Sgt Pepper: The Album, The Beatles & The World In 1967 - DVD review

It was 50 years ago today - the Fab Four’s flawed tributes by Alan G Parker and Brian Southall

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As the seemingly endless output from the cottage industry surrounding The Beatles shows no sign of slowing, we may never get to know how many biographies, memoirs and movies about the Fab Four it will take to fill the Albert Hall. Alan G Parker’s doc consists of various talking heads offering gossipy accounts of the era, interspersed with news footage of ‘the boys’ themselves responding to inane press questions or waving at adoring fans. From the ‘Bigger Than Jesus’ controversy to the closure of their Apple boutique, there’s a weary familiarity to this particular telling of a well-known tale. Unable to secure permission to use a note of Beatles’ music, it explains the ‘why’ but doesn’t touch upon the ‘how’ of what it calls the greatest album rock’n’roll ever made. As a result, it feels somewhat removed from the main event.

Brian Southall, whose Fab credentials include a role as EMI press officer, spends over 180 pages on a predictable sociocultural history parade between ’66 and ’68, while spending considerably fewer pages on the actual album it purports to celebrate. This addition to the teetering stockpile of Beatles books is gallingly thin.

Sid's feature articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Prog, Classic Rock, Record Collector, Q, Mojo and Uncut. A full-time freelance writer with hundreds of sleevenotes and essays for both indie and major record labels to his credit, his book, In The Court Of King Crimson, an acclaimed biography of King Crimson, was substantially revised and expanded in 2019 to coincide with the band’s 50th Anniversary. Alongside appearances on radio and TV, he has lectured on jazz and progressive music in the UK and Europe.  

A resident of Whitley Bay in north-east England, he spends far too much time posting photographs of LPs he's listening to on Twitter and Facebook.