand that it's a fairly faithful reproduction of the original UK Parlophone release, without the low end roll off they had to use on the original to accommodate less than wonderful playback equipment.

Apparently there is a low frequency tone in there too. Not that I would notice that!

The mid-1990s UK stereo CD version I have, IIRC, just tacks the run out on the end of the last track.

The original US release may not have had that though. Don't have one to compare to.

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