Friday, June 02, 2006
It Was 39 Years Ago Today
On this date in 1967, the greatest rock album in history was released, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" by the Beatles. Sgt. Pepper simply completely wiped the slate clean and remade how albums are made. It shook the entire music world, and it still remains as fresh as when the Beatles made it 39 years ago.
Sgt. Pepper was the first rock album that printed the lyrics on the back cover, something that has become a standard thing today. Every track is an amazing listen, from the sound effects of the title track and "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite" to the sitar sounds of "Within You Without You."
When I went for jury duty last April, the plaintiff's lawyer asked me a number of questions in my interview to be a potential juror. Seeing that I worked in the music business, one of the questions was, "If you were stranded on a desert island with one album, which one would it be?" I said without blinking, "Sgt. Pepper." He commended me on my good taste.
In 1987, Sgt. Pepper was released on CD for the first time, also on this date. At Tower Records in Greenwich Village, I was the pop/rock CD buyer, and we released the CD at midnight of the 20th anniversary. I will never forget bringing up boxes of CDs up to the main floor at about 11:30 PM, with about 100 people waiting to buy it as soon as it went on sale. I had a number of my clerks with boxes ready to give out copies. I stood up at the mezzanine level of the store, looking down at my clerks and the customers waiting. I kept looking at my watch waiting for the stroke of midnight. People were getting a little annoyed at me that I wouldn't give out the CDs sooner. "Not until midnight," I said.
It was the ultimate feeling of power. At the stroke of midnight, I gave the signal, and the clerks gave out copies of Sgt. Pepper to the customers.
A great memory. I have no idea where 19 years have gone.
Or 39, for that matter.