Rocks In The Attic #336: Various Artists – ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (O.S.T.)’ (1978)

RITA#336The one person who should be stood up against a wall and shot for this travesty of an album is George Martin. In just eighty three minutes, Martin manages to avoid all traces of innovation he was known for in the previous decade, and produces an album full of schlocky middle-of-the-road Beatles covers. With very few exceptions, each song sounds like it was recorded with Murph and the Magictones (in the Armada Room at the Holiday Inn, “Quando Quando Quando…”).

I’ve never seen the film that this album soundtracks, and I don’t think I ever want to. I’ve seen the segment where Aerosmith perform Come Together on YouTube – the highlight of the album (and while you might think I would say that, being a diehard and unapologetic Aerosmith fan, Robert Christgau earmarked it at the time as being the best of a very bad bunch, along with Earth, Wind & Fire’s Got To Get You Into My Life); but the farcical stuff that was going on around Aerosmith, involving Frankie Howerd, was very hard to watch.

Who would ever want to listen to Donald Pleasance sing (or rather, say) I Want You (She’s So Heavy)? While Peter Sellers doing A Hard Day’s Night in the ‘60s raised a smile, this just sounds bad. And Frankie Howerd singing When I’m Sixty-Four and Mean Mr. Mustard? Are you fucking joking?

Just to make things ever worse, the album is one of those annoying ‘70s double albums where sides A and D are on one disc, and B and C share the other disc. I’m prepared to forgive certain double albums for this (Electric Ladyland, Songs In The Key Of Life, for example), but with this album being so unlistenable I really resent the inconvenience. Did anybody ever even see one of those turntables that would play this sequence of sides? I’m sure it was just a record company conspiracy to confuse stoned people in the 1970s: “Hey man, as well as being blind, Stevie Wonder doesn’t seem to be able to spell. What gives, dude?”

Hit: Got To Get You Into My Life – Earth, Wind & Fire

Hidden Gem: Get Back – Billy Preston

3 thoughts on “Rocks In The Attic #336: Various Artists – ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (O.S.T.)’ (1978)

  1. Matthew Gibson

    The AD / BC sequence was for playing double albums on automatic changing records. So pile the records on the turntable, side one plays, then side the other record drops down and side two plays. That way you only need to change the record once. As an added bonus, stacking records on the turntable this way completely ruins them.
    It is really annoying and if you’re too lazy to turn a record over, then you shouldn’t buy records.

    Reply
    1. mrjohnnyandrews Post author

      Yeah, heard about these machines. Never seen one though so they could be a work of fiction for all I know.

      I don’t mind changing records. What bothers me is the dawning realisation when you think you’ve been listening to side 2 for the past 15 minutes, and you figure out it’s actually side four playing. It’s bad juju.

      Reply
      1. Matthew Gibson

        Those record players were pretty common still in the 80s. I guess nobody was buying them new like that, but there would be the odd one in some old relative’s living room corner.

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