It was a nice day. The sun was out, my car was washed, the traffic not too bad and all my tasks seemed to be placed in the right pigeon holes. It was a nice day and getting nicer. The song on the car radio was a favourite, so I cranked up the volume and even sang along to the chorus.
Then the DJ ruined everything by announcing: “Today marks 50 years since the release of the Beatle album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
Say it isn’t so.
I can remember my buddy and me standing in line to buy our Sgt. Pepper albums with five dollar bills in our hands and even that was considered expensive back then. But after all, this was the Beatles.
They had played a big part in getting us through high school, usually playing in the background as we did our homework in our room or being front and centre at the dances and house parties.
1967 was being promoted as the ‘Summer of Love,’ and now with 8 tracks or cassettes the Beatles could climb in our cars and come with us to Crescent Beach, Penticton or Deek’s Pit.
The magazine Rolling Stone called it ‘the greatest rock and roll album ever made, by the greatest rock and roll group of all time.’
We were just getting out of high school and life was going to be different for us. And here were the Beatles, no longer the lads in shirts and ties, jackets and tight pants; they were different too. Longer hair, side burns, moustaches, colourful, funky military style outfits all displayed on an album cover surrounded by cardboard cut outs of famous people. If the Beatles could be different, we could be different as well. Now we had permission.
The music was different as well. Not just guitars and Ringo’s drums but brass bands and sitars, combining Vaudeville tunes, circus sounds and Indian classical tunes. Every song had a different sound and a different beat and even today, you can hear something in one of those songs that you missed back then.
Each song had its own story. Critics said Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was about LSD. Lennon said it was inspired by his four-year-old son drawing a picture of a friend, Lucy, surrounded by diamonds in the sky.
I guess there was ‘fake news’ back then as well. Many ‘scholars’ have tried to decipher the true meaning of the lyrics from the Sgt. Pepper songs but the Beatles insist they were just having fun.
I have the album playing while I’m writing this, and I can feel the wind whipping around me in my Valiant convertible on a long ago night on the way home from White Rock, singing along to With a little Help from My Friends.
Fifty years later, in the words of the Beatles, “I’ve got to admit it’s getting better all the time.”
At least that’s what McGregor says.