Thursday, April 18, 2024

It Was 50 Years Ago Today– June 2nd Was American Date for Beatles “Sgt. Pepper” Release


There’s been lots of Beatles celebrating today over the 50th anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

In fact, the U.S. anniversary is Friday, June 2nd. The album was released a day earlier in the UK.

A lot of the cork popping can be heard on Sirius XM, where Channel 18 has gone all Beatles. I’ve been listening to avidly. I’d give them an A minus. The minus part is too many records that are “Beatles influences.”If I want to hear a Motown song or a Chuck Berry track, there are plenty of stations.

The Beatles Channel will grow and add tracks in weeks to come, I assume. So far I’ve haven’t heard any Badfinger or Mary Hopkin. There have been some solo tracks, but it feels like it’s a lot of McCartney (biggest of the four solos). Today I heard “I’m the Greatest” by Ringo, written by John, for the first time.

The worst thing I’ve heard by far is Neil Diamond’s cover of “Yesterday.” I hope once was enough. What they’re really missing is a Beatles cover record by Roberta Flack, commissioned a short time ago by Sony-ATV and then kind of dropped. It’s a wonderful set that should be re-discovered.

Also, Tina Turner singing “Help.” Phoebe Snow performing McCartney’s “Every Night.” Michael Jackson singing McCartney’s “Girlfriend.” Joe Cocker, and so on.

It will take time. But I was happy to hear Dennis Elsas and Bill Flanagan on a weekly show called “Fab Forum.” And they’ve got Chris Carter’s “Breakfast with the Beatles.” But what about a May Pang show? She knows so much!

It does look like the “Sgt. Pepper” 50th anniversary box, retailing for $117.99, sold around 50,000 copies. It will finish at number 2 or 3 for the week. Final numbers will be in tomorrow night.

Congrats to Apple and to producer Giles Martin, who’s done his late dad, George Martin, the real “Fifth Beatle,” and an heralded genius, proud.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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