In August, 1966, the Beatles played their final concert at Candlestick Park near San Francisco. They had decided to stop touring — and no one knew how to be a band without playing gigs. After that last show, George Harrison said, “Well, I guess I’m not a Beatle anymore.” When they gathered at EMI Studios in November 1966, their prospects seemed uncertain. Of course, we now know they more than met the challenge, producing one of rock’s greatest albums, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the remarkable Double A-Side single, “Penny Lane“/“Strawberry Fields Forever.”
In this particular installment of his popular film series Deconstructing the Beatles, Beatleologist Scott Freiman delves deeply into the creative process that produced this masterpiece. Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper brings you into EMI Studios to see how this landmark album evolved. There’s a lot to digest, too, as The Beatles and George Martin really “played” the studio for Sgt. Pepper. Unencumbered by the pressures of touring, they took time to experiment, explore and invent – both creatively and technologically.
Exceptional songwriting is the heart of any Beatles’ record. The film traces the evolution of these now-familiar tracks, often starting with rough demos and developing through successive takes. Scott also sprinkles odd factoids throughout, answering questions you didn’t know you had, like:
• Which track features background vocals in German?
• Why is one song in different keys for the British and American versions?
• Why didn’t George Martin write the string arrangement for “She’s Leaving Home”?
• Which tracks featured toilet paper, bass harmonica, ocarina and calliope?
Deconstructing Sgt. Peppers opened on Feb. 6, 2017, in most cases playing for only one night. But now you can watch this fascinating multimedia lecture in the comfort of your own home. Get a sneak peek of the series with the short video below then head on over to the CultureSonar online shop to order the DVD.
– The CS Team