Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Remastered 2009)
With Sgt. Pepper, The Beatles and producer George Martin showed the world what they could achieve with this approach. It took 400 hours to complete Sgt. Pepper, an astonishing amount of studio time for the era. Various experimental techniques were applied throughout the sessions: Artificial Double Tracking, or “phasing,” was used to alter the sound of an instrument or voice, and speeding up and slowing down tapes during recording or mixing changed the tempo and pitch of a voice, instrument or an entire song.
No singles were released from Sgt. Pepper, although it includes two of the best known Lennon/McCartney hits: “With a Little Help From My Friends” and “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” Other songs range from the poignant ballad “She’s Leaving Home” to the jaunty, music hall pastiche of “When I’m Sixty-Four” and the giddy fairground atmosphere of “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” The album closes with “A Day in the Life,” a composition seamlessly combining two distinct ideas from John and Paul. The most radical aspect of its arrangement was the superimposition of an orchestra building to a cacophonous climax. George’s “Within You Without You” introduced pop fans to the unfamiliar sound of an Indian ensemble trading licks with a classical string section. But it is not only that exotic instrumentation on the album that dazzles, there are also soulful drum fills, exciting guitar flourishes, elastic bass lines and unusual vocals.
During the sessions for Sgt. Pepper, George Martin recognized the commercial risk he and the group were taking. “As it was getting more and more avant-garde... there was a slight niggle of worry. I thought, ‘Is the public ready for this yet?’” It was.