Much has been written about the Beatles’ eighth album. Depending on who you believe, it’s either the soundtrack to the summer of love in 1967 or the band’s response to ‘Pet Sounds’ by The Beach Boys. But perhaps the simplest truth surrounding the LP is also the most accurate: it’s the world’s first concept album. Yes indeed, as it was the first time that an album was something more than a bunch of songs that happened to be presented on the same piece of vinyl.
It was also the first time that the band went into the studio without worrying about how they would have to perform the songs live. This meant that they enjoyed the luxury of significantly longer recording sessions: a whole five months, instead of the single day that their debut ‘Please Please Me’ was made in. The Beatles enthusiastically embraced the possibilities for experimentation that were blossoming at the time (despite the fact that they were still forced to use with a 4-track recorder) and George Martin, ‘the fifth Beatle’, assumed an increasingly important role in proceedings.
In the worlds of Paul, Sgt.Pepper was a kind of alter ego for the band that made it easier to work in a freer, more creative way. “People played it a bit safe in popular music,” McCartney said, “but that’s when we realized you didn’t have to.”
Now it’s The Analogues’ turn to perform this masterwork live in all its analogue glory – an honour for which no effort has been spared. This means another truckload of wild and wonderful vintage instruments rolling up to add to The Analogues’ already impressive list. There’s a sitar and tabla for ‘Within You, Without You’, a rare Lowrey keyboard for ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’; a harp for ‘She’s Leaving Home’, plus, of course, a huge array of strings and horns. If you’re curious as to whether a kazoo (or a comb wrapped in toilet paper, that legend suggests the band used during recording) will pop up on ‘Lovely Rita’, you’ll just have to come and see for yourself.