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Friday, June 01, 2007

Forty years ago today...

...I was on my way home from school when I passed the Record Bar in Wakefield. In the window was a gaudy new item which I was shocked to realise was the new record by the Beatles. I stood there looking at it, my heart beating like a hammer, frantically calculating how I was going to get it.
At home I knew I had nearly a pound but this would cost me 32s 6d. It was already half past four. I leapt on the bus and went straight to my Dad's workplace where I begged the loan of another pound on the promise that I would work for him that weekend to earn it.
I then scooted to a newsagent in the small town where we lived. This place stocked a few records along with the greetings cards. Amazingly, Sgt Pepper was there, cardboard cut-out moustache, patterned inner bag and all. I paid and took it home, literally shaking with excitement. I played it over and over again.
Pepper's specialness, just as an artefact, was never to be repeated. The things it did nobody had ever thought of doing before. You could spend days just looking at the cover. You could get drunk on the music.
The reason Sgt Pepper is still pastiched, satirised, criticised, overrated, underrated and puzzled over is because even its detractors recognise that the day its was released marked the single most interesting pause in pop music history. Had Robert Browning been there he would have been forced to observe that after that it would never be glad confident morning again.
Anyway, thanks, Dad.