Anniversary poll: How many good songs are there on Sgt. Pepper's?

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Tracklist:

A1 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
A2 With A Little Help From My Friends
A3 Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
A4 Getting Better
A5 Fixing A Hole
A6 She's Leaving Home
A7 Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
B1 Within You Without You
B2 When I'm Sixty-Four
B3 Lovely Rita
B4 Good Morning Good Morning
B5 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
B6 A Day In The Life

Poll Results

OptionVotes
13 28
12 14
11 12
1 8
8 8
10 7
7 7
3 6
6 5
5 5
0 5
9 4
4 4
2 4


niels, Thursday, 25 May 2017 15:52 (two months ago) Permalink

FUCK ALL

The Remoans of the May (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 25 May 2017 15:53 (two months ago) Permalink

11 - never really cared for Within You Without You or Good Morning Good Morning

Love the Sgt. Peppers reprise tho!

greg pianoforte (voodoo chili), Thursday, 25 May 2017 16:02 (two months ago) Permalink

i'd say roughly 8 depending on my mood. Side B is pretty meh aside from the glorious ADITL.

evol j, Thursday, 25 May 2017 16:09 (two months ago) Permalink

Only one I don't listen to on its own is Within You Without You, but it works in the context of the record. 13

flappy bird, Thursday, 25 May 2017 16:28 (two months ago) Permalink

When my cousin got this record when we were kids the one we were OBSESSED with was Within You Without You. I could go the rest of my life without hearing the rest of them, but I might listen to that one again.

smug dinner-jazz atrocity (Dan Peterson), Thursday, 25 May 2017 16:50 (two months ago) Permalink

13!

Tomorrow Begat Tomorrow (Sund4r), Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:00 (two months ago) Permalink

The only one that annoys me is 64, but I guess the reprise really only works in the context of the record... so 11?

Dominique, Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:09 (two months ago) Permalink

She's Leaving Home
A Day In The Life

insidious assymetrical weapons (Eric H.), Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:11 (two months ago) Permalink

Fuck the Beatles. Zero.

grawlix (unperson), Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:17 (two months ago) Permalink

we should now poll how many challopsy posts this thread generates

Darin, Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:19 (two months ago) Permalink

What does challopsy mean exactly? Searcing for it turns up an ILM thread first!

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:40 (two months ago) Permalink

Serious question: why is "Within You and Without You" so bad and hated? It's droning and catchy, lyrics are top-flight angry-young-hippy, more subtle All You Need is Love, and it's rhythmically ace. Is the instrumentation just too much of a sore thumb for folks?

pavane to the darryl of strawberry (bendy), Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:56 (two months ago) Permalink

I count two, maybe three, as not particularly good songs. So 10 or 11.

clemenza, Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:57 (two months ago) Permalink

challop: Challenging opinion. Which is sort of what my question sounds like, but I'm being sincere.

pavane to the darryl of strawberry (bendy), Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:57 (two months ago) Permalink

xp
When I was a kid first getting into the Beatles, I appreciated that song, but at 5 mins it was WAY TOO LONG. haha nm that Hey Jude was 7...

Dominique, Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:58 (two months ago) Permalink

Shit album

i n f i n i t y (∞), Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:59 (two months ago) Permalink

There are some I like more and some I like less but I'm one of those stans who say the Beatles didn't really record a bad song in 1966-67

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 25 May 2017 18:03 (two months ago) Permalink

to me there's only one great song on the album but all these are good:

Sgt Pepper's + reprise
Help From My Friends
LSD
Fixing a Hole
Lovely Rita
A Day in the Life

counting the reprise as a separate song I'm voting 7

niels, Thursday, 25 May 2017 18:09 (two months ago) Permalink

I have never cared for within you but the one very bad song to me is good morning. I can't even understand hop they considered it good enough to record!

AlXTC from Paris, Thursday, 25 May 2017 18:20 (two months ago) Permalink

John's favorite George song ever was "Within You Without You."

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 25 May 2017 18:22 (two months ago) Permalink

I read that as George had to start doing Indian stuff before John paid attention to him.

Punnet of the Grapes (Tom D.), Thursday, 25 May 2017 18:24 (two months ago) Permalink

voting 13 but I haven't actually heard the whole album

sexualing healing (crüt), Thursday, 25 May 2017 18:25 (two months ago) Permalink

I didn't like WYWY initially, but I grew to love it. It's totally essential to the record.

Only song I can't stand is "When I'm Sixty-Four." "She's Leaving Home" is pretty meh, too. Everything else is ace, and Ringo makes it so.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 25 May 2017 18:26 (two months ago) Permalink

I think "Within You Without You" is easily the most successful of their fusions of rock with Indian musics. "Love You To" is an embarrassment in comparison.

Tomorrow Begat Tomorrow (Sund4r), Thursday, 25 May 2017 18:32 (two months ago) Permalink

5.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Thursday, 25 May 2017 18:57 (two months ago) Permalink

These are all great songs.

Jay Elettronica Viva (Whiney G. Weingarten), Thursday, 25 May 2017 19:03 (two months ago) Permalink

all great, some more great in context. my favorite is Fixing a Hole.

nomar, Thursday, 25 May 2017 19:06 (two months ago) Permalink

The title track is far from a great song, to be honest. A mediocre pot-boiler by Beatles standards tarted up with some studio effects that may have been "wow" in '67 but are more like "so what?" in '17. The reprise is better because the drive of the track helps to give the track an excitement that helps to conceal the pedestrian nature of the composition.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Thursday, 25 May 2017 19:13 (two months ago) Permalink

all of these songs are great, pepper hate is so tedious and played-out

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Thursday, 25 May 2017 19:21 (two months ago) Permalink

people who've had it up to here waiting for the Beatles catalogue to be remastered know we've been over this ground relatively recently. i don't really have much to add to that discussion or to the various past Pepper threads but imho this album is very very consistent, albeit with a couple of super standout tracks ("little help," "lucy," ADITL), and a greater role played by general 'feel' --- there are songs here i never think of as my beatles favorites outside the context of this record ("lovely rita," "good morning," "fixing a hole") but which are just awesome while you're within this record's smiling gauzy halo. song for song, recording for recording, it'd get creamed by revolver, but few albums in the genre wouldn't. voted 12, splitting the one exclusion arbitrarily between the aspects i dislike of the reprise and "she's leaving home."

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 25 May 2017 19:31 (two months ago) Permalink

Xp
The great mystery about this album for me has always been the title song. I never got its appeal. It is so boring without melody and anything. I always found it totally dumb. All the other songs except Good Morning are fine. 10/13 not bad for an album I always found overhyped.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 25 May 2017 19:54 (two months ago) Permalink

The Inner Light >>> Within You Without You.

an unfair comparison, maybe: George had mastered the stuff by 1968. I can't fuck with the string arrangement on WYWY though.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 25 May 2017 19:54 (two months ago) Permalink

if you want something to shock you into realizing sgt pepper's awesomeness, i recommend trying to get through jim derogatis's shitty attempt to take it down:

http://www.jimdero.com/News2004/July4SgtPeppers.htm

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Thursday, 25 May 2017 19:57 (two months ago) Permalink

xxpost:

It is totally dumb! It's an incredibly melodically dull top line atop one of the most "cobbled together in a cigarette break" chord progressions possible. If those musical ideas had been on an earlier Beatles record, it would probably be seen as a throwaway piece of fluff a la 'Tell Me What You See', which has a similar lack of engaging musical ingredients. George Martin himself didn't think it was any great shakes as a song and he was OTM.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:02 (two months ago) Permalink

'Good Morning Good Morning' is interesting in terms of time signatures, but it's very much Lennon going through the motions and McCartney and Martin trying their best to polish it up into something more than it is. 'Strawberry Fields Forever' it certainly isn't.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:06 (two months ago) Permalink

But why the hell did they make it the title song and started the album with it. That seems like a "fuck you all" statement, we don't care about the audience.

A question: Is Lucy the first song with vocoder effects?

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:08 (two months ago) Permalink

i guess the 1st version of the title track isn't "great" except in the context of the album. it does get away with it for me because it feels like a warmup for everything that follows and at least the reprise has some good guitar work that elevates it.

nomar, Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:09 (two months ago) Permalink

the cool thing about this record, and all the Beatles records up to the White Album, is that the band members *did* bother to try to make all the tracks good, even on ones they didn't write, and even if they weren't great tracks in their essence. Sgt Pepper is the sound of a band running at maximum synergy, and partially because of that, it's hard to imagine skipping tracks (in the rare instance I'd actually play it these days).

Dominique, Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:10 (two months ago) Permalink

I tried to answer this thoughtfully but fuck if I ever want to hear any one of these songs again in the next 50 years.

Max-Headroom-drops-a-deuce-while-shredding (Sparkle Motion), Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:11 (two months ago) Permalink

we should now poll how many challopsy posts this thread generates

― Darin, Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:19 (two hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

These are all great songs.

― Jay Elettronica Viva (Whiney G. Weingarten), Thursday, 25 May 2017 19:03 (one hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Punnet of the Grapes (Tom D.), Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:12 (two months ago) Permalink

The vocals on 'Lucy' aren't vocodered - a lot of the vocals on Pepper were treated by applying different kinds of reverbs, vari-speeding or putting 'em through a Leslie.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:15 (two months ago) Permalink

Basically, standard production tricks circa '66-'67 alongside tape phasing/flanging (as heard on 'Bold as Love' and 'Itchycoo Park') which The Beatles never really did. The Beatles had the luxury of being able to hire top string/brass/Indian session musicians and take time making their recordings sound cleaner.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:19 (two months ago) Permalink

Xp
Thanks, Turrican so then the mickey mouse voice comes from a speeded up tape? Who was the first who did this in pop music?

Longish analysis of "A Day in the Life", one of the greatest pop songs of all-time.
https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/05/how-the-beatles-wrote-a-day-in-the-life/527001/
I love the surrealism of the lyrics and the cacophonous orchestral explosion in the middle separating the two parts.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:23 (two months ago) Permalink

Sgt Pepper is the sound of a band running at maximum synergy

I disagree, I'd say Rubber Soul and Revolver were the last records where all of the members of the band were all on the same page.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:25 (two months ago) Permalink

tape speed tricks go back to the invention of tape as a recording medium

Οὖτις, Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:26 (two months ago) Permalink

"maximum synergy" is corporate speak for "high", right?

Cyborg Kickboxer (rushomancy), Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:32 (two months ago) Permalink

xxpost:

Exactly.

Lots of novelty records/comedy records used tape manipulation tricks and sound effects, the end result being (in the words of Andy Partridge of XTC) "psychedelia in square clothing"

Pinky and Perky, Alvin and the Chipmunks etc.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:33 (two months ago) Permalink

The Purple People Eater was 1958, Pinky and Perky slightly earlier... I'm sure there's even earlier examples.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:35 (two months ago) Permalink

12

Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:36 (two months ago) Permalink

somewhere I remember seeing rubber soul describes as a 'smoke and wood' album and that's always stuck with me. maybe the US version more than the UK version. It's their folk record, heavily pot-laced, as evidenced by the distorted cover photo.

akm, Friday, 2 June 2017 17:03 (one month ago) Permalink

I read that too and that's how think of it.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 2 June 2017 17:07 (one month ago) Permalink

Agreed. My first introduction to RS was a US vinyl copy my dad had. Kicking off that album w/I've Just Seen A Face always felt more appropriate than Drive My Car.

Darin, Friday, 2 June 2017 17:35 (one month ago) Permalink

I voted 13 but

lol we had She's Leaving Home in English class too - makes no sense, the lyrics are so on the nose

Not only do I find them on the nose but the conclusion always seemed a bit odd to me, even as a kid. 'Fun' is the one thing that money can't buy?

Tomorrow Begat Tomorrow (Sund4r), Friday, 2 June 2017 17:51 (one month ago) Permalink

haha yeah

Love costs a few bucks iirc

Οὖτις, Friday, 2 June 2017 17:55 (one month ago) Permalink

Abbey Road is by far the worst Beatles album

Remove bookmark from thread

flappy bird, Friday, 2 June 2017 17:55 (one month ago) Permalink

I can't explain the inclusion of "She's Leaving Home" as an English-class text, unless you're otherwise starved for examples of point of view. Wow it's almost like one singer is speaking from the perspective of the girl and the other singer is speaking from the perspective of the parents? MIND. BLOWN.

Perhaps it's one of those weird cultural warmed-over things? I.e., where stuff for people born in the 70s/80s is just lazily recycled materials originally created/intended for people born in the 50s/60s, without much alteration?

Like someone once thought "Hey, I know what the young kids dig! Those Beatle chaps! Let's teach it as literatoor!" and no one revised the curriculum for decades because it was easier not to? Or, perhaps, Beatlemania-aged teachers thinking the music of THEIR yoot was a good way to reach yoots.

In circa 1976 remember having a big joke book where lots of jokes still somehow depended heavily on "parents of teenagers be like 'what is up with the fascination with the Beatles.'" Seemed quaint at the time but I figured joke book writers were probably old dudes who were mostly recycling Henny Youngman gags.

kajagoogoo's kazooist (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 2 June 2017 18:22 (one month ago) Permalink

these stories just remind me of that scene in Wiseman's High School where the class is discussing S&G's "Dangling Conversation" (which is also on the nose and does not really require any in-depth analysis)

Οὖτις, Friday, 2 June 2017 18:24 (one month ago) Permalink

(I didn't actually have to read it in class myself, tbc, btw. Was just commenting on the lyrics. We did have some Joni Mitchell and Burton Cummings in my middle school English textbook iirc.)

Tomorrow Begat Tomorrow (Sund4r), Friday, 2 June 2017 18:31 (one month ago) Permalink

God I h8 Dangling Conversation (despite overall S&G love).

Tangentially I loathed every single second I spent in school where the teacher generously allowed the students to bring in their favorite song and allowed the class discuss its significance. Or when they tried to show they were "hep" and "connect with the youngsters" by explicating a pop song. YEAH WE GET THE IDEA and btw IT DOESN'T WORK.

Let us review the track record of English classes solemnly discussing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or doing - get this - a rap version of Hamlet. How many school-haters have been converted into school-lovers by these ham-handed efforts? (calculates feverishly) Oh, right, zero. The Lin-Manuel Miranda SNL ep had a skit on this.

kajagoogoo's kazooist (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 2 June 2017 18:53 (one month ago) Permalink

Will stand by my Grade 12 comparison of Sonic Youth's "Shadow of a Doubt" to Keats's "La Belle Dame Sans Merci".

Tomorrow Begat Tomorrow (Sund4r), Friday, 2 June 2017 18:57 (one month ago) Permalink

Yes, surely every schoolkid everywhere cringes when a teacher does this. I did. In retrospect though, this guy was a good teacher and I was a snotty little twerp.

Punnet of the Grapes (Tom D.), Friday, 2 June 2017 19:01 (one month ago) Permalink

that scene in Wiseman's High School where the class is discussing S&G's "Dangling Conversation"

haha i just saw this again and imagined the ilx reactions. (I think the teacher does all the discussing?)

btw i voted 12 bcz two tracks are the same song. I prob did the bulk of my repeated plays of the LP circa '75-78.

Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Friday, 2 June 2017 19:15 (one month ago) Permalink

in 6th grade I wrote a paper on Alexander the Great and put a quote from the Iron Maiden song as an intro quote

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 2 June 2017 19:19 (one month ago) Permalink

hell yeah

flappy bird, Friday, 2 June 2017 19:20 (one month ago) Permalink

one of my history teachers was a big Smashing Pumpkins & Tool fan. i remember writing "I KNOW THE PIECES FIT" huge on an empty page at the end of one of those blue books. when he graded it he wrote "because you watched them fall away?"

flappy bird, Friday, 2 June 2017 19:22 (one month ago) Permalink

I don't remember any of my teachers being into current music.

there was one guy who had some Marillion posters but...

Οὖτις, Friday, 2 June 2017 19:23 (one month ago) Permalink

All of my teachers were music-averse, apart from my 8th-grade science teacher who had been in a band in the '60s called The Sound Carnival. He helped me on a project where I put a humbucker into a cheapo Silvertone acoustic.

But none of my English teachers ever brought up music or lyrics.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Friday, 2 June 2017 19:35 (one month ago) Permalink

"White Album" and "Sgt Peppers" are probably tied for my favorite Beatles album, though it's been a while since I've listened to either of them. If I was going to put on some Beatles these days, far and away the one I'd be most likely to spin would be the 1970 vinyl compilation album called "Hey Jude", since it's compact, and is all killer no filler.

This one: https://rateyourmusic.com/release/comp/the_beatles/hey_jude__the_beatles_again_/

o. nate, Friday, 2 June 2017 21:25 (one month ago) Permalink

'67 Beatles > early Beatles > '65-'66 Beatles = '68-'69 Beatles

timellison, Friday, 2 June 2017 21:37 (one month ago) Permalink

i am boring and i like basically every beatles album, even the worst one (let it be, by a very long ways imo, and i still enjoy at least half of that one)

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Friday, 2 June 2017 21:52 (one month ago) Permalink

the obvious choice for worst beatles album is yellow sub since it only has four songs but otoh all of those songs are absolutely fantastic

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Friday, 2 June 2017 21:53 (one month ago) Permalink

calling "All Together Now" absolutely fantastic feels like a stretch

Οὖτις, Friday, 2 June 2017 21:54 (one month ago) Permalink

it is the weakest song on there but i do find it kind of offhand and charming and fun, moreso than paul's other attempts to write a kids' song

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Friday, 2 June 2017 21:57 (one month ago) Permalink

Perhaps it's one of those weird cultural warmed-over things? I.e., where stuff for people born in the 70s/80s is just lazily recycled materials originally created/intended for people born in the 50s/60s, without much alteration?

Like someone once thought "Hey, I know what the young kids dig! Those Beatle chaps! Let's teach it as literatoor!" and no one revised the curriculum for decades because it was easier not to? Or, perhaps, Beatlemania-aged teachers thinking the music of THEIR yoot was a good way to reach yoots.

I was born in 1985 and we never studied She's Leaving Home or any other Beatles lyrics in English, so perhaps they had updated things by my day, though we did get given an anti-smoking pamphlet featuring Pepsi & Shirlie in 1998.

soref, Friday, 2 June 2017 22:02 (one month ago) Permalink

Love the Beatles and think contrived, look-at-me Beatles ridicule is silly. (Not Noodle Vague's--his is funny.) But I'm a little surprised that people who love the album (totally understand) would consider all 13 songs good. I would think "When I'm Sixty-Four," at the very least, would sound really cloying. Unless it's the most dispassionate definition of "good" imaginable.

clemenza, Friday, 2 June 2017 23:05 (one month ago) Permalink

When I was at school, we never had pop music cited as something to study, except for maybe "Blowin in the wind"

Mark G, Friday, 2 June 2017 23:10 (one month ago) Permalink

My grade 6 music teacher in 1972 brought in Cat Stevens' Teaser and the Firecat, Alice Cooper's School's Out, and a couple of other albums I've forgotten. He had a big red beard and was very intense.

clemenza, Friday, 2 June 2017 23:12 (one month ago) Permalink

Our Alice took "Schools Out" to school once..

Story: Coincidences, Whoo.....

Mark G, Friday, 2 June 2017 23:15 (one month ago) Permalink

Nice. I've got a grade 5 kid this year who knows a fair amount about Elvis, taught art to a grade 6 girl a few years ago who knew a bit about Bananarama, but it doesn't happen very often (unless it's a student who actually plays an instrument).

clemenza, Friday, 2 June 2017 23:20 (one month ago) Permalink

"When I'm Sixty-Four" is a highlight for me! I think it says something a lot more meaningful than a million vague ballads about staying together forever. I love clarinets and pre-rock music, though.

Tomorrow Begat Tomorrow (Sund4r), Friday, 2 June 2017 23:27 (one month ago) Permalink

The words are smart, but I just don't like musically-whimsical Paul.

clemenza, Saturday, 3 June 2017 00:28 (one month ago) Permalink

I like "When I'm Sixty Four" too. I wish they'd done more of that music hall style with tubas.

o. nate, Saturday, 3 June 2017 00:38 (one month ago) Permalink

I still fondly recall our 60ish spinster librarian bringing in Styx to have us discuss "Boat On the River" in 1980.

64 is great for "Vera, Chuck and Dave"

Wet Pelican would provide the soundtrack (Myonga Vön Bontee), Saturday, 3 June 2017 00:43 (one month ago) Permalink

Chuck is annoying, no-one in the UK has ever been called Chuck.

Punnet of the Grapes (Tom D.), Saturday, 3 June 2017 06:59 (one month ago) Permalink

I just thought that pepper is the only Beatles album without a love song (unless you count 64 and Rita which are not really).

AlXTC from Paris, Saturday, 3 June 2017 08:43 (one month ago) Permalink

Chuck is annoying, no-one in the UK has ever been called Chuck

this is untrue, the manager of the first ever safeway -- which opened in shrewsbury in 1965, right across the road from my gran's house -- was called chuck, there was a black and white photo up of him on the wall requesting that customers come up and say hi to him. his signature was written like handwriting, except printed. all this was utterly amazing to me as a tiny, as were the big colourful cardboard cartoons meat and cheese and vegetables also up on the wall in the relevant places. my sister and I ran up and down the vast aisles and gazed at the strange food in the deli, which looked like nothing anyone human had ever eaten (olives) and was too fancy and pricy for us ever to buy anything. my entire family loved safeway, a vast consumia utopia. my gran used it as the local corner shop, sometimes sending my grandad across the road half a dozen times a day for single items.

a few weeks later i was there with my mum, excited as ever -- and something horrible occurred. a large clown came up behind me -- i wasn't yet aware this would be a cliche in years to come and was extremely frightened. i remember him vividly, especially his big shows, which were made clownishly big via the medium of badly painted papier mâche. he was giving away balloons. later i wanted a balloon but was too proud and frightened to go over and ask him. i still want that balloon, fuck him and fuck chuck.

mark s, Saturday, 3 June 2017 09:18 (one month ago) Permalink

big shows = big shoes, fuck him even more

mark s, Saturday, 3 June 2017 09:19 (one month ago) Permalink

Chuck is annoying, no-one in the UK has ever been called Chuck.

― Punnet of the Grapes (Tom D.), Saturday, 3 June 2017 07:59 (two hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Isn't calling people "Chuck" a Liverpool thing?

http://www.comedycentral.co.uk/offbeat/articles/13-things-that-confuse-nonscousers

Everyone is called Chuck, it doesn't matter who you are... You are now Chuck. Your dog is Chuck, your nan is Chuck... We are all Chuck. Chuck is us.

glumdalclitch, Saturday, 3 June 2017 09:24 (one month ago) Permalink

Yes, but it's used like 'pet' or 'love', not as a name. Despite mark's remarkable story, I stand by my initial statement.

Punnet of the Grapes (Tom D.), Saturday, 3 June 2017 09:32 (one month ago) Permalink

This record was released the week of my seventh birthday — to date my favourite (an affective fact unlikely to be challenged this year). Seven is the best number.

But it didn’t come into our family lives until a month later, my mum’s 32nd birthday, 4 July 1967. We were on holiday in mid-Wales, on a hillside farm owned by family friends (my godfather) a little up from Aberdyfi. Dad hadn’t joined us immediately — in those years he often had to travel to London from Shrewsbury for days on end, to attend work-related meetings. So he drove up a few days later — we were a two-mini family, very Italian Job in that one way at least — laden with presents for everyone, especially mum.

Mum’s was Sergeant Pepper, of course. And it went straight onto the ancient gramophone in that farmhouse, probably immediately damaging the surface (I bet the needle hasn’t been changed to this day). It was played non-stop the entire holiday — bearing mind that that summer was famously warm and clear-skied, and full of generational hope. My parents weren’t hippies — they were a bit too old and too cautious, dad was 36 that year — but they were caught up in the sense of possibility, working (and living) in a place staffed by young adults committed to natural-science fieldwork and what wasn’t yet widely known as ecology. My sister and I were brought up semi-communally in this space, often babysat by these many idealistic young adults. This summer has remained the perfect snapshot for me of that idealism.

The record itself — the physical object, the sleeve and the inner sleeve and the disc and the label — my sister and I scoured for all its loving, baffling details. The fact — which I know now and knew nothing of then — that this was a land-grab made by the artists (so hugely successful their sales were a not-be-sniffed proportion of the national GDP at a time when other sectors were struggling) to strip control of product-terrain, like sleeve space and label space and even the run-out groove, from EMI (who generally used the spaces to shill rival LPs or EMITEX record-wiping cloth or whatever) and place them at the whim of the musicians, to hire artists like Peter Blake or whoever. In terms of aesthetic decision-making and conceptual control this was a revolutionary and transformative move. (Of course many of the decisions subsequently made were quite poor: musicians are not always artistically smart in other realms than music, and the gatefold-sleeve has been rich in crimes against art.)

I could read at that age — my sister was five, I don’t remember if she could yet— and just loved that all these words were there, the lyric-printing a first, I believe, not that I knew this then, of course, or cared. I loved the bright acid-pop colours of the sleeve — I still own my parents’ copy and they’re still sharp and vivid and dense with memory. I loved the mystery of it: why were they dressed like this, what was the story, how did these scenes and anecdotes connect? I loved to read but was easily disoriented by children’s stories not working as convention demanded — the obvious strength of all this (as demonstrated by my parents’ enjoyment) presented me with a new way to present story material, which I didn’t quite get. This was as thrilling as it was strange: an invaluable sensation to learn in such a lovely context, I think. At least if you think puzzled curiosity is a good quality in a critic — certainly it’s a reaction I continue to favour.

We loved the Blake insert pop-art cut-outs, the moustaches and glasses: in fact we cut them out and donned them, and scampered round the garden in the sun with them (lots of scampering around in the s childhoods). Ruined for future collectors, perhaps — but this wasn’t about the future, it was about an utterly delighted present. And mum and dad enjoyed our delight.

It wasn’t actually such an easy year for them, though we didn’t then know that. Dad had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s the year before, unusually young at 35. In fact he had been given just ten years to live — the synthesis of L-Dopa (key study published 1968) would change this (he lived until 2010) but in 1967 only a tiny handful of researchers knew anything about L-Dopa. So in this sunniest of summers, mum and dad lived under a shadow of expected grief and trial, which — to my grown-up astonishment and admiration — they entirely kept from their children. I remember dad talking a little to me about no longer being able to draw well, or write — as a young man he had beautiful calligrapher’s penmanship, he and mum both, and was a gifted amateur artist, mainly drawing plants, with occasional gorgeously evocative Christmas cards and such. All that he had to give up (he had to teach himself to write with his left hand instead of his right). I don’t remember ever being told that he probably only had ten years to live — though I must have been, because if I think of it now, this feels like a fact I knew all my life. But I didn’t; I just suppressed the first moment I discovered it (which I think must have been after this summer holiday when I was only seven).

They hadn’t been pop enthusiasts much before this — I have one much earlier memory, of dancing in the staff dining room with other members of staff to “She Loves You” as it played on a transistor on a high window-ledge with the sun streaming in past it. But it was not mum and dad’s radio — and in our flat we really only listened to classical music on radio three now and then, and much more often to classical music on records. Dad had read the famous — infamous — review of Pepper in The Times, by its respected classical critic William Mann, and been impressed by Mann’s admiring approval. (I still have the cutting he kept, inserted into their copy.) As a family we owned the LPs after Pepper — the White Album and Abbey Road anyway — but none from before it.

My favourite track was — and still is — “Within You, Without You”. Dad’s was “Lovely Rita Meter Maid”. My sister’s I don’t know: I’ll to ask her. Mum’s was “When I’m 64” — she loved the line “Vera, Chuck and Dave”, especially the way Paul sings “Chuck”, and the sentiment too, certainly as coloured by this situation my sister and I knew nothing of then. She lived — it only occurs to me as I write this — to be 69: margaret s (1935-2005)

Which fact is poignant to me in ways that become so much sharper when suffused by all this. I once asked dad, years later, about what new music he and mum might like to listen to. “We don’t really want to listen to new music any more, Mark,” he said. “We want to listen to the old music.” (I wasn't on ilx when my dad died, and never wrote it up here, maybe I should…)

Of course I can’t separate this record from all this flood of memory; both are wound much to deep in the making of me, and I find it literally senseless to ask which is the best song, that’s just not how I first experienced the LP.

(And of course polling is a beyond-terrible way to think about music AT ALL, but that’s a different argument, hi ILM you are all broeken, j/k I love you, n/k really totally broeken wtf.)

mark s, Saturday, 3 June 2017 12:38 (one month ago) Permalink

Thank you, mark s. That was beautiful.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Saturday, 3 June 2017 13:29 (one month ago) Permalink

adding: doctrah becky says hard to call which her favourite is, but it's between "lucy in the sky" (one of her middle names is lucy), "she's leaving home" and "a day in the life"

mark s, Saturday, 3 June 2017 13:54 (one month ago) Permalink

Wow at that long form post, the ghost of ilx past (and the polls leave me cold as well)

Guidonian Handsworth Revolution (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 3 June 2017 14:11 (one month ago) Permalink

that was great, glad something good came out of this poll

niels, Sunday, 4 June 2017 06:26 (one month ago) Permalink

"within you without you" lyrics are croz-level paranoid hippie - "are you one of THEM?"

Cyborg Kickboxer (rushomancy), Sunday, 4 June 2017 12:27 (one month ago) Permalink

Such a wonderful post, Mark S. Thank you for writing that.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Sunday, 4 June 2017 14:07 (one month ago) Permalink

Lovely post mark s, thank you!

Gavin, Leeds, Sunday, 4 June 2017 15:41 (one month ago) Permalink

Adding to the chorus. Thanks, Mark.

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Sunday, 4 June 2017 17:04 (one month ago) Permalink


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