My son is studying music in school for his leaving cert. One of the musical scores on the syllabus is the Beatles Album: Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. How cool is that? Well, cool for me. But for him I guess you have to put it in perspective.
Sergeant Pepper was released in 1967, when I was 4 years old, so it formed part of the musical DNA of my upbringing. But my son is 17. For him this should be just a 46 year old album. It would be like me in 1979 having to study music written in 1933. Would I have rejoiced if my school told me I would be learning the musical score from “Flying down to Rio” starring Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire? Would that have got my hands clappin’ and my feet tappin’? Not exactly. I was listening to Blondie, The Boomtown Rats, Pink Floyd, Ian Dury, the Police, the Undertones and Thin Lizzy.
But here is the incredible thing. Yes! He is excited. He is interested. It is a mark of the enduring influence of the Beatles that those funky kids today dig that groove because those cool sounds are so gear. OK slang language has definitely seen a seismic shift, but the music lives on.
1966/67 was the heyday of the rivalry between the Beach Boys (Pet Sounds), the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Jimi Hendrix was at the height of his career. “Dazed and Confused” was released by Jake Holmes. Bob Dylan followed on his “Blonde on Blonde” album by releasing a greatest hits LP. Van Morrison went solo and released “Brown Eyed Girl”. The Doors broke onto the scene with their debut and then “Music from the Big Pink” by the Band came out in 1968.
In this context you can appreciate that Sgt Peppers hit the charts at the very pinnacle of the creative explosion of 60’s music experimentation. It was a great time to be alive. Of course, if you remember it, you weren’t there
Within you and without you: by George Harrison
We were talking-about the space between us all
And the people-who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion
Never glimpse the truth-then it’s far too late-when they pass away.
We were talking-about the love we all could share-when we find it
To try our best to hold it there-with our love
With our love-we could save the world-if they only knew.
Try to realize it’s all within yourself
No-one else can make you change
And to see you’re really only very small,
And life flows ON within you and without you.
We were talking-about the love that’s gone so cold and the people,
Who gain the world and lose their soul-
They don’t know-they can’t see-are you one of them?