You have to admit, ‘She Said’ was a cracking tune

I’ve never been particularly fond of ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band‘, which was released forty years ago today. I don’t know if you just had to be there, man or if I’m just being deliberately obtuse. Popular opinion has it as one of the greatest albums of all time, but then popular opinion says that Eastenders, Coronation Street and Mika are good, so what the fuck does it know?
It’s interesting at times but very dated at others. I’m well aware that this collection of songs is tightly bound up with memories for many people but I’m with Nick Hornby who makes the point in ‘31 Songs‘ that music shouldn’t simply a way of assisting the memory. Simply because it conjures that time, does that make it excellent in itself? I went through a period last year of picking up vintage indie albums from The Seahorses, Longpigs and Sleeper. I wanted to hear them as part of a nostalgic reflection on my formative years. Does this mean I now think of them as classics? No. Although I did smirk, yet again, at the mention of ‘Strap-on Sally’ in ‘Love Is The Law‘ by the first of that trio of 90s goodness.
I know I’m simplifying the argument on purpose, but I just can’t find it in me to love ‘Sgt Pepper’s‘. I think I enjoy pretty much every other Beatles record more than this one. I promise you I’m not playing devil’s avocado when I say that I actually prefer Gomez‘s take on ‘Getting Better‘ to the original. ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds‘ is wearing thin these days and is about as subtle as those annoying twins in the new Big Brother. (Fuck off! Like you’re not watching it.)
When I’m Sixty Four‘ makes me want to attach string to each of my ears and hook said strings up to the back of a passing Pendolino. Well, Thumbs is currently sixty four and if you look at the video on Amazon to promote his new album it demonstrates clearly that it’s not an age that suits him well. He’s turned into a shit version of Cliff Richard. Who knew that was even possible?
With A Little Help From My Friends‘ is oddly endearing in the same way as an instantly recognisable, hugely dated museum piece that you might look at when doing obligatory ‘family things’ on holiday.
The title track is dire, pub-rock, balls-out, tub-thumping chuggery and by the time it makes a second appearance it quite cleverly ensures that the dramatic pomp of ‘A Day In The Life‘ is welcomed just that little bit more, as respite if nothing else. I played it this afternoon whilst wondering when Uncut got so bad, and it still didn’t do much for me. It’s pleasant enough at times, but I know how frustrating that description can be if you love the album in question. I’ll just accept it’s not for me and move on, I guess. I hasten to add, I’m not saying I think The Beatles are shit in an attempt at engendering some conversation, I’m very partial to a number of their other records, but this one is a symbol of a time, a sun-faded relic of a by-gone era that no longer means anything new, but which represents a huge amount for those who were there the first time.


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