It’s an important time in Liverpool, UK. And we’re envious
The Merseyside city in England’s north-west, has recognised the golden anniversary of the iconic 1960’s Beatles record ‘Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’.
As well as special festivals, concerts, public art and light shows, the city has unveiled a giant mural named ‘Fixing a Hole’ as a permanent tribute to the album.
A former silo wall in Liverpool’s Stanley Dock has been transformed into a vivid, psychedelic image showing the Beatles either side of a gap in the building’s architecture.
And, of course, there is the ever-popular statue of the band that attracts legions of Fab Four fans and visitors to Merseyside.
More than rock n roll
I feel privileged to have lived through the 1960’s – and Sgt Pepper was a sacred moment in that tumultuous decade.
It’s said that no album in the history of rock and roll has inspired such consistent approval from critics and fans alike – but it’s relevance goes a lot further than that.
When it was released in June 1967, I was a 14 year old boy feeling almost sufficated in a small Australian outback township.
Amid unprecedented worldwide cultural change, our only radio station played mainly country music and our television relayed grainy black-and-white images that switched off at 10pm.
Records were my way of feeling part of the 1960’s changes occurring so far away.
The Beach Boys masterpiece, ‘Pet Sounds’ had whet the appetite.
And then, Sgt Pepper turned everything on its head.
I’ve since heard it described as a “burst of colour in a black and white world” and even “a decisive moment in the history of western civilisation”.
For me, it was an explosion!
A conduit for change
The most popular musicians on the planet – who had become so mainstream that even our parents loved their sound – had suddenly exposed everyone to the values of the counterculture.
Music was now undeniably a central plank of a genuine torrent of change – and Sgt Pepper was an important conduit that allowed it to happen.
Regardless of views on whether Sgt. Pepper was the best album ever made, it remains legendary not only because of its musical quality, but because of its profound cultural and social role.
I played the record constantly, revelling in art that literally opened worlds for me.
That’s why the Sgt Pepper celebrations in Liverpool are particularly significant – perhaps historic.