Weekend video: It was 46 years ago today (actually, yesterday)

sgt-pepper-album-cover.jpgThe Beatles album "Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band” was released in the United States on June 1 in 1967, at the start of what would come to be called the Summer of Love. "A decisive moment in the history of Western civilisation," wrote the critic Kenneth Tynan. This from the Wikipedia entry:

Sgt. Pepper was a worldwide critical and commercial success, spending 27 weeks at the top of the UK Album Chart and 15 weeks at number one on the US Billboard 200. A seminal work in the emerging psychedelic rock style, the album was critically acclaimed upon release and won four Grammy Awards in 1968. With an estimated 32 million copies sold, it is one of the world's best selling albums. Sgt. Pepper is considered by many to be the most influential and famous rock album ever, and has been named the greatest album of all time by both All Time Top 1000 Albums and Rolling Stone.

Through the years, producer George Martin and various Beatles said that "Sgt. Pepper" was inspired by Brian Wilson's "Pet Sounds" for the Beach Boys. Another bit of local angle from Michael Walker's 2006 book, "Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock-and-Roll's Legendary Neighborhood:"

"I felt I had reached Nirvana," Graham Nash told me. "I was in love with Joni, we were living together in Laurel Canyon. I had this new relationship with David and Stephen, and it was producing music that was thrilling me to death. To be part of this boiling pot of music, twelve hours a day, every day? It was an amazing scene"...Ron Stone, Mitchell's former manager, has a clear memory of driving his Alfa Romeo up Laurel Canyon Boulevard and hearing song after song from Sgt. Pepper wafting down from the cabins and bungalows all the way home. "It was a magical time," he says.

Music writer Chris Morris posted this to his Tumblr on Saturday's anniversary:

Like every other 17-year-old in America, I heard “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” as soon as it was released on June 1, 1967. I recall vividly that a number of my friends collected at my buddy Todd’s house to play the LP. We turned the lights down and listened in awe as the last sustained piano chord in “A Day in the Life” reverberated and died.

I of course had to have my own copy, so I bought a mono edition of the record. I probably could have done just as well with the stereo version, but it didn’t make sense to me to purchase an LP I couldn’t play on the appropriate system. So mono it was. Like everyone else, I spun that platter incessantly that summer. It became a fixture in my college dorm room that fall – my roommate Jim had an inexpensive component system. I knew every note.

Sonic memory is a funny thing. I realized today, as I listened to first the stereo and then the mono CDs of “Sgt. Pepper,” that there are radical differences between the mixes, and I know the mono one best. All the fine points of that mix came back: the prominent keyboards at the conclusion of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” the huge bass sound on “Getting Better.” Some things that are nearly invisible on the stereo mix jump out, like Lennon’s command – “Leave it!” – at the end of “Lovely Rita.” The animal stampede that climaxes “Good Morning Good Morning” has a comedic richness lacking in the stereo rendering.

Morris continues.

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