Thirty years ago, the big music news was created by
a great big “old media” promotional push to mark the 20th anniversary
of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by you-know-who.
From memory, there hadn’t really been a big rock anniversary celebrated
or marketed in this way before. The Beatles were the obvious band to
go first, even though they weren’t much spoken about in the fashionable
rock and pop world then. Most of us were reminded after many years of
not thinking about it very much at all that, yes, it was actually a
pretty spectacular album, while purists complained that Revolver
was a much better record.
I’d also argue that this was when rock and pop really began its expansion
into middle age, the mainstream and every corner of the mass media.
The year before in 1986, the first issue of Q magazine was published
with its coverage of older, established rock acts a deliberate contrast
to the established weekly music press obsessed as it was with, and very
good at, finding the best new, young, exciting music from out of nowhere.
Mojo made nostalgia its bread and butter from its launch in 1993
while the wonderful The Word did a great job at both: late middle
aged Smash Hits editors writing for early middle aged Smash
Look at us now. Rock and pop biographies and history books fill a whole
corner of Waterstones. Luxury vinyl editions of Dark Side of the
Moon and London Calling keep our splendid new record shops
in business. New born babies wear Ramones baby growers. You can actually
buy Joy Division oven gloves*.
Anyway, to mark the 30th Anniversary of the 20th Anniversary of Sgt.
Pepper you could do worse than find a copy of Sgt Pepper Knew
My Father, the excellent compilation of covers of songs from the
album released by the NME in 1988. (No, I can’t remember why 1988 and
not 1987.) The Fall and Sonic Youth are on there, and Getting Better
by the Wedding Present is a really noisy treat. Even though the single made Number One, I'm happy to forget
the versions of With a Little Help from My Friends by Wet Wet Wet and She's
Leaving Home by Billy Bragg if you are.
Posted by Mark Lawrence on Saturday, 20th May 2017 at 3.20 pm