Hank: It was 50 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the world to play! So clearly there must be a 50th Anniversary Deluxe Re-Issue of the Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”- easily the single most influential record of the 20th Century, (no matter how many whiny glee-club songs the Beach Boys put into “Pet Sounds,” its nearest competitor). This unmissable re-issue is a chance to renew our romance with an album that most of us have grown to take for granted. Sir George Martin died just last year, but his son Giles is in charge of the proceedings. Do not worry: this isn’t a haphazard transformation of a masterpiece; it is a CLARIFICATION of that masterpiece, which too many people have experienced in the 1987 stereo mix. Martin takes voices that had been segregated from instruments, and unites the two in a new stereo mix that respects the original mono intentions of the band. For those who need more than the aural rejuvenation of the material, the wealth of extras justifies the purchase. Aside from the many outtakes, “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” have been inserted into “Sgt. Pepper’s,” where they always belonged. This is a summation of all the various tricks the Beatles had learned, up to 1967 anyway: the harmonic joy of “With A Little Help from my Friends” and “Getting Better”; the whimsy of “When I’m 64” and “Lovely Rita”; the self-help meditations of “Fixing a Hole” and “Within You Without You”; the slightly acid suburban satires of “Good Morning Good Morning” and “She’s Leaving Home”; the all-out acid trips of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “For the Benefit of Mr. Kite” (the latter is one of the most undeservedly slighted gems in the Beatles canon). In turn, “A Day in the Life” summarizes the album experience with that most soaring of orchestral orgasms, one that would have turned Beethoven avocado with envy. Surely we will give “Sgt. Pepper” the Six Cherries it deserves.
Grandpa Felicius: The Beatles wrote dozens upon dozens of undeniably indelible hits that collectively represent the artistic zenith of popular songwriting. Unfortunately, none of THOSE songs made it into this cloying, overrated conceptual mess. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is a grubby grab-bag of novelty trifles and smug, barely coherent druggy “insights.” ”The time will come when you see we’re all one and life flows on within you and without you?” Yes, George Harrison, I am also appreciative of my morphine, but I don’t try to pass that off as philosophical depth.
Cousin Franz: The single most influential record of the 20th Century is Kraftwerk’s Trans-Europe Express. I’m confused. Who doesn’t know this?
Trent: Mono? Isn’t that the STD Tracey contracted at that Drama Camp?
Tracey: Shut up, Trent!
Trent: No. The Beatles? More like The DON’T BEatles! Paul McCartney? More like Paul McCORNY! John Lennon? More like John LENIN! George Harrison? More like George HARE-KRISHNA-son! Ringo Starr? More like… Errrr… Dingo Scarr! Actually, Dingo Scarr sounds pretty metal. Especially with a K. Hmmm. Dingo Skarr! The more I hear it, the more I fear it! From now on, I shall be known throughout the land as Dingo Skarr, the Liverpool Liver-Eater!
Tracey: Shut up, Dongo! As for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” it gets a MILLION CHERRIES! Who wouldn’t love this? It is pure musical joy pressed down to the vinyl. Listen to this: “I’ve got to admit it’s getting better, it’s getting better all the time!” We need songs like this, colorful, positive, full of optimism. “Better, better! Beeeetter!!!” Anyone would feel compelled to sing along! “I used to be mean to my woman and beat her and keep her away from the things that she loved and—”
*Insert Record Needle Scratch Effect straight out of the “Ally McBeal Original Soundtrack.”*
WTF. W. T. Holy. FFFFFFFFFFF. Did they just confess to domestic abuse in their cheery tune, and then laugh it off like it was a bad habit on par with public booger-picking? I take it back! NO CHERRIES!
Beatricia: The Beatles purport to transform into the Lonely Hearts Club Band. This conceit is maintained for approximately two minutes, then it is all but abandoned in exchange for a collection of regular Beatles ditties. If we must have fictional rock bands with quasi-conceptual albums, give me the swagger of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars! And what can one begin to say in defense of the horrible, horrible song called “She’s Leaving Home,” about an ungrateful teenage girl who runs away from her loving, dedicated parents to shack up with a much older sleazebag from “the motor trade”? How can one excuse the way her family’s genuine pain is mocked as the over-reaction of uptight squares who don’t get that the Summer of Love is in full swing? How can one ignore the fact that we’re supposed to cheer a troubled runaway because, hey, at least she’s having FUN dating her predator! No Cherry! No way!
Trent: Fab Four? More like the Blab Bores! Sorry, it took me a while to come up with that one. The talents of Dingo Skarr, the Liverpool Liver-Eater, do not lie in making puns. Dingo Skarr is more about eating raw cow livers and fronting his Melodic Death Metal band, The Scab Sores.
Hank: Are you all mentally defective?!? A collection of regular Beatles ditties?!? Is the Sistine Chapel a collection of regular Michelangelo doodles?!? This is M***********G “SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND” and we’re giving it ONE STAR?!? We gave that Halsey girl THREE STARS, and I had never even HEARD of her until last week?!? GRRRR!!! Where is the dining room table?!? I need to flip the dining room table right now!!!
Beatricia: Do try to calm down, Hanky. You know the Judge ordered Blurbarella to sedate any of us who engaged in– what did the ruling say?– “counter-productive table-flipping behavior.”
Blurbarella: “Entering– Stun Gun Mode.– Make My Day– Human Punk.– I Have Been Waiting– For This Moment.”
1 of 6 Cherries