If you don’t already have “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” buy it now.
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Forty years ago the Beatles’ seminal album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was released. I can’t gush about how I consider it the best album ever because I reserve that title for Kid A, but I can talk about my relationship with Sgt. Pepper’s and some of what it has personally meant to me.
When describing my position as a popular music aficionado I often claim I am at heart a Beatles baby because when I was about eight or nine, and really began to start loving music, it was through the Beatles. One of the defining moments that I remember was a weekend when Tucson’s now defunct 92.9 KOOL FM played the Beatles for half an hour every other half hour. I remember enthusiastically recording many of these half hours on my handheld cassette player to listen to later.
Soon after I inquisitively rummaged through my parents record collection and discovered their original mono copy of “Sgt. Pepper’s” (complete with the original cardboard cutouts). This worn-out old record was the first album I really came to love and soon after it was also my first of far too many compact discs.
To this day “Sgt. Pepper’s,” along with almost of the Beatles’ middle and late catalogue, are perennial favorites in my collection and always function as a sort of charming musical relief from whatever stresses life throws at me. With time I’ve also learned to more greatly appreciate the musical depths in their work and this album. At first I was just drawn to the catchy melodies. Since then I’ve also fallen for the arrangements (to which I largely must credit George Martin), countermelodies, lyrical content, and – what has possibly been the most important in my compositional life – the restless searching experimentalism. Because of this I think that “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” along with most of the Beatles’ catalogue have aged particularly well and will probably continue to hold up just as well for decades to come.
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By the way, I’m taking part in the convocation for my Masters’ of Music in composition at McGill today. For those who are curious, or don’t know yet, I’ll be heading to the University of California at San Diego to start my Ph.D. in September.
Also, if you’re in Montreal and a friend or acquaintance that doesn’t already know about this, Denys Bouliane is throwing a party at his house tonight. The bus (!?!) loads at 17h30 in front of the Strathcona Music Building and returns downtown around 2h00 or 3h00.