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Released in June 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the Beatles eighth studio album. A landmark of popular culture, it defined its particular historical moment as no other record has before or since. “The closest Western Civilization has come to unity since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 was the week the Sgt. Pepper album was released,” wrote cultural critic Langdon Winner.

Tracks from Sgt. Pepper poured out of radios and stereos everywhere. As Johnny Rivers sang in “Summer Rain,” everyone listened to it over and over during that momentous Summer of Love, right down to that final mind- blowing, slowly dying piano note at the end of “A Day in the Life.”

Sgt. Pepper clearly showed the astonishing musical growth of the Beatles. The album employed a range of styles, from music hall and the circus to rock and pop. The ‘Lads from Liverpool’ had graduated from silly love songs to social critique. The album is widely acknowledged as the work that elevated rock ‘n’ roll to the level of art.

In 2003 it topped Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Produced by the late George Martin, Sgt. Pepper had unprecedented production values, featuring a 40-piece orchestra, a variety of experimental tracking and mixing techniques, and the use of new instruments like the Mellotron. Martin’s and Paul McCartney’s stated aim was to use the recording medium expressively, in such a way so as to create a record that could not be performed live.

Given the dense, complex sound of Sgt. Pepper as well as its unassailable cultural status, its live duplication, note for note, obviously presents a particularly difficult challenge for the Classic Albums Live ensemble. Although they have performed, among others, such difficult albums as Pink Floyd’s The Wall and the Beatles’ Abbey Road, with perfect fidelity, the densely textured recording of Sgt. Pepper might seem impossible to duplicate live.

But CAL, who have performed several albums for enthusiastic audiences in St. Catharines, is up to the challenge. “We approach the music with the utmost respect and care, like dutiful curators,” explains the group’s founder, Craig Martin. CAL will be performing Sgt. Pepper complete “with horns, strings and a sitar” – and no doubt, the barnyard sounds of “Good Morning, Good Morning” – to provide an astonishing recreation of this most classic of albums.

So prepare, once again, to imagine yourself in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade sky.

- Barry Keith Grant

Classic Albums Live The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s

Lonely Hearts Club Band Partridge Hall MEMBERS: $46.75 REGULAR: $55 COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY: $25 HIGH SCHOOL: $5

7:30PM Apr 14 Apr

VOTED #1 HEARING CLINIC Standard’s Readers Choice Award

St. Catharines CENTRESTAGE 25

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