Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Let the new day begin. The inauguration gives me hope, especially after the dark years of the Bush administration. Maybe I'm naive but it seems like a paradigm shift is in the works. Here are images (albeit tampered with slightly) from another pivotal year, 1967. Nicknamed "The Summer of Love," at least by the square press, society experienced a sea change that season.

One brilliant record concentrated the energies in living color, and that was the Beatles' "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band." The album was released in June, just in time to kick-start the famous summer. Throughout the summer it played everywhere, drifting out of open windows like the burnt odor of grass. It was strange and trippy, but made perfect sense. There were other great psychedelic records that year--Surrealistic Pillow, and The Doors' first album spring to mind, but Pepper took the cake. Bach trumpets and harpsichords and sitars exploded in a riot of flowers. It was pop, it was rock, it was baroque, it was avant garde. Everyone loved it. The Beatles had elevated their game to the level of art, and everyone followed their iridescent snail trail.

It's not my favorite Beatle album--that would be "Revolver" or "Rubber Soul," or even "The White Album," but Pepper is a fantastic time capsule. Some of it may seem dated, but you can't deny it's power. Pepper was highly influential, and not just on pop music; it influenced the entire culture. The following documentary examines the album closely--perhaps as closely as you did after smoking that Nepalese temple hash. It's worth a look.

"The Making of Sgt. Pepper:"

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