It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt Pepper and Beyond
Coinciding with the release of an anniversary edition of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the powers-that-be decided to make a documentary discussing and honouring the years that preceded, and the recording of, the influential pop album. Video footage of interviews, and a history lesson led by Beatles auto-biographers, friends and employees, including Tony Bramwell, Hunter Davis, John Lennon’s sister Julia Baird and their fan club secretary Freda Kelly, explain the drastic change in the band’s style of music and why they decided to stop touring.
Putting the obvious fan service aside, for anyone who doesn’t know about this part of The Beatles’ history the documentary serves as a fascinating insight into the way the famous four-piece developed their sound because of the deficiencies they encountered on tour. After the controversy of John Lennon’s infamous “We’re more popular than Jesus now” interview, the band experienced a lot of hate while they were touring around America. But, as the world moved on, The Beatles played around the globe and were inundated with fans. While their music had been progressing, they found that on stage they couldn’t replicate what they were creating in the studio, or hear themselves over the audience’s screaming. As they explored their spirituality with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, their manager Brian Epstein died. All these aspects would influence their songs and the way they recorded their eighth album.
It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt Pepper and Beyond is rather a weak documentary in that it does nothing to explore and analyse this specific part of Beatles history further than just presenting it; instead, it paints the group in the kind of light expected from a commercial endeavour. Here The Beatles are infallible, and they’re deified to the extent that it almost feels like a disservice to the band itself. For fans, though, this film will most likely whet their appetite for the anniversary edition of Sgt Pepper.
Photo: Marvin Lichtner/
The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt Pepper and Beyond is released nationwide on 26th May 2017, including special Q&A previews and On Digital 1st June and DVD 5th June.
Watch the trailer for It Was Fifty Years Ago today! The Beatles: Sgt Pepper and Beyond here: