We’re warming up to this highly anticipated release here @ alldylan.com with a look at bootleg releases with material from Dylan & The Band’s recordings @ The Big Pink, West Saugerties, New York – June – October 1967
In the early 1990s, a virtually complete collection of all of Dylan’s 1967 recordings in Woodstock was released on a bootleg five-CD set, The Genuine Basement Tapes. The collection, which contains over 100 songs and alternate takes, was later remastered and issued as the four-CD bootleg A Tree With Roots. Greil Marcus showed the set to Garth Hudson, who declared, “They’ve got it all.”
Nonetheless, a handful of basement songs not available on A Tree With Roots or other bootlegs have been documented, including the Band’s “Even If It’s a Pig Part I” (which has circulated in fragmentary form) and “Even If It’s a Pig Part II”,and Dylan’s “Wild Wolf”and “Can I Get a Racehorse” (copyrighted as “You Own a Racehorse”).
Hudson was just as crucial to the very different sounds made in the Basement the year afterwards: especially since in large part it was Garth who tape-recorded those unique, informal sessions, and had the sense to look after, afterwards, all the dozens of unknown-about extra ones beyond those of immediate interest to Dylan’s music publisher, and which only began to circulate decades later.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
Here is a nice interview with Hudson from youtube (prismfilms) where he’s talking about the conception of “The Basement Tapes” (all the wonderful music Bob Dylan & The Band made in June-October 1967 in the basement of Big Pink)
I heard the sound that Gordon Lightfoot was getting, with Charlie McCoy and Kenny Buttrey. I’d used Charlie and Kenny both before, and I figured if he could get that sound, I could…. but we couldn’t get it. (Laughs) It was an attempt to get it, but it didn’t come off. We got a different sound… I don’t know what you’d call that… It’s a muffled sound.
~Bob Dylan (to Jann Wenner November 29, 1969)
“A decisive moment in the history of Western civilisation” – Kenneth Tynan, The Times
“Sgt Pepper is one of the most important steps in our career. It had to be just right. We tried, and I think succeeded in achieving what we set out to do.” – John Lennon
The opening track:
We were fed up with being the Beatles. We really hated that fucking four little mop-top boys approach. We were not boys, we were men. It was all gone, all that boy shit, all that screaming, we didn’t want any more, plus, we’d now got turned on to pot and thought of ourselves as artists rather than just performers. There was now more to it; not only had John and I been writing, George had been writing, we’d been in films, John had written books, so it was natural that we should become artists.
– Paul McCartney
I love Sgt. Pepper and it will always be in my top 5 Beatles album, sometimes at number 5 sometimes at the top spot. It’s a great Beatles album, and it’s one of the best album in Rock history. It is laid out as a concept album, but the idea held for two songs, the coda, and the album’s sleeve design.
The Beatles songs now did not sound practiced or rehearsed, and the reason for this is that they weren’t. They were studio snippets put together in sections and pieces. I think that’s the reason that the outtakes from the Sgt. Pepper sessions are so uninspiring, so unfinished. There are several bootlegs with alternative versions, and for Beatles-nerds they are of course something to seek out. That said, I think the best Sgt.Pepper outtakes are presented on Anthology 2, and, yes, they are put together in the same way as the original album, each song constructed from different takes and sound bites.
I’m guessing it would be a difficult record to play live.
I believe that this album represent a shift in popular music, we look at pop/rock music before and after Sgt. Pepper. Almost everything on the album was new. And it still sounds new and fresh.
Happy birthday, Sgt. Pepper!
The Making of Sgt. Pepper documentary made for the 25 year anniversary :
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (often shortened to Sgt. Pepper) is the eighth studio album by The Beatles, released on 1 June 1967 on the Parlophone label and produced by George Martin. The album is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time, and has since been recognised as one of the most important albums in the history of popular music, including songs such as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “A Day in the Life”. Recorded over a 129-day period beginning in December 1966, Sgt. Pepper saw the band developing the production techniques of their previous album, Revolver. Martin’s innovative and lavish production included the orchestra usage and hired musicians ordered by the band. Genres such as music hall, rock and roll, pop rock, and traditional Indian music are covered. The album cover art, by English pop artist Peter Blake, depicts the band posing in front of a collage of their favourite celebrities, and has been widely acclaimed and imitated. (Wikipedia)
“The album was always going to have Sgt Pepper at the beginning; and if you listen to the first two tracks, you can hear it was going to be a show album. It was Sgt Pepper and his Lonely Hearts Club Band with all these other acts, and it was going to run like a rock opera.” – Ringo Starr, Anthology
Fun fact: Jimi Hendrix performed the title track at the Roundhouse, London, three days after the album was released. In the audience that night were Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Hendrix also performed the song at the Isle Of Wight Festival in 1970.
In 1987 Rolling Stone named Sgt. Pepper the best album of the last twenty years (1967–1987).
In 1997 Sgt. Pepper was named the number one greatest album of all time in a “Music of the Millennium” poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM.
In 1998 Q magazine readers placed it at number seven
in 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 10.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 1 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
In 2006, the album was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time.
In 2002, Q magazine placed it at number 13 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.
The album was named as one of Classic Rock magazine’s “50 Albums That Built Prog Rock”.
In 2003, it was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.
The best song from the album: “A Day In Life”:
A Day in the Life – that was something. I dug it. It was a good piece of work between Paul and me. I had the ‘I read the news today’ bit, and it turned Paul on. Now and then we really turn each other on with a bit of song, and he just said ‘yeah’ – bang bang, like that. It just sort of happened beautifully, and we arranged it and rehearsed it, which we don’t often do, the afternoon before. So we all knew what we were playing, we all got into it. It was a real groove, the whole scene on that one. Paul sang half of it and I sang half. I needed a middle-eight for it, but Paul already had one there.
– John Lennon
“As we got up to Sgt Pepper, George Martin had really become an integral part of it all. We were putting in strings, brass, pianos, etc, and George was the only one who could write it all down. He was also brilliant. One of them would mention: ‘Oh, I’d like the violin to go “de de diddle”,’ or whatever, and George would catch it and put it down. He became part of the band. “ – Ringo (Anthology)