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It was twenty years ago, twenty years ago today. - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
June 2nd, 2007
07:53 am


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It was twenty years ago, twenty years ago today.

It was twenty years ago today
Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play
They've been going in and out of style
But they're guaranteed to raise a smile

June 1st, 1967 in the UK and June 2nd in the US, after having retired from touring in 1966, The Beatles released something a departure album for them. Up until that point, they would take a few days to lay down each track, and in three months, they'd have another record ready. But, finding live performances stifling, they decided to make an album of music that wouldn't have to be performed live. Tracks took entire weeks to create (orchestrate!), and the album was received by an eager public, debuting at #8, then going to #1 for the next 23 weeks.

There were no singles released with the album, so DJs had to play album cuts, if they were going to play anything off the album at all. Many DJs were worried about references to drugs in the lyrics.

It can be claimed that this was the advent of "serious rock" and the "concept album". (Although McCartney likened it to Frank Zappa's "Freak Out!" album, which may be a better candidate.)

The album cover was unique, too - having the lyrics printed on the back cover, which had not been done before on a pop LP. The front had over 70 figures, largely inspirations to the band. The collage cost nearly £3000 to shoot - around 100 times what a typical album cover cost. After the cover art was created, EMI's legal department sought permission from those pictured. Mae West balked at first, but was convinced by a personal letter from the Beatles. Mohandas Gandhi was part of the original artwork, but was decided to be too risky, so he was covered up by a palm tree.

The album was certified gold within two weeks, and remains a landmark of contemporary culture.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:June 2nd, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
Hey! I've never been a big Beatles fan, but that was interesting stuff I didn't know. Thanks!
[User Picture]
Date:June 2nd, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
and i have it. on vinyl.

and there were supposedly lots of 'Paul is Dead' clues in the cover as well. wikipedia lays them all out nicely. :)
[User Picture]
Date:June 3rd, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC)
I love listening to this guy talk - this is a transcript of a talk he gave that was at least a bit about "Paul is Dead":

[User Picture]
Date:June 3rd, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC)
This has always been one of my favorite album covers. Looking closely, I wonder if the clothing style on those 4 characters down in the front center influenced Mr Jeff Miller's choice for our new band uniforms during our senior year...one of which my child will be wearing this fall.

I did not know the bit about Mohandas Gandhi. Interesting!
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