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Sgt Pepper At Fifty by Mike McInnerney, Bill DeMain & Gillian G Gaar review

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Cover art for Sgt Pepper At Fifty by Mike McInnerney, Bill DeMain & Gillian G Gaar

It’s fashionable in some quarters to think that Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the beginning of the end for The Beatles. The scope of that project dwarfed the linear approach of Rubber Soul and Revolver, while Ringo Starr has said he felt like a session musician on the album.

This glossy book does the decent thing and places it among the cultural artefacts of a Britain, specifically a London besieged by exciting new ideas, posters and pot, a soundtrack for the DayGlo generation of doomed romantics. The text is bright and examines with an expert eye the construction of Jann Haworth and Peter Blake’s cover art, right down to the wonky hyacinth guitar in the foreground. There’s also a reminder of the first public airing – the window ledge of Mama Cass’s Chelsea apartment in Luna Street, with all four Beatles hopping round the room.

Max Bell worked for the NME during the golden 70s era before running up and down London’s Fleet Street for The Times and all the other hot-metal dailies. A long stint at the Standard and mags like The Face and GQ kept him honest. Later, Record Collector and Classic Rock called.