The Sgt Pepper album was very successful and has received much critical acclaim as one of the best rock albums in history due to its innovations as well as the songs strengths lyrically. Songs like A Day in the Life and She’s Leaving Home seem like a precursor to songs such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Come Sail Away, and Stairway to Heaven with more emphasis going into each song. While songs like Good Morning Good Morning and Lucy in the Sky seem to showcase the rise of psychedelic and progressive rock that would become staples of late 60’s and 70’s music. The entire album is made to be listened as whole rather than on their own, opening and ending with the character of Sgt. Pepper the album and without definite endings to each song Sgt. Pepper becomes a lose concept album something that other artists would do particularly in the 70s. Artist’s such Pink Floyd, David Bowie, and the Eagles. “According to music critic Tim Riley, “Strictly speaking, the Mothers of Invention‘s Freak Out! [June 1966] has claims as the first ‘concept album’, but Sgt. Pepper was the record that made that idea convincing to most ears.” Musicologist Allan Moore says that “Even though previous albums had set a unified mood, it was on the basis of the influence of Sgt. Pepper that the penchant for the concept album was born.” Thus Sgt. Pepper has become influential with its huge impact on the both the idea of the concept album and well as the rise of a few rock sub genres.
The album has gone down as a pop culture icon. The cover art is one of the most recognizable in pop culture second only to Abbey Road. It has even been referenced in a Simpson’s couch gag. In 2016 a twitter user recreated the cover replacing the people with celebrities we lost that year from David Bowie to Prince to movie stars such as Alan Rickman and Gene Wilder.
Another part of the reason that album has become a part of pop culture is because like Abbey Road it has ties to the Paul is Dead conspiracy. This has to do with the fact that many believe that Paul died in car crash and was replaced with a look alike named Billy Shears. The entire Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album was awash with Paul-is-dead clues: the Beatles had formed a “new” band featuring a fictional member named Billy Shears — supposedly the name of Paul’s replacement. The album contained John Lennon’s “A Day in the Life,” which had the lyrics “He blew his mind out in a car” and the recorded phrase “Paul is dead, miss him, miss him,” which becomes evident only when the song is played backward.” The cover art is also where the Paul is Dead theory comes into play much like Abbey Road. In the back of the album Paul is facing backward while the others are faced forward, much like in Abbey Road where he also stands out as being the only one without shoes, with many explaining that he was barefoot because corpses don’t wear shoes. Some also look to the guitar made of flowers at the bottom of the front as Paul’s guitar that he would have played had he not died much like the license plate on the car in the background of Abbey Road the number which they say has to do with how old Paul would have been if he survived. This Paul is Dead theory has gained quite following as the years have gone on. I don’t believe this theory but it is an interesting theory. What do you think? What album would you recommend I do next?