July 5, 2007

40 years of perspective / Sgt. Pepper’s BBC tribute

The most recent issue of Rolling Stone arrived on Tuesday and I sat down and read it cover-to-falling-asleep (I got about halfway through) last night, enjoying it more than any issue I can recall — and that includes the Pearl Jam ones. Reading each page like that is rare for me these days in Rolling Stone.

RS 1030 is the second of three issues devoted to celebrating the 40-year anniversary of Rolling Stone as a magazine, and this issue is wholly devoted to the year of its nascence, 1967. As a historical document, it is absolutely fascinating: the Letters to the Editor, the news bits, the music charts on the last page are all taken from those first few issues. The content of this issue is mostly in-depth profiles of the scene in 1967 in cities around the world (San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Detroit, New York, etc). On every page there are firsthand quotes and recollections from those who were there, and commentary on the impact that various scenes have had on music today. I especially enjoyed the feature on SF, since I grew up just south of there but had no idea of things like the extent of the acid tests in my own backyard (they didn’t teach us that in high school civics class).

This issue also made me think very critically about the music of today, and how it will be remembered. There’s a deification of all these bands from the ’60s, yet they all look so young and naive in their press photos. They didn’t know they were shaping history or changing the world; they were just playing their music. I wonder which bands from today will stand the test of time, and how their albums will be ranked and remembered on the 80-year anniversary issue of RS. Reading this issue gave me a weird and disorienting sense of vertigo.

An interesting musical feature to tie together exactly what I am talking about was recently streamed over the BBC internet radio to the world. One of the biggest musical events of 1967 was the release of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album (and the corresponding psychedelic-general/long ‘stache/matching fashion plate look).

Three weeks ago, the BBC recreated this album through covers by the young and hot bands of today, in the same Abbey Road Studios where they were first recorded, on the original 4-track analogue equipment. The results were filmed as a documentary (assumedly for future release?), but many of those covers are here for you today. I wonder how these bands will be remembered 40 years from now.

Please note: I left off a few tracks that did nothing for me (such as the Bryan-not-Ryan-Adams cover of the title track), and these are radio rips, so you take what you can get.

With A Little Help From My Friends – Razorlight
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – Athlete
Getting Better – Kaiser Chiefs
Fixing A Hole – The Fray
She’s Leaving Home – The Magic Numbers
Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite – Jamie Cullum
Within You Without You – Oasis
alternate version with Noel interview
Lovely Rita – Travis
Good Morning Good Morning – The Zutons
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) – Stereophonics
A Day In The Life – Pete Doherty and Carl Barat

[more pics here]


  • thanks for these, been waiting to year the oasis version

    M.Beck — July 5, 2007 @ 12:48 pm

  • THis is awesome, thanks! THe new RS is indeed fantastic, I love reading the historical stuff written as it was happening.

    Did the Killers play on this tribute? I read on the press release they were supposed to, but I wasn’t able to find anything out after the fact.

    petepizza — July 5, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

  • I’m a long time reader but first time poster. I couldn’t let this one pass without telling you how much I love the blog. Thank you.

    ps. I’m wondering about The Killers participation too.

    noc — July 5, 2007 @ 2:36 pm

  • I also just finished the most recent RS and agree with you wholeheartedly. It is pretty amazing to review which albums were released that year and the tremendous influence they had on the music that followed. I am also always amazed about how some of the groups produced multiple albums during a year’s time and that they all have stood the test of time. Great post-thanks!

    Glenn — July 5, 2007 @ 7:02 pm

  • i can honestly say i have never heard pete doherty sing before i listened to his reasonably respectable cover of ‘a day in the life’. i must live under a rock.

    great post, great blog..it’s all great!

    Anonymous — July 5, 2007 @ 8:03 pm

  • That was an excellent post. It was fascinating to hear the other artist’s interpretations of theSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Keep up the great work!

    Joe — July 6, 2007 @ 12:14 am

  • Your Blog is really amazing!!!
    Thank you for the great stuff (every day)!

    Greetings from Germany

    Anonymous — July 6, 2007 @ 6:10 am

  • Yeah, why is it the Beatles could put out two albums a year (and several additional singles) and EVERY SINGLE SONG was amazing, and nowadays you’re lucky if your favorite band puts out a decent one every two or three years, and even then you might get a dud or two in there?

    I guess that’s why the Beatles were The Beatles.

    petepizza — July 6, 2007 @ 7:07 am

  • Uggh…like you I got the RS in the mail on Tuesday, but haven’t had a chance to even open it yet. One of these days I’ll be less busy…

    JJ — July 6, 2007 @ 8:28 am

  • christmas in july!

    Thanks for sharing this spectacular tribute!


    Art Monkey — July 6, 2007 @ 9:54 am

  • This made my day. Hurrah!

    Amy — July 6, 2007 @ 10:24 pm

  • Thanks for posting these. This sort of musical remake parlor game is often interesting in theory, but just as often turns out that most of the remakes are disappointingly straightforward and unimaginative (The Zutons one is my sorta fave among the bunch–it’s a little crisper and funkier). I wonder if the artists involved felt intimidated considering the source material, or if someone in charge kind of sent the message not to ‘mess’ with the tracks too much.

    Just a thought~~thanks again, Heather. Your site continues to be a favorite spot when surfing for musical ideas.

    MM — July 8, 2007 @ 10:30 am

  • Q Magazine did a similar thing last year for the 40th anniversary of Revolver, that was even better than this one.


    Monkey Bastard — July 9, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

  • I hope the BBC put these tracks out as an album, fully engineered and in stereo. I ripped the show from UK digital TV, and even my mono recordings sound fantastic. I think the Razorlight track, With a little help from my friends, is one of the best, but really, hey’re all great.

    Nigel — July 15, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

  • Thanks for these. I’ve been looking for them.

    Richard — July 26, 2007 @ 4:48 am

  • Thanks a bunch. Much obliged!

    Daryl — July 31, 2007 @ 7:19 pm

  • mp3z were great from pepper trib Ant 23 england ps u r well cute

    ant — August 12, 2007 @ 5:48 am

  • wonderful! thank you

    kiran — August 20, 2007 @ 9:05 am

  • Oh!!!
    Very very good!!!
    Great versions!!! Great Cover!!!

    César G. H. From Brazil — September 23, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

  • Any more download links as they’ve been taken down now.

    Sam — July 31, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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