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Author: Subject: The Beatles- Sgt. Peppers

Universal Peach



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  posted on 5/11/2017 at 05:59 AM
"How can you be dismissive towards, "When I'm Sixty Four"?

McCartney had a near duality of song-smithing abilities. "64" was of his Cole Porter side. "

I am not the biggest McCartney fan, and I don't listen to much Cole Porter. The "show tune" side of McCartney's catalog I can pretty much do without.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the Beatles later-era stuff, but I just don't have the same relationship to their music that some of you do. I grew up in a house where their music was never played. I don't think either of my parents own any Beatles albums.

This may be the key right here...

"it's awfully hard to compare Hendrix/Cream to The Beatles as they are totally different genres?"

Fair point, and I guess I just like the Hendrix/Cream genre a lot better.

That said, the Moody Blues Days Of Future Passed is a more apples vs. apples comparison, and give me that album over Sgt. Pepper's all day long.

 
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True Peach



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  posted on 5/11/2017 at 08:40 AM
Rob, you know there are many varieties of apples.

 

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  posted on 5/11/2017 at 05:22 PM
quote:
quote:
But looking back at rock history I don't think it can be said that the Beatles where head and shoulders above everyone else.

As for best album ever it might have been released in 1959. That album would be Miles Davis-Kind of Blue


Agree that Kind of Blue is one of the greatest albums ever and is definitely on my deser island lust

Maybe I'm biased because I remember watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan (I was 5), but yes, they were head and shoulders above everyone else throughout their career


I think that Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, and Bruce Springsteen are on the same level.

 

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  posted on 5/11/2017 at 05:37 PM
quote:
"How can you be dismissive towards, "When I'm Sixty Four"?

McCartney had a near duality of song-smithing abilities. "64" was of his Cole Porter side. "

I am not the biggest McCartney fan, and I don't listen to much Cole Porter. The "show tune" side of McCartney's catalog I can pretty much do without.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the Beatles later-era stuff, but I just don't have the same relationship to their music that some of you do. I grew up in a house where their music was never played. I don't think either of my parents own any Beatles albums.

This may be the key right here...

"it's awfully hard to compare Hendrix/Cream to The Beatles as they are totally different genres?"

Fair point, and I guess I just like the Hendrix/Cream genre a lot better.

That said, the Moody Blues Days Of Future Passed is a more apples vs. apples comparison, and give me that album over Sgt. Pepper's all day long.


I was going to mention Days of Future Passed as an album that I think is better. I grew up in a household that only had th Blue Album.

Other 1967 albums I prefer
Jimi Hendrix- Axis Bold As Love
The Doors- The Doors
Love- Forever Changes
Buffalo Springfield- Buffalo Springfield Again
The Who- The Who Sell Out

But I also think that The Velvet Underground and Nico is an overrated album

 

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  posted on 5/11/2017 at 06:07 PM
One thing becomes clear through the course of this thread - this was an astonishingly creative, ambitious and accomplished period for popular rock'n'roll-based music worldwide, one that may never be equalled or even approached, let alone surpassed.

 

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  posted on 5/11/2017 at 06:11 PM
quote:
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...out of curiosity, how old were you in 1967? not that that is a barometer of opinion validity

It is a barometer of knowing the social and political and world environment that the album came out in. And the perspective of ears that first heard it. Not that music is judged on context either.

Sgt Peppers could be a so-so album. I think it is a masterpiece. Is it a listening choice to bop to for me? No. It is a mood selection once a year or so and it sets me down in time to great music, by my standards and perceptions. When I play it I stop everything else. But I wouldn't say my take on it is "the analysis of fact and truth" Or start a thread lobbying for that. Just me though, and net forums are great for being, well, forums.






Actually, I think the age question is very relevant. Unless one is a student of the culture and the music of the times, judging a 50 year old album by today's standards totally removes the context during which it was issued, and that context is very important.

By today's standards, Robert Johnson's 78rpm recordings from the 1930's may not stand out that much from other 1930's recordings, but consider the impact they have had on the music we appreciate today.


These comments sum up this thread pretty good. Why nit pick over great music when you really don't have the perspective of the time period. Sgt. Peppers and Pet Sounds were ground breaking. Music like that will most likely never be made again.

 

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  posted on 5/11/2017 at 06:26 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
...out of curiosity, how old were you in 1967? not that that is a barometer of opinion validity

It is a barometer of knowing the social and political and world environment that the album came out in. And the perspective of ears that first heard it. Not that music is judged on context either.

Sgt Peppers could be a so-so album. I think it is a masterpiece. Is it a listening choice to bop to for me? No. It is a mood selection once a year or so and it sets me down in time to great music, by my standards and perceptions. When I play it I stop everything else. But I wouldn't say my take on it is "the analysis of fact and truth" Or start a thread lobbying for that. Just me though, and net forums are great for being, well, forums.






Actually, I think the age question is very relevant. Unless one is a student of the culture and the music of the times, judging a 50 year old album by today's standards totally removes the context during which it was issued, and that context is very important.

By today's standards, Robert Johnson's 78rpm recordings from the 1930's may not stand out that much from other 1930's recordings, but consider the impact they have had on the music we appreciate today.


These comments sum up this thread pretty good. Why nit pick over great music when you really don't have the perspective of the time period. Sgt. Peppers and Pet Sounds were ground breaking. Music like that will most likely never be made again.


I like to nitpick over great music because it gives me something to think about besides politics. Also this is a music forum so why not.

 

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  posted on 5/11/2017 at 06:40 PM
quote:
"... Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the Beatles later-era stuff, but I just don't have the same relationship to their music that some of you do. I grew up in a house where their music was never played. I don't think either of my parents own any Beatles albums.

This may be the key right here....


Out of curiosity, Rob - how old were you in 1967 and what types of music was played in your house?

I was 10. Mom listened to big bands (Miller, Dorsey et al). Daddy was a HUGE Hank Williams fan. Sisters listened to Supremes, girl groups and top 40. Brother was into Beatles, the Cream, Steppenwolf and other "heavier" stuff of the day. We didn't have Mozart or Miles. That might've been nice.

 

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  posted on 5/11/2017 at 09:10 PM
quote:


Out of curiosity, Rob - how old were you in 1967 and what types of music was played in your house?




This is a GREAT question and could be a new thread. In '67 I was 11. In my house, if my Dad was picking the music it would be Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Chet Atkins etc. If it was my Mom it would be Ferrante & Teicher, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams etc. My primary musical influence was my Aunt Yvonne, who was only 4 years older than I was and more like a big sister to me. She was tuned in to all the great music breaking onto the scene back then. Every time I would go to my Grandmother's house and she was there she would hand me a few albums and say "Hey Hank! What til you hear this stuff!!! Mom and Dad weren't pleased. I would run home and give it all a good listen and ride my bike back to Grandma's house every 2-3 days to see what else Auntie had for me to listen to. Jimi, Janis, Doors, Mountain, CSNY, Tull, Santana you name it I was getting full exposure and loving it. It all started when The Beatles hit the scene and she would lend me her 45's. It was the best. Lost her 5 years ago.
Damn I miss her. My opinion of Sgt. Peppers? A masterpiece. IMHO, of course. ;-)

 

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  posted on 5/12/2017 at 06:04 AM
Hey everyone, I was born in 1969, so I was not around to experience 1967 in person.

I would have a different perspective on that music if I had lived it first hand, but like IPowrie, all I can do is listen to the music.

There was definitely a lot of great music in 1967, so it's not some horrible insult to say Sgt. Pepper's isn't the best album of that year. That is definitely one of the best years for rock music. I almost forgot about The Doors and Forever Changes by Love. I enjoy both of those albums tremendously and would pick them over Sgt. Pepper's to have with me on a desert island.

To say something is overrated, it has to be incredibly popular in the first place. Sgt. Pepper's place in the rock and roll firmament is well established, and if IPowrie and I think it isn't quite as good as it's cracked up to be, that doesn't make it any less awesome.

Last but not least, I want to emphasize the positive and say that A Day In The Life and Within You Without You are amazing songs. Those two songs are worth all the praise anybody can give them, quite possibly the two best Beatles songs ever.

 
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  posted on 5/12/2017 at 10:11 AM
Rob - I wasn't trying to be obtuse or anything. I was just curious to know what types of music played in your household when you were growing up.

Timeness, proximity, surroundings and peer pressure- all of these things can factor in to our personal tastes. At least sometimes.

When I moved to Birmingham from Atlanta - still in high school - I was already a BIG Allman Brother's Band fan. I found friends in a group of guys who were damn good guitar players. The Allman Brothers just wasn't in their taste range. I got ... teased a little for being fans of music that they perceived as being "southern, redneck" stuff.

A few years ago I met a young guy (maybe 17 years old) who saw Jimi Hendrix as "a bunch of over-driven, too-loud-gimicky garbage". This kid was also a pretty decent player.

It's always puzzled me how ANYBODY - especially a guitar player could be so dismissive of either of these two of my personal favorites.

I ran into the "head honcho" of my high school group a while back. His tastes had changed over the years. He told me that he was wrong about his perception of the Allmans and that Warren Haynes was one of his guitar heroes. I don't know where the 17 year old is these days, but I'd be willing to bet that his ideas have changed as well.

I've always been puzzled to read or hear where a "hero" of mine doesn't care for something that I deem to be a solid piece of work. Ann Sandlin posted on this forum a few years ago that Johnny pretty much considered the Beach Boys (all of their stuff) to be garbage. As much as I love and respect Johnny and his entire canon of work - this just perplexed me. Even the bubblegum side of the Beach Boys (to me) has its merits.

As a musician, I am a bona-fide first-rate hack. I only know a little. I do have experience in audio/video recording and am fairly well-versed on technique and gear. This is probably the angle that gives me the most appreciation for Sgt. Pepper's.

But there is some pretty good song-writing structure in all of those tunes as well.
There is none of that "three verses of "baby-baby" and a hook chorus". Even a song like "64" has some some pretty neat structure to it.

Beyond this, the structure and format of the album in its entirety is an early forerunner to the "collage style" albums from artists like Radiohead, Wilco and others (Pink Floyd was probably already there).

Having said all of this, I'll concede that taste can be a matter of ... taste.

Great topic and thread for discussion! I'll shut up now.

 

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  posted on 5/12/2017 at 11:52 AM
quote:
Hey everyone, I was born in 1969, so I was not around to experience 1967 in person.

I would have a different perspective on that music if I had lived it first hand, but like IPowrie, all I can do is listen to the music.

There was definitely a lot of great music in 1967, so it's not some horrible insult to say Sgt. Pepper's isn't the best album of that year. That is definitely one of the best years for rock music. I almost forgot about The Doors and Forever Changes by Love. I enjoy both of those albums tremendously and would pick them over Sgt. Pepper's to have with me on a desert island.




So, as I said above if you were old enough to review Sgt. Pepper or any of the other significant releases in 1967, you might have had a very different take than you do not having lived back in the day.

Since you mentioned The Doors, think about the fact that it was hard to find a radio station that would play the full length version of Light My Fire. Or even one year later, to hear the full Inna Gadda Da Vida by Iron Butterfly. In that respect, The Doors broke ground for the ABB before they were formed. Light My Fire was cut down for AM radio play.

Could the Allman's have released a 3:30 minute version of Whipping Post?

So now imagine that radio was our primary source for new music, and how much power that gave the stations and DJ's... when DJ's could actually choose the music they played. I do not recall Jimi getting much AM radio time. Since FM was just beginning to be a source for "underground" music, his exposure was comparatively limited.

Context is VERY important...

 

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  posted on 5/12/2017 at 12:54 PM
Greil Marcus's essay in The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll excellently captures the context in which Sgt. Pepper was released:

The first pop explosion, beginning in 1955 and 1956, began to yield to normalcy by about 1957. The Beatles’ event, beyond all expectations save perhaps their own, intensified not only in momentum but in magnetism, reaching more and more people with greater and greater mythic and emotional power, for at least four years. The Beatles affected not only the feel but the quality of life—they deepened it, sharpened it, brightened it, not merely as a factor in the cultural scheme, but as a presence.

Their event reached its height, and in many ways its effective end, with the release of Sgt. Pepper on June 2nd, 1967. For months, rumors had swept the pop world that the Beatles were engaged in an historic project that would sum up, and transcend, all that had been accomplished in the previous four years. In February a single, “Penny Lane”/”Strawberry Fields Forever,” was released (if this extraordinary music was merely a taste of what the Beatles were up to, what would the album be like?) and then, in the spring, tapes leaked out. A strange, maddening song called “A Day in the Life Of” was played on the radio and quickly withdrawn. Tension and speculation grew. It was said (correctly) that the new LP had taken 700 hours to record, as opposed to 12 hours for the Beatles’ first; that it included astonishingly experimental techniques, huge orchestras, 100-voice choirs. Stories began to appear not only in the pop press but in the daily papers. The record, unheard, was everywhere.

Then the announcement was made. The record would be released for airplay on Sunday midnight, one week before appearing in the stores; any station putting the disc on the air even one minute before the assigned air time would find all forthcoming prerelease airing privileges forever withheld. The fact that many stations habitually went off the air at Sunday midnight in order to service their transmitters, was of no consequence—or perhaps, from the perspective of Brian Epstein and the Beatles, it was a challenge. At any rate, the stations stayed on. They played the record all night and all the next day, vying to see which station could play it the longest, putting in calls to John and Paul in London that never went through, tracking every last second of the endless final chord of “A Day in the Life” (no “Of,” as it turned out), generating an unprecedented sense of public euphoria, excitement, satisfaction, and joy.

Almost immediately, Sgt. Pepper was certified as proof that the Beatles’ music—or at least this album—was Art. But what mattered was the conscious creation of event—the way in which the summing-up-the-spirit-of-the-times style of the music (which for the most part has not survived its time) was perfectly congruent with the organizing-the-spirit-of-the-times manner in which the album was released and received. Which is to say that Sgt. Pepper, as the most brilliantly orchestrated manipulation of a cultural audience in pop history, was nothing less than a small pop explosion in and of itself. The music was not great art; the event, in its intensification of the ability to respond, was.

“The closest Western Civilization has come to unity since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 was the week the Sgt. Pepper album was released,” Langdon Winner wrote in 1968. “In every city in Europe and America the stereo systems and the radio played, ‘What would you think if I sang out of tune… Woke up, got out of bed… looked much older, and the bag across her shoulder… in the sky with diamonds, Lucy in the…’ and everyone listened. At the time I happened to be driving across country on Interstate 80. In each city where I stopped for gas or food—Laramie, Ogallala, Moline, South Bend—the melodies wafted in from some far-off transistor radio or portable hi-fi. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard. For a brief while the irreparably fragmented consciousness of the West was uni­fied, at least in the minds of the young.”

And so it seemed as if the world really did turn around the Beatles, even if the truth was that this music, as opposed to this event, represented that point at which the Beatles began to be formed more by the times than the other way around. In the next few months Brian Epstein would die, and the Beatles, who had unified the young, would themselves begin to fragment—anticipating, as usual, the fragmentation that in years to come would separate the audience they had created. Still, if Sgt. Pepper was an ending, it was an ending that has never been matched. It was perhaps in the nature of the game that it would be all downhill from there.

 
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  posted on 5/12/2017 at 01:04 PM
To say Sgt. Pepper is the best rock album, or best Beatles album, or best 1967..... all are ludicrous, to give credit to some of OP's original message, so I do agree, sort of. But to call anything of any form, "the best" either reeks of pompous self righteousness in opinion worth, or puts an evil hex mojo on whatever you just nominated.....

Not best, but personal choice ones for me:

Fav Beatles: Abbey Road

Fav 1967: Tie: Disraeli Gears & The Doors. They OWN 1967 in totality, incense, flower, and groovy... and all cuts good. Hold up today. Sorry Pepper, #3 for me. Equally as good as Doors and Cream, but Doors and Cream were eleven years old... hand held AM...... Nam..... Riots.... Hippies....... LBJ and B17's..... KKK...... more riots..... oh yes, peace and love sure...... Pot...... Sunshine of Your Love...... Light MY Fire..... islands of sanity in the crossfire of bullets and day glow of posters..... context...........

 

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  posted on 5/12/2017 at 01:10 PM
Context is everything. Sgt. Pepper was truly revolutionary, artistically as well as culturally. It was the first of its kind to break out of the psychedelic underground. It was a direct threat to the Establishment, the pop culture equivalent of a nuke. Lucy In the Sky, Help From My Friends, and She's Leaving Home were banned. As in an above post, it was Kingston Trio at our house. My dad wouldn't allow my big brother to hear Sgt. Pepper until he bought it and carefully listened to it through 3 or 4 times. I remember him sitting there, poring over every word and note, then having a huge argument with my mom, with words like communist and brainwashing and drug fiend being thrown around. They finally allowed it, and sure enough all hell broke loose and we became crazed longhaired rockers. Dad was right.

You wet-eared whippersnappers have zero clue the beast we faced when this stuff first started happening. Zero. We met some pretty serious resistance.

 

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  posted on 5/12/2017 at 01:12 PM
Another classic from 1967 is Moby Grape's self-titled first album. Ten of the thirteen songs were released as five singles on the same day the album was released.
 
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  posted on 5/12/2017 at 01:17 PM
Where's the love for Lovely Rita?
 

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  posted on 5/12/2017 at 01:54 PM
Love the 1967 self titled debut by Moby Grape. Thanks for mentioning it.

 

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  posted on 5/12/2017 at 02:05 PM
Great topic and thread.

Pepper was released when I was 16 years old. I had already completely enjoyed the pop-rock Beatles era and now was totally being blown away by the progressive rock that was appearing on FM radio (matching the high octane political/cultural transitions of the era). Like other great artists such as Picasso, Miles Davis and Dylan, the Beatles were energized in their craft and willing to take risks. Rubber Soul and Revolver had opened the creative doors and Pepper was the continuation. I was right there with them, so ready and willing to take things to a new plane. Pepper became part of my musical DNA and would always be fondly regarded.

It is fun now to look back and see how the musical relationship and perspective have evolved. Day in the Life and Within You and Without You remain immensely creative pieces and will probably be viewed that way artistically forever. Lucy and Mr. Kite are just a step below them. Good Morning/Lovely Rita probably another step below that but still fun stuff. With a Little Help from My Friends, Fixin' a Hole and Getting Better project as cool attitude pieces and are good musically. The two Pepper Band tracks are nice rockers and of course do the job of setting the theme and providing a lead out for the album finale. She's Leaving Home is contextual successor to Eleanor Rigby. When I'm 64 can be an enjoyable ditty if you can tolerate English dance hall music which makes it unique in itself.

Even now the individual songs still have some legs and as a cohesive song group, supported the Beatles creative attempt to get beyond their previous selves in the context of this alter ego band.

How does it compare in retrospect to that era? Was it the best? Are You Experienced, The Doors, and The Who Sell Out are all massively creative albums from the time that are still so fresh and listenable. Does it matter when each of these performers has climbed their own personal Everest?

[Edited on 5/14/2017 by dzobo]

 

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  posted on 5/13/2017 at 06:41 AM
quote:
Context is everything. Sgt. Pepper was truly revolutionary, artistically as well as culturally. It was the first of its kind to break out of the psychedelic underground. It was a direct threat to the Establishment, the pop culture equivalent of a nuke. Lucy In the Sky, Help From My Friends, and She's Leaving Home were banned. As in an above post, it was Kingston Trio at our house. My dad wouldn't allow my big brother to hear Sgt. Pepper until he bought it and carefully listened to it through 3 or 4 times. I remember him sitting there, poring over every word and note, then having a huge argument with my mom, with words like communist and brainwashing and drug fiend being thrown around. They finally allowed it, and sure enough all hell broke loose and we became crazed longhaired rockers. Dad was right.

You wet-eared whippersnappers have zero clue the beast we faced when this stuff first started happening. Zero. We met some pretty serious resistance.


So the documentaries I've watched about the era have told me.I know my parents didn't like everything I liked growing up but I was never accused of any of that stuff you mentioned.

 

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  posted on 5/13/2017 at 10:32 AM
Moody Blues- Days of Future Passed

Just finished listening to this and it was a great listen. None of the tracks on this album come across as filler What I loved is that they segued the songs using the orchestra so each album side was more or less a suite. This album to me sounds like it is the soundtrack to someone's day.

The song the sunset just blew me away. It sounded to me that they used a talking drum (does anybody know) and had a world feel to it. Forever Afternoon and Nights in White Satin are classic songs.

Why I like this album 't better than Sgt Peppers is it has no filler. The other reason is that I love the segues (thanks jam bands). It gives the album a flow that Sgt.Peppers doesn't have

 

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  posted on 5/13/2017 at 10:50 AM
Whether or not Sgt Pepper sucked or not is purely a subjective matter. The 1960s is remembered as the Flower Power Era, but that view is based on the media amplification of the small counterculture minority. America was totally straight and conservative in the 60s. It wasn't until Sgt Pepper invaded the mainstream that rock music became a genuine threat to the status quo. The counterculture explosion, Woodstock, was late 60s early 70s, post-Pepper. The only other group with a similar similar social and political impact was Jefferson Airplane, but their big hit Somebody to Love on AM radio was an echo of the faraway Haight Ashbury, unlike Sgt Pepper that reprogrammed Western Civilization. The impact of that record was probably the single most powerful event in pop culture history.

 

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  posted on 5/13/2017 at 01:23 PM
Context:
The Beatles were considered, and stereotyped as kids in a sense.... the mopheads from Liverpool. So they were bucking all that with Revolver and Rubber Soul a bit before that, but Sgt. Pepper was an exclamation point of "We are the new Beatles" and they were a new, hip, getting high, not your parents Beatles.

They made Beatles Cards. Like baseball cards. Front pics, with back info and such...... I had one that had an artists rendition of aging Beatles in their 60's. It was incomprehensible and funny. They were youth. So to me, McCartney singing When I'm 64 was a tip of the hat to the notion that even Beatles age also.

But the perception that Sgt. Pepper has "filler" is actually one that makes me sad. Sad that people may not have been there then. That parts of that album don't make sense in a today world. Sad that I was there and went on Bleecker Street as a kid sneaking over the river and felt 1967 and heard Beatles on sidewalks. Oh well. Filler. Right, mate.

The Moody Blues: in 1967 they were acceptable rock. Peoples mothers liked Nights in White Satin fer chrisakes. I don't think the Chicago Seven played it much. I have it. I like it. Did it shake up the world and rate every mainstream publication outside of the music world mentioning it? Nope. But my friends mom liked Nights a lot. That dog nipping Context thing again.

There only is context when there is context. Imagining context is like reading a Civil War novel.

 

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  posted on 5/13/2017 at 02:09 PM
bird72, you are correct.

I am a huge fan of "Days of the Future Passed", but it was adult contemporary before we were ready for adult contemporary! My mom did love that album! If you wanted to use music to rebel against your parents, this was not it!

I have a funny story relating to "Days of the Future Passed":

About 25 years ago, I was working on a video that pertained to building codes. The chief consultant over this project was an architect (the stereotypical stuffy, pompous type). He was also a tenor in a classical music trio that performed at churches and other "stuffy" venues. He accompanied me to a construction site where we were to shoot some hurricane straps being installed.

The workers on this site were listening to a radio tuned to a classic rock station. As we pulled up to the site, I could hear the ending of the vocal part of Nights in White Satin. The symphonic parts followed.

We were only there for a couple of minutes. As we were leaving, he turned to the workers - a bunch of Skynard-ish looking types and said to them, "keep listening to this beautiful music, gentlemen". The next song out of the radio station was "Hair of the Dog" (aka "Now You're Messin' with a Son of a Bitch") by Nazareth. You should've seen the expression on his face change!

 

____________________
Music is love, and love is music, if you know what I mean.
People who believe in music are the happiest people I've ever seen.

Bill Ector, Randy Stephens, Dan Hills and a guy named BobO who I never met - Forever in my heart!

 

Peach Extraordinaire



Karma:
Posts: 4692
(4692 all sites)
Registered: 7/18/2010
Status: Offline

  posted on 5/13/2017 at 03:21 PM

quote:
. . .the perception that Sgt. Pepper has "filler" is actually one that makes me sad. Sad that people may not have been there then. That parts of that album don't make sense in a today world. Sad that I was there and went on Bleecker Street as a kid sneaking over the river and felt 1967 and heard Beatles on sidewalks. Oh well. Filler. Right, mate.


We were talking
About the love that's gone so cold
And the people
Who gain the world and lose their soul
They don't know, they can't see
Are you one of them?

 
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