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The frustration of Sergeant Pepper

Posted by Simon Parke, 20 June 2017, 5.26am

Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band is now fifty years old.

It tops most charts as ‘The greatest album ever’...a remarkable achievement of both song writing and production.

But for The Beatles, it was born out of frustration rather than excitement; frustration at the way things were going for them as a band.

I remember hearing Paul McCartney interviewed as he came off stage after a gig in 1966.

He was a vexed man who didn’t know what to do.

The Beatles were massive; people screamed and fainted throughout the show. But as McCartney complained, they couldn’t hear themselves play anymore and they’d hit a creative wall.

The tours were hugely profitable; but somewhere inside they knew this couldn’t go on, something had to give.

So after three years of successful touring, they decided to stop.

(I can imagine some screams of disbelief in the accounts department.)

Instead, they hid themselves away in a studio for five months… and created something no one saw coming: ‘Sergeant Pepper’.

As I listen to the album again - and in particular, to Being for the benefit of Mr Kite - I’m reminded that it’s also good to listen to our frustration.

As with The Beatles, it may be a bridge to a fresh adventure, musical or otherwise.

And we start with the questions: ‘Why am I frustrated? What can I do about it?’



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