14 April 1967
The living room of my home.
In the vein of Ron Schaumburg's book, Growing Up With The Beatles, I thought I'd relate my personal "Sgt. Pepper" story.
I got the Sgt. Pepper album shortly after it was released in 1967. However, prior to that, the last Beatles' album I got was Rubber Soul in late 1965. I absolutely loved Rubber Soul and it has probably been my favorite Beatles album ever since but, at the time,
I instinctively knew it was a much more mature album than their previous albums but, due to my youth, I didn't really get a handle on it and I now believe The Beatles' new maturity caused me to drift away for a while.
Throughout 1966, the only Beatles record I got was the "Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby" single. A friend of mine had the "Nowhere Man/What Goes On" single so I was familiar with it and I heard "Paperback Writer" on the radio all the time but for reasons I don't really remember, I got no other Beatles' records.
I remember seeing the Yesterday... And Today album but, if memory serves me right, I thought it looked boring. Likewise, I had seen Revolver but specifically remember thinking the cover was a bit strange. By the autumn of 1966, someone new drew my attention... The Monkees.
Here they came, walkin' down the street... The Monkees!!! For me, The Monkees brought back the innocence The Beatles had outgrown. And hey, you could see 'em every week on television. The Beatles were still tops in my book but The Monkees dominated my interest throughout 1966 and well into 1967. In fact, I'm still a BIG Monkees fan and probably always will be.
Sometime during mid 1967, I was shopping in a local department store with my mother. As always, I gravitated to the record department and, as always, I looked through The Beatles section. Much to my surprise, I came across a batch of albums I was not familiar with. At first, I wasn't sure who it was. All the people pictured on the cover confused me but, within moments, I realized it was The Beatles. Where as I found the cover of Revolver a bit strange, I thought the cover of this album was absolutely cool.
I had never heard of this album before. I expressed my excitement about it to my mother and being young, naive and confused by all the lyrics on the back of the cover, I said to her, "...and look at all the songs on it". Anyway, I persuaded my mother to buy it for me. I don't remember my impression of the first listen. But, surprisingly, considering Sgt. Pepper was a grand departure from The Beatles' previous music, it fell right into place and received heavy rotation on my simple mono record player.
I often attribute my continued Beatles interest to Sgt Pepper. If I hadn't stumbled upon it that day, I might have let The Monkees become my main interest and I might very well have drifted away from The Beatles and they might have become just another rock band. But my interest in The Beatles has continued to grow since the fateful day in that Woolworth's department store.
The photo seen here is me on my 10th birthday (14 April 1967) proudly displaying my Monkees albums. I must not have found my Beatles albums interesting enough to display. I found this photo pertinent to my personal "Pepper" story and illustrative to my Monkees interest. And, being shot one week before the last "Sgt. Pepper" session, it even fit within the timeframe.