“It was ‘fifty’ years ago today”
“Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play”
[ errrr, wait .. that’s not right ]
But it was 50 years ago today, June 2nd, 1967 that The Beatles dropped their eighth studio album onto America.
While praised by many as the first ‘concept album’, that is not really quite accurate as the ‘concept’ only relates to the imagery of the album cover, as book-ended by the title track and the repetitive refrains of the final track. The rest of the songs could just as easily have meshed into the earlier ‘Revolver’, or the follow-up LP, ‘Magical Mystery Tour’. 1969’s ‘Tommy’ from The Who is a far better definition of the first concept album.
Nonetheless, Sgt. Pepper was received by fans and critics as an album. Not judged by the latest single, but as a whole compilation. With the release of Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles completed the transition begun on Rubber Soul, to that of album artists.
Sgt. Pepper’s true contribution to music history, is in cementing the notion of ‘the album’. Prior to Pepper, music consumers were more likely to purchase the latest forty-five. Sgt. Pepper made the purchase of the album a requisite. Sgt. Pepper didn’t teach the band to play, it taught the listener how to buy.
From Sgt. Pepper 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition:
The Beatles – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Take 1):