It was 70 years ago today that Sgt Pepper taught the band to play: the long 1960s?

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2017 by kmflett

It was 70 years ago today that Sgt Pepper taught the band to play: the long 1960s?

The Beatles Sergeant Pepper was released 50 years ago on June 1st 1967.It was of course 20 years before that according to the opening track that Sgt Pepper had taught the band to play.

Different times indeed, but the anniversary is being marked with special programmes, a new release of the record and much media comment.

Well it is social history and one that many alive today can remember. Indeed numbers of those are in positions in society now where they can do much to promote it being remembered. That by the way is not a conspiracy theory but simply an observation on how histories of the present may work.

I was only 11 years old (apparently) on June 1st 1967 and so I didn’t buy Sergeant Pepper on release. I was aware of it, and the summer of love (not difficult living in Muswell Hill) but my Beatles relationship didn’t start until 1968 when I became a teenager. Others may have different experiences.

It’s difficult to find a bad word said about the record, even Dominic Sandbrook, at least in previous commentary, has failed to find anything hugely left-wing about it, and noted that not only were the Beatles on nothing more mind bending than cannabis (note for younger readers, cannabis in 1967 was not of the kind of strength that might be found now) but George Martin was in any case there to sort it all out.

Personally I like Peter Blake’s cover more than the music, although when I’m 64 does loom increasingly large in my life…

The point that interests above all is why it has endured as it has. In the late 1960s if someone had played me some music from the period around the First World War I would have left the room. That might well have been the ignorance of youth of course but it would also have been because it would have sounded entirely outdated music from an era long past.

I’m not sure that’s how Sergeant Pepper is heard today. Perhaps we are talking about the Long 1960s? That refers to an historical device- the long twentieth century for example- that suggests that the influence of a particular historical period may be greater than simply looking at the calendar could suggest.

Perhaps the celebration of Sgt Pepper suggests that we have yet to finally leave the 1960s quite yet.




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