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 As a historical document, it is absolutely fascinating: the Letters to the Editor, the news bits, the music charts on the last page are all taken from those first few issues.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