Sgt. Pepperís Lonely Hearts Club Band
Kitopedia articles referencing Sgt. Pepper:
Nod to Artifice: The album is introduced through its first song as a concert being given by the fictional band of the title. In an inside joke, the second song is then presented as a solo by that bandís lead singer "Billy Shears," who is really the (mostly non-singing) Ringo Starr, drummer of the real band.
Classic Structure: Unlike "Abbey Road," another concept album recorded by the Beatles, "Sgt. Pepper" contains no side-length medley or (with the exception of the reprised title track) reoccurring musical themes. Instead, it largely keeps the standard format of any LP of the time (to such an extent that the Beatles even considered interchanging some of the songs with ones from other albums).
What makes the structure notable, however, is that the song order imitates a classic theatrical presentation, including an introduction (the title track), a first act finale ("Mr. Kite"), an "intermission" (the side change), a second act introduction ("Within and Without You"), a curtain call (title song reprise) and a coda ("A Day in the Life"). This makes "Sgt. Pepper" unusual among reconstructivist artworks in that the classic structure is also a transcontextualized element.
Transcontextual and Iconic Elements: Other than the theatrical structure, the most directly transcontextual elements in "Sgt. Pepper" are not found on the album, but in the cover art, which assembles nearly a hundred famous faces, collage-style, as members of the eponymous "Lonely Hearts Club."
At least three other sets of transcontextualized elements are present in the music itself, although two of them are only known for their connection with the album: the circus poster that inspired the lyric for "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!", and the childrenís drawing that was the putative inspiration for "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." The third set is the stream-of-consciousness cultural references in "A Day in the Life."
Additionally, many of the characters in the songs are iconic in conception and realization. This is true not only of the dreamlike "Lucy in the Sky" and the theatrical "Mr. Kite", but also of more everyday figures such as "Lovely Rita, Meter Maid" and "She" (of "Sheís Leaving Home").
Moments of Genuine Emotion or Significance: This album largely foregoes the social commentary that marked much of the Beatlesí later work, but it highlights the Beatlesí underlying spirituality and humanity.
The first of these factors was the variety of influences found in their music:
1. The vitality of contemporary black American music (anchored in the "backbeat")
2. the music-hall tunes of Paulís childhood
3. the Indian classical music of Georgeís gurus
4. Johnís dream-drenched memories of offshore radio stations that would broadcast in the wee hours of the morning.
The second factor was the interplay between the members. Paul was a born musician and storyteller, John was a passionate visionary, George had style, and Ringo, in many ways, was the glue holding the others together.
Finally, there was the context. The social and cultural upheaval of the times made for one of the richest eras ever in popular music.
(The Antecedant...The Album...Analysis...Post Album...Personal Notes......)