Sgt. Pepper & Three Other Bum Albums By Rock Icons

Categories: Miles-tones

sgtpepper take2 june1.jpg
It was 40 (four) years ago today - in the UK, and tomorrow in the U.S. - that Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play, history stopped, the Summer of Love began, and critics freaked the fuck out. When the Beatles released their LSD-soaked counterpunch to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds in June 1967, Kenneth Tynan of London's The Times greeted it as a "decisive moment in the history of Western civilisation."

Whoa. Settle down there, Kenneth. Even today, because it's "rock's ultimate declaration of change" (huh?), Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band sits atop Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time list. It's one of four Beatles albums in the Top 10... and, without a doubt, Rocks Off's least favorite Beatles album Of All Time.

Rocks Off has no quarrel with the title track, which Jimi Hendrix was playing live within weeks of Sgt. Pepper's release, and we agree that "A Day In the Life" is an undisputed pop masterpiece. But we don't put a whole lot of stock in the studio wizardry that seems to be the main reason a lot of people worship Sgt. Pepper so much.

Yes, the album is quite a technical achievement - and certainly was for 1967 - but when it comes to the songs, we think too many of them are goofy ("When I'm Sixty-Four," "Good Morning Good Morning"), lightweight ("Fixing a Hole," "She's Leaving Home") and just plain forgettable ("Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite").

In other words, except for the first and last songs, Sgt. Pepper just doesn't rock hard enough. It's why every time "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds" or "Lovely Rita" comes on the Warren's jukebox, we sigh and wish whoever it was had played Sinatra, Etta James or Delbert McClinton. Give us the White Album or Abbey Road any day.

This got Rocks Off to thinking about albums by some of our other rock heroes that, for one reason or another, just rub us the wrong way. Some, like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Ramones and Pink Floyd, we are not familiar enough with their entire canon to have discovered that one sore-thumb record. Others - Nirvana, The Clash, Uncle Tupelo - simply didn't make enough.

Still others like AC/DC seem to be content to make the same album over and over again with a killer single here and there... and that's OK. With or without the Heartbreakers, Tom Petty has never, ever, ever made a bad record in his life. We swear.

But we still managed to come up with a few. What are yours?


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Lee Alexander
Lee Alexander

I’d have to agree here. I mean, I dearly love the Beatles and all, and Sgt. Pepper is a really good album, but not the second-coming that musicologists herald it to be. I think it’s biggest impact was more on 60’s culture and fashion, it set the standard for including lyrics with the songs, and it’s iconic for those reasons. The funny thing is, as a collection of music, I’ve always thought Magical Mystery Tour (Sgt. Pepper’s residue-echo album) to have much stronger tracks on it. Side A (with the exception of “Your Mother Should Know”) is a fabulous audio trip, and Side B pretty much has 4 of their greatest pop hits on it.

Lee Alexander
Lee Alexander

I’d have to agree here. I mean, I dearly love the Beatles and all, but Sgt. Pepper isn’t all that. It’s a really good album, but not the second-coming that musicologists herald it to be. I think it’s biggest impact was more on 60’s culture and fashion, set the standard for including lyrics with the songs, and it’s iconic for those reasons. The funny thing is, as a collection of music, I’ve always thought Magical Mystery Tour (Sgt. Pepper’s residue-echo album) to have much stronger tracks on it. Side A (with the exception of “Your Mother Should Know”) is a fabulous audio trip, and Side B pretty much has 4 of their greatest pop hits on it.

Thursday Girl
Thursday Girl

Sweet baby Jesus! You, sir, are clearly out of your goddamn mind. Sgt. Pepper represents a watershed moment in the history of rock/popular music - it changed the entire freaking game. Just because it doesn't "rock" enough for your taste, doesn't mean that it's still anything less than amazing. 

mikerastiello
mikerastiello

So incredibly wrong on Born to Run.

It's not only one of my favorite albums, but also has one of my all time favorite songs on it ( Jungleland - the "mess").

I can see where you are coming from on Sgt. Pepper's (and could care less about U2) but including Born to Run is just wrong.

(Disclaimer: I am originally from New Jersey)

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Gary Packwood
Gary Packwood

Well, that is a different thought about the Beatles song "When I'm Sixty-Four" from way back in the late 60's.

All of my friends thought it was a spoof about nobody living until they were Sixty-Four!

Because of the war.

But who knows!

Lance
Lance

If you think "She's Leaving Home" is 'lightweight' then you're just a fuckin' idiot. If you said it just because you needed a stretch to make a fairly indefensible (but "aren't I so cool because I'm saying something different") point, then you're just full of shit. Either way, not worth the time I wasted responding.

Mark
Mark

Chris, I have no problem with the most of this article, even with The Beatles part, but yeah, "GASP! Blasphemy!" on Springsteen's Born To Run.  Seriously.  It's one of the few perfect albums in this world.  Probably my #2 or #3 out of my thousands I have.  What's worse is you call Jungleland a mess, and it's my favorite song on there!  Especially where Clarence comes in with the sax solo.  The remaining few minutes is a slice of heaven. That's the one song I've been dying to hear them play in Houston everytime, but instead they seem to always play it in Dallas or somewhere else.  You really need to give this album another chance. Play it on repeat if you have to. It's flawless. It's his best.

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