21 June 2012

EXCERPT: "Young and old alike were entranced."

An excerpt from the fantastic Beatles book Revolution in the Head by Ian McDonald.
With Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band finished, the group left Abbey Road at dawn bearing an acetate and drove to 'Mama' Cass Elliott's flat off the King's Road where, at six in the morning, they threw open the windows, put speakers on the ledge, and played the album full blast over the rooftops of Chelsea.

According to Derek Taylor, 'all the windows around us opened and people leaned out, wondering. It was obvious who it was on the record. Nobody complained. A lovely spring morning. People were smiling and giving us the thumbs up.'

When Sgt. Pepper was released in June, it was a major cultural event. Young and old alike were entranced. Attending a party with a group of rich older women, EMI boss Sir Joseph Lockwood found them so 'thrilled' by the album that they sat on the floor after dinner singing extracts from it.

In America normal radio-play was virtually suspended for several days, only tracks from Sgt. Pepper being played. An almost religious awe surrounded the LP.

Paul Kantner of the San Francisco acid rock band Jefferson Airplane remembers how The Byrds' David Crosby brough a tape of Sgt. Pepper to their Seattle hotel and played it all night in the lobby with a hundred young fans listening quietly on the stairs, as if rapt by a spiritual experienced. 'Something,' says Kantner, 'enveloped the whole world at that time and it just exploded into a renaissance.'

Pg. 248-9
Nobody seems to listen to records anymore. When was the last time you just sat down with your friends in the living room, around the hi-fi and just listened to an album? The last time you just laid down in bed, no phone, no laptop, no book, no television and just listened to an album all the way through? When was the last time you were 'entranced?'

That's the problem, I suppose. A lot of bands these days don't create proper albums anymore. And people don't really listen to albums anymore.

I want to start an album club where each week a person will bring an album to the group and everyone will just sit for an hour and just listen.

Now, take 40 minutes out of your day and listen to this one:

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