1967 was considered to be the Summer of Love. It was the year of rebellion against the system. Protests broke out against the Vietnam War, and hippies gathered in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco in their droves. Whilst over in England bands like Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine played to psychedelic light shows. To add to this time on 26th May 1967, in the UK (and June 1st, 1967 in America) The Beatles, four lads from Liverpool, released Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Its influence was far-reaching, transcending the decades. It left an indelible impression on any music that was to follow. It is now regarded as the most significant rock and roll album ever made. It features classic songs such as She’s Leaving Home, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and A Day In The Life. It incorporated a mixture of styles including psychedelia and Indian classical music which marked a period of growth and experimentation for the Beatles who had grown tired of relentless touring. To celebrate the anniversary there are a series of exciting events happening. To begin with the Beatles have just released a Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition package. The album is newly mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell in stereo. “It’s crazy to think that 50 years later we are looking back on this project with such fondness and a little bit of amazement at how four guys, a great producer and his engineers could make such a lasting piece of art,” says Paul McCartney in his newly-penned introduction for the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition.
“‘Sgt. Pepper’ seemed to capture the mood of that year, and it also allowed a lot of other people to kick off from there and to really go for it,” Ringo Starr recalls in the Anniversary Edition’s book. The city of Liverpool will be running a series of events from May 26th through to 16th June to commemorate the occasion. There will be 13, never seen before events influenced by each track on the album. A host of internationally renowned artists are working in collaboration with the city’s own creatives to bring together these pieces of work. These will include music, art, theatre and dance to name a few as the city pays tributes to its four heroes. For more information go to: https://www.sgtpepperat50.com/about/
The BBC will also be celebrating in their own unique way too. In early June, BBC Two will present a new documentary: Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution, illustrating Sgt. Pepper as you have never heard it before. The film will include excerpts from never accessed before material (outside of Abbey Road), as well as studio chats between the band, out-takes and isolated instrumental and vocal tracks. Written and presented by one of Britain’s leading composers and most admired music broadcasters, Howard Goodall. BBC Radio will also commemorate the anniversary. On Thursday 15 June (1pm – 4pm) on 6 Music, Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie will be broadcasting their show from Liverpool, celebrating the music of the city from Sgt. Pepper to the present day.
Also, if you head down to the eclectic Festival No. 6 (September 7th – 10th) held in Portmeirion, North Wales they will be marking the occasion in their own way with a Sgt. Peppers-themed Carnival that will wind its way through the Mediterranean-style village to the main stage in time to meet the 70-piece Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Bootleg Beatles amazing performance of Sgt. Peppers in full. Festival-goers are encouraged to bring their own Sgt. Peppers themed costumes and join the carnival.
Man I wish I was alive in the sixties! What an exciting time to be alive. I’ve got some time off next week so I’ll head into Liverpool and check what’s going on.