01 Feb 1967: Beatles Begin Work On “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
Also on this day, the Beatles were busy recording the lead and backing vocals for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.
The album of the same title was a concept proposed by McCartney, whose idea was to create a fictitious band to enable the band to drastically change their sound. The title song, recorded on February 1st and 2nd, 1967, is in the vein of psychedelic hard rock. This style was apparently inspired by Cream guitarist Jimi Hendrix, who McCartney had seen perform only two nights earlier. Their take on his style must have impressed Hendrix, as he opened with “Pepper” at a live show in London just two days after the albums release (see the below video).
The song itself is largely a Paul McCartney composition although all of the members of the band played their parts in its recording. The entire album is considered very experimental, both in terms of instruments and the technology used to record and edit them. It is also the first pop album to be mixed without the customary gaps between songs, making the album feel more like a flowing live performance.
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” suffered from some poor reviews due to it’s drastic change in the band’s sound and lack of airtime due to it’s numerous alleged references to drug-taking, despite its immediate commercial success, debuting at number 1 in the uk. Later however, the album racked up a huge number of positive reviews and was lauded as one of the Beatles best albums and one of the best albums in the psychedelic genre. Other reviews praise it for it’s eclectic list of different sounds and genres, such as rock and roll, big band, circus, piano jazz, blues and both Indian and Western classical styles. It is now remembered fondly in articles alongside terms like revolutionary, iconic and masterpiece.