Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

This may be the most famous album cover in history. It combined a great concept, a game and a bit of intrigue. The idea of including a collage of famous faces as if it was a group picture was a great idea. Add to that the fun of trying to identify everyone and you already have one of the best covers ever. But what really puts it over the top are its clues to the "Paul is Dead" hoax. I had a friend in high school who had a Sgt Pepper's poster hanging upside down on her wall. When I asked why it was inverted, she said, "To make you think about it." It was a good idea, because Sgt Pepper's is certainly something to think about.

The Sgt Pepper's cover has also been copied several times. Frank Zappa parodied it inside the gatefold of his We're Only In It For the Money album. The great punk compilation Burning Ambitions: A History of Punk also lampooned it.



Blogger David Amulet said...

It was a remarkable concept. Like many covers (not all, but most), it works much, much better on vinyl than for CDs!

-- david

May 24, 2007 at 5:35 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

So did Mad magazine, as far as lampooning it.

Yeah, I know I stared at it when I was younger and couldn't take my eyes away. When I got it on CD for Christmas, we all gathered around the CD and played the game for fun. But David's right, the miniature version isn't as easy to grasp and appreciate as on vinyl.

May 24, 2007 at 6:02 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

I have always shyed away from the Beatles. Largely because so many people put them on such a pedestal. I guess I have always associated them as being a band for rock snobs largely due to some people in school who used to go on and on about them.

May 24, 2007 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

This is one of those covers that you could look at over and over again and notice something different each time you had a look. The Beatles are one of my favorite bands. It is hard for me to imagine where music would be today, if we would not have had bands like the Beatles. While this is not my favorite album by them, I still like to give it a listen now and then.

May 24, 2007 at 10:20 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

David - I'm totally with you on the vinyl thing. It is the prefered format for me and I still try to buy as much stuff on vinyl as I can (even new stuff).

Ray - I don't remember the Mad magazine version. I did a quick google search to see if I could find an image to post, but didn't find anything. If you have an image, let me know and I'll update my post.

Mark - The Beatles are on a pedestal for a reason. Rock music would completely different without them. I know that you believe I'm a rock snob and that may be true, but it stems from a passion for music and a desire to look beyond face value. Even so, the Beatles' success indicates that they reach out to far more than just a bunch of elitists. they actually manage to satisfy both the elitist and the common listener in most cases.

Linda - I agree. The Beatles are the most important band in rock history, but Sgt Pepper isn't my favorite either. Still it's a classic album cover.

May 24, 2007 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I know I saw it when I was reading faithfully, but unfortunately I have no Mad issues left. Research project!

May 24, 2007 at 11:14 PM  
Blogger rock_of_ages said...

Whole-heartedly agree with bob ref his comment 'The Beatles are on a pedestal for a reason'. A superb body of work that I will never tire of listening to whether it be the offical releases or the myriad of bootlegs. This is neither my favourite album or cover of theirs however but an obvious one to feature and deserving of attention.

Didn't The Rolling Stones Satanic Majesties Request owe something to Sgt Pepper cover as well?


May 25, 2007 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

Bill - In a vague way, I think you're right about the Stones TSMR album. It didn't have all the people, but it did have the band in funny costumes and was really colorful. (My LP actually is a 3D cover which is kinda crazy.) More than the cover though, the Stones really stole the musical direction, but they could never really pull it off. I'm of the unpopular opinion that the Stones are NOT one the greatest rock bands of all time. Still, good call on bringing it up, because I think you're correct about the influence.

May 25, 2007 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hmmm... This just may be the greatest album cover ever, not to mention possibly the best album ever.

May 29, 2007 at 9:22 PM  

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