Day 520 Saturday June 23, 2018 1,058 Days to Go
I’ve been listening to The Sgt. Pepper’s new CD. It is a remastered version for stereo. The Beatles spent a lot of time on the mono version. They had little to do with original stereo version. Giles Martin, son of George, took his dad’s original tapes and remastered them. The CD is wonderful. It makes me want to say, “Ah, a simpler time.”
But you know what? Haven’t people been saying that forever? Isn’t it really that one grows up and learns more? And that learning can be confining, because one learns more reasons why not. Language can be learned by children quite easily up to age ten, then it gets hard. Why? Their brains are wired to think a certain way.
I remember someone I knew used to say one of the earliest writing was, “Children no longer listen to their parents and everyone wants to write a book.”
I’ve read some new liner notes for the CD. The name Sgt. Peppers came from Paul hearing one of their roadie crew asking for the salt and pepper as Sgt. Peppers. This got Paul to thinking about a fictitious band and the players in it to be the Beatles alter egos. He also did up some sketches of John, George, Ringo, and himself in military style band costumes. They got help with the album cover from local artists who saw this as a work of art, not a liner for an album. At the time album art typically cost one hundred pounds; Sgt. Peppers cost 3000, about the price of a house in England. Their record company agreed to cover the cost, if the album sold one million copies. At the time of the creating of the album, there was a real question as to whether it would do well. There were many things never done before on an album, including publishing the lyrics to the songs.
I had mentioned the other night how much I was enjoying the album and I was told by those younger than me that they didn’t really know the album; that it was “before their time.” I had been caught in a Beatles time warp before. It was when I was living in a community called Bannockburn, which had an annual spring show. We took existing songs and wrote new lyrics for them and put on a show for the community. It had been a tradition in the neighborhood since the mid 50s. All ages and generations were involved. The older set knew Gilbert and Sullivan. I had suggested a song to a Beatles tune and was told to let the kids do it because the G&S crowd didn’t know the Beatles. It turned out neither did the kids! We had to teach the kids the song. (Another year I had a rap song to Public Enemy and the kids didn’t know them either!) Years, later Al, one of the G&S crowd, thanked me for introducing him to the Beatles. The news was celebrating the 25th anniversary of Sgt. Peppers and he thanked me because he now knew what the news people were talking about.
I remember talking to my cousin Virginia about that time. She was of my grandfather’s generation and born in 1899 (although she lied and said 1900.) She would have been the age I am now in 1967 when Sgt. Peppers came out. I wonder what she thought? Would she have pined for a simpler time? I do remember talking to her about the revolution in China. It was in the 1980s when we were talking. I mentioned that the revolution was a long time ago (1948). She said, “It wasn’t that long ago, 1924.” I had to go home and look up what she was talking about – The Boxer Rebellion. Mao’s revolution hadn’t even registered with her.
Time and perspective is a weird thing. I wonder what people will think when they look back at this time in American history?
We are in dangerous times. Our values are being called into question and challenged in a real way. The demagogues are not only spouting off their nonsense but trying to institute it as policy. They are running into a terrible thing (for them) – reality. We have seen where demagoguery can lead to. Combine that with racism, misogyny, nativism, isolationism, and a mixture of propaganda designed to foster lies and here we are. We’ve been here before, as a nation, as a world. Will we have to endure the pain that we had to endure before? Will 50 million people have to die? Will we sit quietly by and watch until it’s too late? I don’t think so, but it is up to each and everyone of us to speak up, to act, to vote.
1,058 Days to Go
PS Sgt. Peppers 50th Anniversary Edition – inside booklet cover.