Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) issued by MFSL in LP as MFSL-1-100 in1985
re-issued by Dr Ebbett in CD (bootleg)
Flac files | Covers | 228,49 Mb |
About Dr Ebbett :
He is an understandably shadowy figure who first surfaced in a small, shady spot of the internet, selling his own copies of the "alternate" Beatles' catalog. His attitude - If the official company won't do it - I will do it! And he does, and offers EVERYTHING you can imagine - all the USA releases in mono and stereo, all the UK releases in mono and stereo, some German, Mexican., Canadian, Italian and a smattering of famous bootleg titles (Collector's Items, Casualties) and unreleased albums (Sessions, Hollywood Bowl 1964) and the Christmas Album.
All of the CDS come with spot-on package design, beautiful artwork, and silkscreened CDS - and the sound…..the BEST you have ever heard! Taken from virgin vinyl (even Vee Jay albums!) the sound crisp, sweet and better than anything you've heard. They are as close to the real thing as we're ever going to get. If you can get them, they are worth the money. They take up a large portion of my own shelf of honor>
Another individual who has taken it upon himself to remaster the official catalog is Mirror Spock. His remasters are very clear and clean, and some people prefer his to Dr. Ebbett's (I think its an age thing - people who prefer the music to sound like the origial vinyl will prefer the DOC, where as those reared in the digital age often prefer Mirror Spock's work), in any case Mirror Spock's issue of Sgt Pepper's UHQR is certainly a knock out.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was recorded as early Beatlemania was waning. The Beatles had grown tired of touring and had quit the road in late 1966, burned out after the dramas of the "bigger than Jesus" controversy and a tumultuous tour of the Philippines which saw the band expelled from the country more or less at gunpoint.
Retirement from touring gave them, for the first time in their career, more than ample time in which to prepare their next record. As EMI's premier act and Britain's most successful pop group ever, they had almost unlimited access to the state-of-the-art technology of Abbey Road Studios. All four band members had already developed a preference for long, late-night sessions although they were still extremely efficient and highly disciplined in their studio habits. As noted in Mark Lewisohn's book on The Beatles' recording sessions (1988), one of their greatest strengths as a recording unit was drummer Ringo Starr, who was extremely reliable, rarely needing more than one take.
By the time The Beatles recorded the album, their musical interests had grown from simple blues, pop and rock beginnings to incorporate a variety of new influences. They had become familiar with a wide range of instruments, such as the Hammond organ and the electric piano; their instrumentation now covered the entire range, including strings, brass, woodwind, percussion and a wide range of exotic instruments, including the sitar. McCartney, although unable to read music, had scored a recent British film The Family Way with the assistance of producer-arranger George Martin, which earned him a prestigious Ivor Novello award.
The Beatles also used new modular effects units like the wah-wah pedal and the fuzz box, which they augmented with their own experimental ideas, such as running voices and instruments through a Leslie speaker. Another important sonic innovation was McCartney's discovery of the direct injection (DI) technique, in which he could record his bass by plugging it directly into an amplifying circuit in the recording console. This provided a vastly improved level of presence, power and fidelity over the old method, which was to record the bass through an amplifier with a microphone.
The Sgt. Pepper period also coincided with the introduction of some important musical innovations, both from within the band and the rest of the musical industry. The work of Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, Phil Spector, and Brian Wilson was radically redefining what was possible for pop musicians in terms of both songwriting and recording. Studio and recording technology had already reached a high degree of development and was poised for even greater innovation. The old rules of pop songwriting were being abandoned, as complex lyrical themes were explored for the first time in popular music, and songs were growing longer (such as Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone").
Since the introduction of the core technology of magnetic recording tape in 1949, multitrack recording had progressed rapidly, with 8-track recorders already available in the USA and the first 8-tracks coming on-line in commercial studios in London in late 1967, shortly after Sgt. Pepper was released.
All of the Sgt. Pepper tracks were recorded at Abbey Road using mono, stereo and 4-track recorders. Like its predecessors, the recording made extensive use of the technique known as bouncing down, in which a number of tracks were recorded across the four tracks of one recorder, which were then mixed and dubbed down onto one track of the master 4-track machine. This enabled the Abbey Road engineers to give The Beatles a virtual 16-track studio, since they could bounce down 16 tracks into four with only the loss of one generation in quality.
The build-up of noise during over-dubbing was a major problem for engineers. The Abbey Road album was one of the first to use the Dolby noise reduction system. The album remains a landmark in the history of sound recording and is remarkable for the clarity, fidelity and quietness of the transfers.
Magnetic tape had also led to innovative use of instruments and production effects, notably the tape-based keyboard sampler, the Mellotron, and effects like flanging (a term invented by George Martin) and phasing, and a greatly improved system for creating echo and reverberation.
Several then-new productions effects feature extensively on the recordings. One of the most important was automatic double tracking (ADT), a system that used tape recorders to create an instant and simultaneous doubling of a sound. Although it had long been recognised that using multitrack tape to record 'doubled' lead vocals gave them a greatly enhanced sound (especially with weaker singers) it had always been necessary to record such vocal tracks twice, a task which was both tedious and exacting.
ADT was invented specially for The Beatles by EMI engineer Ken Townshend in 1965, mainly at the behest of Lennon, who hated tracking sessions and regularly expressed a desire for a technical solution to the problem. ADT quickly became a near-universal recording practice in popular music.
Also important was varispeeding, the technique of recording various tracks on a multi-track tape at slightly different tape speeds. The Beatles use this effect extensively on their vocals in this period. The speeding up of vocals (also known as 'tweaking') also became a widespread technique in pop production. The Beatles also used the effect on portions of their backing tracks (as on "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds") to give them a 'thicker' and more diffuse sound.
In another innovation, the album (in its original LP form that was later released on CD) ends in an unusual way, beginning with a 15-kilohertz high-frequency tone (put on the album at John Lennon's suggestion, said to be "especially intended to annoy your dog"), followed by an endless loop made by the runout groove looping back into itself.
The sound in the loop is also the subject of much controversy, being widely interpreted as some kind of secret message. However, it seems that in reality it is nothing more than a few random samples and tape edits played backwards. The loop is recreated on the CD version which plays for a few seconds, then fades out. Although most of the content of the runout groove is impossible to decipher, it is possible to distinguish a sped-up voice (possibly Paul McCartney's) reciting the phrase "never could see any other way".
Sgt. Pepper features elaborate arrangements — for example, the clarinet ensemble on "When I'm Sixty-Four" — and extensive use of studio effects including echo, reverberation and reverse tape effects. Many of these effects were devised in collaboration with producer George Martin and his team of engineers.
One of the few moments of discord came during the recording of "She's Leaving Home", when an impatient McCartney, frustrated by Martin's unavailability on another recording session, hired freelance arranger Mike Leander to arrange the string section — the only time during the group's entire career that he worked with another arranger, with the exception of some backing orchestration used in the Magical Mystery Tour film (12 October 1967 session; see Lewisohn), which were also arranged by Leander.
Another example of the album's unusual production is Lennon's song "Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite", which closes Side 1 of the album. The lyrics were adapted almost word for word from an old circus poster which Lennon had bought at an antique shop in Kent. The flowing sound collage that gives the song its distinctive character was created by Martin and his engineers, who collected recordings of calliopes and fairground organs, which were then cut into strips of various lengths, thrown into a box, mixed up and edited together in random order, creating a long loop which was mixed in during final production.
The opening track of Side 2, "Within You Without You", is unusually long for a 'pop' recording of the day, and features only George Harrison, on vocals and sitar, with all other instruments played by a group of London-based Indian musicians. These deviations from the traditional rock and roll band formula were facilitated by The Beatles' decision not to tour, by their ability to hire top-rate session musicians, and by Harrison's burgeoning interest in India and Indian music, which led him to take lessons from sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.
The Grammy Award-winning album packaging was created by art director Robert Fraser, mostly in collaboration with McCartney, designed by Peter Blake, and photographed by Michael Cooper. It featured a colourful collage of life-sized cardboard models of famous people on the front of the album cover; and, as a bow to the interest that Beatles' songs now inspired, the lyrics were printed on the back cover, the first time this had been done on a pop LP. The Beatles themselves, in the guise of the Sgt Pepper band, were dressed in eye-catching military-style outfits made of satin dyed in day-glo colours. Among the insignia on their uniforms are:
An Ontario Provincial Police badge, on Paul's left sleeve (later a "Paul Is Dead" clue, since it is misinterpreted as OPD, rumored to mean Officially Pronounced Dead)
MBE medals on Paul and George's jackets
The Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom, on John's right sleeve
Art director Robert Fraser was a prominent London art dealer who ran the Indica Gallery. He had become a close friend of McCartney and it was only at his strong urging that the group abandoned their original cover design, a psychedelic painting by The Fool.
Fraser was one of the leading champions of modern art in Britain in the Sixties and beyond. He argued strongly that the Fool artwork was not well-executed and that the design would soon date. He convinced McCartney to abandon it, and offered to art-direct the cover; it was Fraser's suggestion to use an established fine artist and he introduced the band to a client, noted British 'pop' artist Peter Blake, who in collaboration with his wife, created the famous cover collage, known as "People We Like".
According to Blake, the original concept was to create a scene that showed the Sgt Pepper band performing in a park; this gradually evolved into its final form, which shows The Beatles, as the Sgt Pepper band, surrounded by a large group of their heroes, which were created as lifesize cut-out figures. Also included were wax-work figures of The Beatles as they appeared in the early Sixties, borrowed from Madame Tussauds.
The collage depicted more than 70 famous people, including writers, musicians, film stars and (at Harrison's request) a number of Indian gurus. Ringo Starr reportedly made no contribution to the design. The final grouping included Marlene Dietrich, author Terry Southern, Bob Dylan, Aleister Crowley, Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde, Marlon Brando, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy and controversial comedian Lenny Bruce. Also included was the image of the original Beatles bass player, the late Stuart Sutcliffe. The entire list can be found at List of images on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The package was also one of the first 'gatefold' album covers, that is, the album could be opened up like a book, to reveal a large picture of the Fab Four in costume against a yellow background. The reason for the gatefold was that The Beatles planned on filling two LPs for the release. The designs had already been approved and sent to be printed when they realized they would only have enough material for one LP.
The album came with a page of cut-outs, with a description in the top left corner:
The special inner sleeve, included in the early pressings of the LP, featured a multi-coloured psychedelic pattern designed by The Fool.
The collage created legal worries for EMI's legal department, which had to contact those who were still living to obtain their permission. Mae West initially refused — famously asking "What would I be doing in a lonely heart's club?" — but she relented after The Beatles sent her a personal letter. Actor Leo Gorcey requested payment for inclusion on the cover, so his image was removed. An image of Mohandas Gandhi was also removed at the request of EMI, who had a branch in India and were fearful that it might cause offense there. John Lennon had, perhaps facetiously, asked to include images of Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler, but these were rejected because they would almost certainly have generated enormous controversy. Most of the suggestions for names to be included came from McCartney, Lennon and Harrison, with additional suggestions from Blake and Fraser (Ringo said he'd be okay with whatever the others chose). The Rolling Stones shirt worn by the Shirley Temple doll which was placed to the right of the band belonged to Cooper's young son Adam.
The depiction of a guitar made out of hyacinths on the cover was made by the flower delivery boy, who asked if he could help with the making of the artwork. Although it has long been rumoured that some of the plants in the arrangement were marijuana plants, this is untrue.
The collage was assembled by Blake and his wife during the last two weeks of March 1967 at the London studio of photographer Michael Cooper, who took the cover shots on March 30, 1967 in a three-hour evening session. Both Lennon and Harrison were tripping on LSD while the photographs were being taken. The final bill for the cover was £2,868 5s/3d, a staggering sum for the time — it has been estimated that this was 100 times the average cost for an album cover in those days.
The cover was subsequently parodied by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention in the cover art of their album We're Only In It For The Money (although McCartney initially refused permission for the Mothers parody cover to be released, he later relented). It was also parodied in the opening credits of an episode of The Simpsons. It has also been mimicked by a Dutch artist as Sgt Croppers Fairport Band for the many Fairport Convention band members and associates. Swedish artist David Liljemark did a parody of the cover for a magazine, depicting a hypothetical future for the band Sven-Ingvars. MAD Magazine also parodied the cover in its August 2002 issue (#420), featuring "The 50 Worst Things About Music."
Themes and structure
With Sgt. Pepper, The Beatles wanted to create a record that could, in effect, tour for them — an idea they had already explored with the promotional film-clips made over the previous years, intended to promote them in the United States when they were not touring there.
McCartney decided that they should create fictitious characters for each band member and record an album that would be a performance by that fictitious band. The idea of disguise or change of identity was one in which The Beatles, naturally enough, had an avid interest — they were four of the most recogniseable and widely known individuals of all time.
The Beatles' recognisability was the motivation for their growing moustaches and beards and even longer hair, and was an inspiration for the disguise of their flamboyant Sgt. Pepper costumes. McCartney was well known for going out in public in disguise and all four had used aliases for travel bookings and hotel reservations.
Thus, the album starts with the title song, which introduces Sgt. Pepper's band itself; this song segues seamlessly into a sung introduction for bandleader "Billy Shears" (Ringo Starr), who performs "With a Little Help from My Friends". A reprise version of the title song was also recorded, and appears on side 2 of the original album (just prior to the climactic "A Day in the Life"), creating a "bookending" effect.
However, The Beatles essentially abandoned the concept after recording the first two songs and the reprise. Lennon was unequivocal in stating that the songs he wrote for the album had nothing to do with the Sgt. Pepper concept. Since the other songs on the album are actually unrelated, one might be tempted to conclude that the album does not form an overarching theme. However, the cohesive structure and careful sequencing of and transitioning between songs on the album, as well as the use of the Sgt. Pepper framing device, has led the album to be widely acknowleged as an early and groundbreaking example of the concept album.
The group's habitual use of cannabis and their increasing intake of the hallucinogen LSD are widely thought to be a major influence on the style and sound of the album. The album features many effects and themes that appear to be psychedelic. At points there seem to be many explicit references to drugs. The album's closing track "A Day in the Life", which is one of the last major Lennon-McCartney collaborations, includes the phrase "I'd love to turn you on" — 'turning on' was a common drug culture colloquialism at the time, referring to getting 'high' on marijuana or LSD. Also when Ringo Starr sings "With a Little Help From My Friends" he repeatedly declares that he gets high with a little help from his friends. Phrases such as "Take some tea" (a synonym for pot) in "Lovely Rita", and "digging the weeds" in "When I'm Sixty-Four" have also been cited as possible drug references.
The song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" became the subject of much speculation regarding its meaning. John Lennon maintained that the song describes a surreal dreamscape inspired by a picture drawn by his son Julian.
However, the song became controversial as many believed that the words of the chorus were code for LSD, a claim Lennon consistently denied. The BBC used this as their basis for banning the song from British radio. Julian, McCartney, Harrison and Starr backed up Lennon's story (Starr even said he saw the picture at the time), and the picture itself has appeared in the media. However, during a newspaper interview in 2004, McCartney was quoted as saying, "…Lucy In The Sky, that's pretty obvious. …but the writing was too important for us to mess it up by getting off our heads all the time."
Debate continues among critics and fans about the meaning, extent, and depth of the drug references. Some interpretations of the album have focused on the use of drugs as central to the meaning of the entire album. Some critics, such as Sheila Whitely, have claimed that the experience of LSD use is fundamental and infused into the album. Most critics acknowledge some drug references, but believe that the album cannot be simply reduced to these references. George Melly, for example, points out that many songs, such "A Day in the Life", can easily be interpreted as rejections of drug culture, and that the culture is portrayed in a "desperate light."
A period of experimentation in The Beatles' music had begun with their album Rubber Soul two years earlier. During this period, new influences and instruments from as far afield as India were incorporated in their recordings, which evolved further from simple teen pop and into more artistic sounds. Sgt. Pepper continued this process and became more avant-garde in style and form than previous or subsequent recordings.
Paul McCartney cited The Beach Boys' album Pet Sounds and Frank Zappa's album Freak Out! as key influences.
Their follow up, Magical Mystery Tour contained songs that were stylistically very like those on Sgt. Pepper, but after two years at the forefront of psychedelic rock, The Beatles began to return to more conventional musical expression in 1968. Several tracks record