Monday, May 29, 2017

June 1967

Beatles release “Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” in the US, goes on to spend 15 weeks at number one, Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” reaches #1, Monkees take home an Emmy for their Outstanding comedy Series, 6-day war between Israel & Arab neighbors begins, Race riot in Tampa Florida, Race riot in Buffalo NY, Race riot in Cincinnati Ohio, National Guard mobilizes, US Supreme Court unanimously ends laws against interracial marriages, 50,000 attend Monterey International Pop Festival, China becomes world’s 4th thermonuclear (H-bomb) power, 400 million watch Beatles “Our World” TV special, Mohammed Ali (Cassius Clay) sentenced to 5 years convicted of refusing induction into armed services, Keith Richards is sentenced to 1 year in jail on drugs charge and I graduated from high school.
Now 50 years later there is all this talk about the Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band” album and how it changed the world. Sure it was somewhat revolutionary with the cover of faces but the tunes were still sing-a-long ditties we expected from the Fab Four. Several other pop cultural artist cloned the new wave of tunes about girls, drugs, girls, more drugs and more girls but it was the original everyone referenced as being ‘mind blowing’.
A few years later with hundred of listens and a few experiences under my belt I decided to do my own take on this iconic vinyl. I expected Frank Zappa to ballyhoo with his outrageous cover copy but he went in a different direction.
Not to mock the original but to take a different twist on reality I listened and copied lyrics and strum my guitar to get the rhythms and chord changes. With a 4-track tape-recorded I sat in the basement making my own spin on what was to become the incredibility difficult to find in any record store version of Mop Top’s classic.
The title and song list matched everyone of the original Abbey Road recording but with a few up-dated features.
Private Salt’s’ starts by telling the audience not to listen to the album, and then turns to Silly Peels who says he will hate to sing the song for it will be out-of-tune in ‘Sing It Again’. ‘Burning A Mole’, a take off of the tattoo culture, speaks of longs nights, masturbation and gay bars. Death is described in ‘Juicy In Your Eye with Grapefruit’ as a wasted body is thrown in a garbage disposal. ‘Getting Worse’ takes a journey into necrophilia, LGBTQ, breaking rules, family depravity and a reminder that this terrible music will continue. The next cut is a turn to strippers/prostitutes who give ‘Mister Blight’ their dough while voyeurism their obscenity. Bigotry rises up in ‘Without Them’ removing unwanted neighbors.
Since there isn’t a pause to catch your breath before flipping the vinyl over, the punishment continues with child abuse in ‘Almost 4’. The anger of civil servants doing their jobs is detailed in ‘Ugly Greta’. ‘Baby Too-night’ presents male degradation of relationships and consequences. Another take is the femme fatale who never leaves home turning tricks at seedy bars as her parents grow older in ‘She’s Coming Back’. Nothing like a rousing ending of watching a policeman murdered on television on ‘Turn You Off’.
So for a nominal investment you too can listen to the entire musical experience without tangerine trees and marmalade skies or marshmallow pies. Close your kaleidoscope eyes and get a jolt of the real world for only a penance.

You can order the lyrics separately but you must be 18 or older.

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