In November 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by the Beatles as the No. 1 album on its list of “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” This list was selected from over 1,600 albums by nearly 300 musicians, music critics and figures in the music business. By naming this iconic album No. 1, they basically tapped it as the greatest album ever.
Despite this album’s popularity, I couldn’t honestly say that I’d ever listened to all of it. I’d probably heard portions of it over the years, but I was sure that I’d never listened to the complete album from start to finish. For that reason, I added it to my “bucket list” a few years ago.
Released on June 1, 1967, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was the Beatles’ eighth album, and it spent nearly four months at the top of the U.S. albums chart. This album was recorded over a four-month period from December 1966 through April 1967. It’s 39 minutes and 42 seconds long and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.
Most people today probably listen to the album on a CD or on a MP3 player, but it was first released as a two-sided record. There are 13 songs on the album, seven on the original “Side One,” and six on the original “Side Two.” Songs on the original Side One (and their length) included “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (2:02), “With a Little Help from My Friends” (2:44), “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” (3:28), “Getting Better” (2:36), “She’s Leaving Home” (3:35) and “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” (2:37). Side Two included “Within You Without You” (5:04), “When I’m Sixty-Four” (2:37), “Lovely Rita” (2:42), “Good Morning Good Morning” (2:41), “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” (1:19) and “A Day in the Life” (5:39).
On Sunday, I took the time to finally listen to this classic album from start to finish, and I thought it was great. In fact, taking another look at the songs on the album, it’s hard to pick a personal favorite. I especially liked “A Day in the Life,” “With a Little Help from My Friends” and both versions of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
Now that I’ve listened to this famous album, I want to listen to the other Beatles albums on Rolling Stones “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list. Those albums include “Revolver” (No. 3), “Rubber Soul” (No. 5), “The Beatles” (No. 10), “Abbey Road” (No. 14), “Please Please Me” (No. 39), “Meet the Beatles!” (No. 53), “A Hard Day's Night” (No. 307), “Help!” (No. 331) and “Let It Be” (No. 392). As part of my bucket list project, I actually listened to No. 10, “The Beatles,” from start to finish in May 2013. It’s most commonly known as the “White Album.”
In the end, how many of you have ever listened to “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” from start to finish? What did you think about it? Did you like it or not? What other albums would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.