Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released on June 1, 1967, so this is a little late for a happy-41st birthday post. But then I was late getting to it in the first place. I spent the summer of 1969, when I was 6 going on 7, listening to it all day every day – and I mean that pretty literally. That was what I did that summer. Got to know the album pretty well (so did my mother, who wasn’t quite so enthralled). Someone gave my parents a copy of Sgt Pepper and they didn’t want it, so it got passed on to me (or appropriated by me, really).
Before the Beatles the most exciting record I had heard was Oscar Brant singing risqué folksongs (I still remember a lot of the lyrics). This was way better. Plus I got to write all over the cover, labelling the Beatles incorrectly and then crossing things out and writing more. The inside cover with the yellow background didn’t have a yellow background for long, let’s just put it that way.
I spent the entire summer of 1969 – and I do mean everyday – listening to it. I was six going on seven and that was what I just HAD to do. Iy was the most amazing thing i had ever heard. We had other records of course but they were either classical or a boxed collection of world music from the UN (which was pretty good) or Oscar Brant singing risqué folksongs (which I memorized as best I could, in fact I still remember a lot of the lyrics today).Sgt Pepper really was the best though. I loved looking at the cover too. I wrote all over it as well, trying to label each Beatle. Got them wrong and had to cross everything out.
After this, I discovered the Beatles cartoon on Saturday mornings, which was about the only time you got to see cartoons back then. The best part of these was the Beatles song that got played. I remember hearing “And Your Bird Can Sing” on the show and thinking, this group is absolutely the best. Not that it was all that hard to top Miss Louise on “Romper Room” singing the Do-Bee song and exhorting children to walk around with the red Romper Room plastic-basket thing on their heads to promote good posture. But still!
I wish I still had the Sgt Pepper record. Now we just have CDs, and they’re convenient and sound good but really, no fun at all. And there’s not enough doodling space on them, either. Just in case you need to label who’s John and who’s not John!
Image from Wikimedia Commons.