It Was 50 years Ago Today — Sgt. Pepper Day
It was 50 years ago today that the landmark pop album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released and the music world is celebrating that day. I don't know if I can add anything of meaning to the millions of words that have been written about this work, but I can give you my memories of that day.
The album was released in England on June 1, 1967 and released in America the following day which makes Friday "Pepper Day" in America. I do believe that I was driving a 1963 or '64 Mercury Comet with a passenger door that flew open every time I made a left turn. What a jewel.
At any rate, all the local favorite Top 40 station in town was talking about nothing else on June 2nd. School had been out for a couple of days and my friends and I had nothing better to do than run the roads. The radio station in question had been announcing the release of the album for days and they were going to play it in it's entirety on that day.
We must have tuned in a good hour early as we drove around to all the popular teen spots. It seems that everyone I knew was out cruising around just waiting to hear the new Beatles album. it was that big of a deal.
Well, the appointed hour finally arrived and we were treated to the opening sounds of that amazing work. I don't think we spoke a word during the entire time it took to play the album and when it was over, we didn't exactly know what to say. The album stands up well today, but back on that summer day in 1967, the work was amazing.
The thing that made it so amazing was that, the work was so good, but there didn't seem to be a hit single. That is one thing that really made the album stand out. This was one of the first times that a pop artist had released a work that was to be enjoyed as a complete work and not a series of singles bound for the charts.
WE must have talked about that album for hours. I don't recall anyting else happening that day with the exception of going to one of the local record stores and buying the album. I still have the copy I bought that day and, even though it's barley playable now with all the scratches and skips, it's a prized possession along with my copy of the equally amazing Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys. It was Pet Sounds that challenged the Beatles to even try Sgt. Pepper.
It may not seem that big of a deal now. it's just an album by a rock band, but one summer day back in 1967, we felt that pop music had just been taken in a completely new direction.
Today, it's not so much the music I recall. it's the friendship and the feeling that we were sharing something important. it may not seen all that important now, but at the time, we knew we had heard something game changing. What a day! I'll never forget it.