After 50 years, the legacy of “Sgt. Pepper” carries on


 It was fifty years ago today when the Beatles released revolutionary album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

  The Fab Four had previously been known as the British kids with mop tops, swinging and swaying to sweet beats and “bopping” tempos inspired by teen heartthrob. The media was left completely shell-shocked when the quartet came out with the colorful, loud, and utterly powerful sound that was Sgt. Pepper.

  The record starts with a bang, that being the title track, which is a slap in the face full of electric guitar played by none other than guitarist George Harrison. The new, more heavy use of guitar was ushered into mainstream music by this album, and the likes of Cream and Jimi Hendrix. For the advancement in guitar alone, the album can be seen as a vital piece to revolutionizing music forever.

  The summer of 1967, also known as the Summer of Love, withheld a plethora of advancements in artist’s techniques and freedom in what was released and popularized. Songs such as “A Day in the Life” from the Sgt. Pepper album would appear entirely foreign to anyone unfamiliar with the cultural and social developments of the era.

  Additionally, with Sgt. Pepper there saw a great increase the number of instruments used and an introduction to ethnic musical theory. Most popular music at the time was derived from a simple pop group containing a drummer, bassist, guitarist, and possibly a rhythm guitarist. This was the case of the Beatles until Sgt. Pepper, in which an entire orchestra can be heard in tracks such as “She’s Leaving Home”.

  One of George Harrison’s contributions to the groundbreaking record was the Indian influence. Harrison had grown quite fond of Eastern culture after a trip the Beatles made to India to meet the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. On this trip, Harrison would meet Ravi Shankar, a sitar player that ended up becoming a lifelong friend. The song “Within Without You” was a product of this partnership.

   Lyrically, the album is a defining moment in music: the Beatles could write anything about everything. On this album alone, there is a retro circus, a meter maid, and a psychedelic woman with diamond eyes, not to mention a song inspired entirely by reading the newspaper. These random concepts paved the way for a change in mainstream music to include new poetic or theatrical elements.

  The album’s iconic cover features the Beatles, wax figures of John, Paul, George, and Ringo, cutouts of James Dean, Edgar Allen Poe, and countless other faces in a platform so well done that the cover is instantly recognizable.

  Sgt. Pepper is rightfully celebrated as a timeless album, in fact, Rolling Stone Magazine believes it is the best album of all time.

  Between the countless tribute concerts, covers, and recreations of the cover artwork, it is obvious that the absolutely iconic Sgt Pepper has stood the test of time and will continue to do so for generations to come.