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It was fifty years ago today . . .

This summer marks the 50th anniversary re-release of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, a recording so unlike any other of theirs up to that date that it brought about a major shift not only in the band's image but society as a whole. Fans were made inclusive not only as listeners, but comrades in a sort of generational battle; politics, ageism, the war, sexual freedom, drug experimentation, etc. Having said that, Sgt. Pepper was a huge step away from their usual body of work, so much that some said it felt contrived and had been made only for commercial reasons. With John's controversial remarks in a British rag "We're more popular than Jesus now" a year before, the band was indeed up for renewal.

With touring over, the need to consider what sounded good with four instruments was gone and the band's inspirations went wide: the rafters weren't the limits, the Universe was, and wielding such a producer/arranger as George Martin t…

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