SGT PEPPER’S MUSICAL REVOLUTION
BBC/PBS (June 2017)
An in-depth analysis of The Beatles’ influential 1967 album.
Originally debuting this Summer, timed to the 50th anniversary of the release of SGT PEPPER’S LONELY HEART’S CLUB BAND, this made-for-TV project returns to PBS as a companion to the public television debut of Ron Howard’s THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK – THE TOURING YEARS. Structured like a musicology lesson overseen by on-air host Howard Goodall, a composer and music historian, the film serves as a deep dive into seven key songs from the revolutionary album, developed right after the end of those touring years. Freed from the need to create music they could perform live, the band let loose with experimentation, pushing the limits of studio recording technology at the time to create an album unlike any other. While some of the visual effects used during Goodall’s on-screen commentary tend toward the cheaper side, the historian presents a treasure trove of audio material and background information that ably demonstrates the innovation and inspiration at the heart of songs “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite,” “Penny Lane,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Lovely Rita,” “A Day in the Life,” and “She’s Leaving Home,” even if the insidery detail provided might be best appreciated by musicians more than the casual viewer.