Reason #21 – Sgt Peppers is a Load of Crap

Sgt Pepper Album Cover

In 1967 The beatles released Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was instantly hailed as a musical milestone. We have no choice but to agree. Just as the Edsel was a milestone for cars, Betamax was a milestone for home video, Enron was a milestone for corporate investment and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was a milestone for video games, so was Sgt Peppers a milestone for music. Unfortunately for us, the beatles didn’t have the foresight to crush and bury this disaster in a New Mexico landfill like the creators of ET did with their abomination.

In previous articles we’ve discussed how the worlds first concept album wasn’t the first, or even a concept album. We’ve discussed it in historical Context in the article My Beatle get me Blues. Due to a recent wave of spontaneous beatleagoguery, in part by it’s release as a downloadable album for Rock Band, we’ve decided to revisit this classic album.

As noted by the few lucid critics of the past 40 years unhampered by nostalgia or burnt out on LSD:

Sgt. Pepper’s was a McCartney album; a pop confection, full of cute noises and neo-music-hall pop, recorded while the drug-addled Lennon was lost in a half-conscious haze.

It’s continuing popularity and notoriety amongst fans seems to be based on the assumption even though it’s just as poppy, it didn’t have any hit singles, yet was still their best selling album. This means it’s deeper and less sugary than the rest of albums in their catalogue, so it must be also the best. This album is also where the ‘Paul is Dead’ rumors began, a great incentive for people like us to take interest.

It would be interesting to find out if it’s even possible for fans to hear the music anymore; the album is so buried in myth and blinded by hype that it’s completely impossible to listen to these songs as what they are – a collection of songs, as opposed to earth shattering, life altering flecks of incomparable brilliance.

For example: during the stirring introduction of ‘Lovely Rita’ do fans close their eyes and let the powerful lyrics wash over and transported them to another dimension where meter maids are all named Rita?
Do they:

hip, hop, a hippie to the hippi-dee hip hip a hop, a you don’t stop the rockin’ till the bang man n-the-boogie up jumped the boogie to the rhythm of the boogity beat?

Or do their minds start vomiting out inane facts like:

Recorded at Studio Two, Abbey Road, February 23 & 24, and March 7 & 21, 1967. The album version is mixed from take 11. A percussive, kazooey effect was official EMI toilet paper blown through a comb, and Ringo shouts, “You’d better believe it” or “They’ll never believe it” in the very final moments of the song, although it’s also been suggested that the voice is John’s …(We ain’t making this up, folks).

John Lennon himself was quoted as saying the album was “a load of crap.” We usually tend to agree with Lennon, although in this case the words ‘festering turd’ also spring to mind.

Paraphrasing Ourselves:

The FF spent over six months in a state of the art recording studio, overdubbing and mixing a lavish production orchestrated and arranged by George Martin, engineered by studio wizard Geoff Emerick, and crammed full of the best session musician’s (including a 40 piece orchestra) money could buy. It cost an astronomical $25,000 in 1967, (roughly $100,000 USD today). During this time a great number of groundbreaking techniques, studio tricks, and recording innovations used on the sessions. A lot of elaborate instrumentations and kooky sound effects were used.

In the end, a couple of tunes were slightly longer than the average pop song. They had an interesting collage of ditties based lyrically on leaky roofs, articles in the newspaper, circus posters, meter maids, corn flake commercials, one either about drugs or a drawing by a child, and one about spirituality. Musically, they combined influences from 30’s music, skiffle, rock and carnivals. In other words, they took advantage of the tools at their disposal to cobble together a collection of half-baked ideas with the help of anybody they could hire.

Sgt Peppers is essentially a shiny, well produced turd. It may appear to be a fully functional crap, but when you clear away the diamond crusted corn nuggets you’ll find the truth of the poop is in the tasting. To paraphrase Gertrude Stein: Turd is a Turd is a Turd is a Turd.

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32 thoughts on “Reason #21 – Sgt Peppers is a Load of Crap

  1. Alexa

    @Steve Howerton: It has already been topped. Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band sucks and is extremely overrated. How anyone can listen to that shit and think it’s good is beyond me. I like some of The Beatles’s stuff but that album was total shit.

  2. Ljo

    Sgt Pepper, what a crappy trip , I mean, have you heard the song “2000 light years from home” (1967) , from the Stones? Nothing can beat that song. People who think Sgt. Pepper is a good album probably don’t listen to music, I have no other explanation.

  3. Dogshit

    The only way to really truely enjoy ANY of the Beeeeeals albums is to get a package UPS from Amsterdamn that is oozing resin out the sides, smoke it after you have traded your non bathing, dread lock ridden, 10 cent thrift store clothes wearing, smelling like shit girlfriend with some other likewise couple. You also have to add a 1/4 tablespoon of LSD, half a fifth of cheap wine, and a picture of the last tree you actually think is on earth, when you are literally sleeping on the earth.

    Then I guess anything would sound good!

  4. Losing My Hair

    How can you possibly say that this album was “shit.” I know that everyone’s entitled to an opinion, because I think Lady Gaga and Cannibal Corpse are COMPLETE “shit.” I don’t think it’s about the production and how the songs were easily composed by technology at their disposal; I’m pretty sure the album was about the inventive style and the songwriting. Have you ever even heard “A Day in the Life.” It’s probably one of their best songs. Open your ears, please.

  5. Das Post author

    Actually, I said it was a turd.

    Yes I’ve heard A Day in the Life. George Martin did a great job of sticking two unfinished songs together and making it mildly interesting simply by adding an entire orchestra.

  6. Michael Kirkby

    I remember listening to this when it came out and wondering what all the fuss was about. If Sgt. Peppers was Paul’s album then it was precursor to what he did with Wings; and that was ton of crap.
    There is the odd song such as Girl that I like but there are just not that many of them. Sgt. Peppers was the beginning of the descent into mediocrity that was the White Album, followed by some lame ass attempt at originality. Were they actually writing their own stuff by that point or was it still being written for them?
    It’s the same with the Stones. I liked some of the early Stones, but after His Satanic Majesty I couldn’t ask for more than for them to permanently retire. They just don’t write lyrics like they used to in the thirties and the forties and fifties; lyrics like Satin Doll for instance. Even then though, a lot of crap got aired. Sometimes you have to know when to exit the stage. Yep, once they find the formula everyone else hops on the bandwagon and the programmed sheople buy what they’re told to buy. Well, everyone else is doing it…Duh!

  7. Das Post author

    Great point Michael. To quote Elijah Wald:
    “Rather than being a high point of rock, the beatles destroyed rock‘n’roll, turning it from a vibrant black dance music into a vehicle for white pap and pretension.”

  8. bentlysherman

    This article reminds me of someone writing a short essay on how rubbish the Mona Lisa is because “it’s just some woman smiling.” If you don’t get why Sgt. Peppers was groundbreaking (it doesn’t stand the test of time as well as Revolver, mind) then fair enough, but this article treats it as if it’s an objectively bad piece of work. Is having the opinion of the masses such a terrible thing? Contrarianism for its own sake just makes you seem like a pretentious twat.

  9. Das Post author

    Dear BS,
    I do understand why it was perceived as groundbreaking in it’s time, and I agree with your statement that it doesn’t stand the test of time. I think if you go back and objectively listen to the album, this pretentious drivel might begin to make sense to you. If you actually read it.

    I am backed by science in my thought provoking arguments: http://bit.ly/gdjA6h

    Your friend,
    -Pretentious Twat III

  10. bentlysherman

    How are you supposed to ‘objectively listen’ to something? What a ridiculous notion. Implying there’s an incorrect way of listening to music.

    That article isn’t a scientific resource either. All it says is that songs in albums constructed as medleys sometimes have clumsy editing when split into individual tracks. If the point is that each individual track needs to stand up on its own, then that’s inconsistent. Lots of musicians experiment with medleys split up into individual ‘tracks’, not just The Beatles. Presumably some of those you even like.

    Also I didn’t say Sgt. Peppers doesn’t stand the test of time, just not as well as Revolver.

  11. Das Post author

    BS, I don’t understand how I’m supposed to win this argument if you don’t allow me to misquote you and provide questionable scientific resources.
    There is no wrong way to listen to music, but there is way to listen to it objectively. For example, if you smoked a joint and took a stroll down Penny Lane while reminiscing about your first sexual encounter, I highly doubt you would hear the song the same way you would as if you put it on and actually listened to the music.
    If you want to get nostalgic, put on a beatles album and rock out. Just don’t mistake nostalgia for a work of art.

  12. DogShit

    I’m gonna get in the middle for a stint. I had an ex preacher that is now pretty much a heathen/agnostic, and he told me that he did it mostly for the collection plate. He quoted the age old quote that if you lie so much that it becomes your whole life, you are really not telling a lie because you actually believe it. Ergo, the beatles were the greatest band to ever walk the face of the earth!

    I still refuse to capitalize the b word, and I think with this lie, drugs and alcohol also help out with this lie.

    I like Pink Floyd, but I don’t really listen too much to the lyrics. They only get me laid when everyones synapses are slowed down by alcohol. Some people use pot though, and build fucking shrines to PF,….Idiots.

  13. me

    Hahahaa,this must be joke right? I want you to be a top seller as long as they were ALL OVER THE WORLD then we can talk aboout how much the Beatles suck ok?
    asshole

  14. Das Post author

    I didn’t realize sales equalled musical ability. It must be true though, Lady Gaga had the best selling album of 2010.

  15. eatme

    Idoits that don’t like sgt pepper are probably deaf dumb blind and piss off that thier favorite idiots illyvanilly was a fake, get over it and enjoy the BEATLES like 90% of the planet you dumb arse hole

  16. eatme

    unfortunantly for all u morons out there no matter what channel of tv u watch or radio station u listen to u will always heat BEATLES so live with it or kill yourself — u make the call as no one would miss u either way including your mom

  17. Stelth

    Eatme, indeed. Nice spelling, grammar, and punctuation! You are a first-order douchebag.

  18. DogShit

    Never compared them, just stating that any music group can be over rated. But nothing compares or rivals the overation of the beatles.

  19. DogShit

    MA, I would rather some crazy looking Chinese guy stick hot bamboo underneath my fingernails, than to listen to any of their songs.

  20. TheManTheyCallKrash

    The Beatles are the banbands and NOTHING tops this album. All you haters are fucked in the head. Comment if you want because I’m not coming back here ha ha. Once again the band OF bands hands down, no question, end of story losers.

  21. TheManTheyCallKrash

    The Beatles are the band of bands and NOTHING tops this album. All you haters are fucked in the head. Hate on me all you want because I’m not coming back here losers ha ha. Once again, the band OF bands hands down, no question, end of story you pieces of shit.

  22. Geoff

    I recently did a review of the best 10 albums released in 1967, SPLHCB came 13th. It constantly gets voted as the best album ever by the general public but WTF do they know.? Popularity doesn’t mean great, for example how many copies did Brothers In Arms sell? Truckloads right, does that mean its more important to music than The Velvet Underground or the Stooges? The only two arresting tracks on the whole album are Lucy in the sky and a day in the life. Within you without you which opens side two is utterly appalling and When I’m 64′ and The benefit of mr kite are songs I could listen to with my gran. The White album was inconsistant and had some experimental filler but at least possessed far more menace and interest than Pepper which is drab, boring, pretentious and vastly overrated to the hilt. Its on a par with Wings, nuff said.

  23. Geoff

    1967
    The Doors (The Doors) Jan *
    Between The Buttons (The Rolling Stones) Jan
    The Velvet Underground And Nico (The Velvet Underground And Nico) March
    Are You Experienced (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) May *
    The Piper At The Gates At Dawn (Pink Floyd) Aug
    Safe As Milk (Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band) Sept
    Disraeli Gears (Cream) Nov *
    Forever Changes (Love) Nov
    The Who Sell Out (The Who) Dec
    Mr Fantasy (Traffic) Dec
    11, Easter Everywhere (The 13th Floor Elevators) 12, Something Else (The Kinks), 13, Sgr Pepers (Beatles)

  24. DONNIE NEWELL

    YOU IDIOTS CAN’T BE SEROIUS? THE BEATLES SUCK? YEAH RIGHT! THEN WTF DO YOU LISTEN TO? even morons get attention……lol.please castrate yourself so you cant have kids. do us all a favor.

  25. Ass-Face

    Geof, I like the list. When it comes to influence, only VU and 13th Floor are being listened to today as creative influences. That’s the real problem with the FF, they were out of original ideas after Hard Days Night. All the ‘innovations’ on Revolver and SPLHCB are adapted from other groups who got there first. The Doors are the Pearl Jam of ’67. They sounded good at first, but didn’t age well…