Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Overplayed and overrated Beatles set, the second time the Beatles helped ruin American music. The first time was in 1964 when they arrived with their watered-down version of American R&B, lame covers or lame originals. They were like the Osmonds of the 60s.
The Osmonds were a white version of Motown’s The Jackson Five. We couldn’t have our white girls creaming in their jeans over a bunch of colored brothers from Gary, Indiana, or any of those colored folks from Motown so along came the Osmonds.
Things were much more serious in 1964. For the first time, white people were buying black music by the truck load. So they brought over the Beatles who almost single-handedly managed to destroy one of the greatest times in American Music. In the post-Beatles world, we’ve never had anything that has come close to the early 60s.
In ’64, we not only had the blacks, but we had white folks playing black music with gesto, classic garage that actually rocked, folks like Dick Dale and Link Wray, a bunch of punk kids having a blast, and the black folks fusing hard bop with the grooves of R&B and world influences (long before the Beatles), and then you had the real R&B.
I was just listening to Shorty Long do his 1964 original “Devil in a Blue Dress.” Now that’s a classic. Like so many others, that should have been a hit.
But the Beatles arrived with crap like “Love Me Do,”…then years later “And in the end / the love you take / is equal to the love / you make,” or something like that. Barf-O-rama. That makes me want to punch someone in the face. That is so dated and dimwitted. And in between that, we got this set, just when we were getting the groove going again in ’66.
Sure, this is a decent set, and the Osmonds comment was mostly to make a point and piss people off, stir up the pot, to start some conversations. I put Pepper in the Good Shit inventory, called it noteworthy, but it’s not that great, and the influence it had on American music wasn’t all good. Since the Beatles couldn’t even put on a decent show, this marked the time when they gave up even trying. It’s one thing to steal American black music and call it your own; it’s another thing to dress it up in a uniform and send it to private school. This album took the wild abandonment of R&B, and made it tame and educated. You can do that with a lot of things and I won’t cause a stink.
But you shouldn’t do that to rock ‘n roll.
“I wish Sgt. Pepper had never taught the band to play.” –the Dictators