I’m more than happy to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this wonderful album. It is significant for so many reasons, and not just the music: it is such a potent symbol of its time [the inherent and explicit psychedelia; The Beatles as global musical phenomenon; the cover; the George Martin significance; many of the songs].
It isn’t my soundtrack of 1967. That would be Jimi Hendrix with Are You Experienced and Axis Bold as Love, and Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant [there are others: Cream’s Disraeli Gears, but I probably recall individual songs rather than the whole album; similar with The Doors’ releases that year, and more].
Favourite songs for me are With a Little Help from My Friends, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, She’s Leaving Home and With You Without You, the most otherworldly of the lot. I enjoy the pantomime of others, but these are not standouts.
Musically, The Magical Mystery Tour is a ‘better’ album for me, released in the same year. But none of this really matters. We’re celebrating The Beatles today as much as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and 1967 and all that promised, even if it never delivered in full.
But it was far-out hoping and getting psychedelicised.