Friday, 10 March 2017

Spizer chimes in

Front cover of Bruce Spizer's Sgt. Pepper book.
2017 is a year literally peppered (sorry) with interesting stuff, and now a third book about the Beatles' classic "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album has been announced. This time it's U.S. Beatles historian Bruce Spizer who is currently busy compiling a book about the album as seen from the fans’ perspective, with contributions by Bruce, Bill King, Al Sussman, Frank Daniels, Piers Hemmingsen and others. He is also still looking for memories from fans throughout the world to include in this book. But you'll have to be quick if you're going to participate, deadline is March 22.
Here is a link to the web page where you can send in your stuff: Beatle.Net

The book will be out in May. We previously announced two other books about the album.
Also, Ken Orth will have a 2-part article in Beatlefan about the creation of the album cover, and then there's the unofficial documentary film by Alan G Parker, who we recently interviewed. But of course the biggest event has yet to be officially announced: the anniversary edition of the album itself. And don't fool yourself thinking that it's going to be just the album with the single tracks Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields added. I assure you, this will be something special to look forward to for all of us.

In addition to this, there will be Sgt Pepper concerts arranged in many countries, featuring local cover bands and/or well known local heroes performing the Pepper songs. "A splendid time", well, you know the drill.


Mark McKendrick said...

It needs 'Only A Northern Song' to be insertred in it's rightful place. Had that track been included on the original, when and where it was supposed to, it would have been hailed as one of the best and strongest tracks on the album, and after 'Taxman' of the previous album, George Harrison wouldn't have had to wait until 'Something' to be hailed as one of THE truly great songwriters. 'Only A Northern Song' SHOULD have been included the first time around - and there was plenty of room to include it. It's telling that the lyrics identify a situation that occured within The Beatles regarding the big deal between Lennon and McCartney as having 'the say' when it came to writing songs, the inclusion of those songs on the albums - and the charter that led to the formation of the publishing company Northern Songs. John and Paul didn't want 'Only A Northern Song' on the album because they didn't want knocking off their throne. Play the song in context with the other tunes from Sgt Pepper and you'll see it. 'Only A Northern Song' is a more important inclusion to Sgt. Pepper than the unnecessary inclusion of the singles that went with it. And if that is the thinking behind the re-issue they might as well have an anniversary re-issue of EVERY album and add the accompanying single releases. It just isn't how things were done in those days - the single was the single. I personally think that the inclusion of 'Penny Lane' and 'Strawberry Fields Forever' will simply bastardise the album - it certainly WON'T be how it 'should' have been. Utter sacrilege. Give 'Only A Northern Song' it's rightful place on the album and leave the singles out of it.

arrownet said...

Interesting. I don't think I've ever come across that point of view before and it's certainly not one that I currently share. However, in the interests of fairness I will give it a try.
Where exactly was Only A Northern Song supposed to go in the running order? I was under the impression it was quietly dropped almost straight after recording was started so it seems unlikely they gave much thought as to where it should go.
Presumably not after A Day In The Life; it might have stolen that song's thunder.

As to leaving singles off anniversary editions, I second that motion.

Mark McKendrick said...

Well. quite! That's the point. They're not going to hang around and debate a threat - they're going to kill it. Ergo, there was no thought as to where to put it - although Neil Aspinall's Sgt Pepper (Reprise) idea threw up some good notions - including the one that 'Northern Song' would have slotted in perfectly after 'Lovely Rita' and before the segued three final songs.

Martin said...

I agree with Mark. It's pointless to include 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'Penny Lane' on Pepper... That would be like putting 'Day Tripper' and 'We Can Work It Out' on Rubber Soul. The Beatles were a great singles band as well as a great album band. And although most artists these days release at least half a dozen (bad) album tracks as 'singles' (and then have the cheek to re-release an album as a 'special edition' because it features a cast-off and a couple of 'remixes') The Beatles always gave value for money and tried their best not to rip off fans by having them buy the same song twice. The classic 45s should stay as they are.

arrownet said...

I guess my attempt at subtle sarcasm was too subtle.
The very notion that Only A Northern Song could steal the thunder from A Day In The Life is absurd.
On every level - songwriting, execution, recording, arranging - A Day In The Life (and the rest of Sgt. Pepper), rains/reigns down on George's effort from a great height.

Apart from, of course, personal taste.

And, after trying to slot it in to various places in the album all that it shows is that Only A Northern Song is a miserable, cynical bit of George, stomping around his bungalow, unable to understand why they wouldn't record Art Of Dying. (Pure speculation of course :-))

Thankfully he came up with Within You Without You.

Debjorgo said...

Wasn't Only a Northern Song about how the Beatles kind of sucked? It doesn't quite fit the loose theme of Sgt Pepper.

Mark McKendrick said...

There's the connversation killer, arrownet. Good work, Sirrah.
Debjorgo.... it was about L&McC's dominance in the publishing deal and in the writing stakes, so, maybe about how their attitude and the arrangment 'sucked'.

Debjorgo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debjorgo said...

"George was on Northern Songs too. "If your listening to THIS song.... WE just wrote them like that". There is nothing directed at either John or Paul."

Never mind. After some wiki-search I get it. George's songs didn't matter because he didn't have the same stake in the company. But that seems a little pissy though. He got song writer royalties like every other song writer.

Martin said...

Maybe the 50th release won't be a direct reissue of Pepper, but more like a celebration of Pepper and the Beatles psychedelic era... Which would have room for 'Northern Song' 'It's All Too Much' and even the Walrus... As long as it's a proper Yellow Sub style remix job, and not more 'Love' style butchery.

Think they (Apple/Universal) missed a chance to do a 50th thing for 'Revolver'... The album done in 'songtrack' style, Bob Freeman's alternate cover included, more artwork and stuff from Klaus, some of those 66 press conferences/interviews on DVD, and a bit of new stuff from Paul and Richie.... Ah well...