This weekend my wife and a friend of ours were out checking out some local garage sales, baby clothes and vinyl for us and furniture for the friend. We happened upon one just a couple blocks from our house that had two but not all three of what we were looking for. Vinyl and furniture, I was so excited mainly because this was the first one I had been to that actually had vinyl. I ran to the boxes like a little kid and started tearing through them. I got a little discouraged at first glace because I started seeing a lot of Christmas albums and Chet Atkins, not to say there is anything wrong with Christmas or Chet Atkins, just not my taste. Anyway about half way through the first box I came across a Yes and Rush record, unfortunately neither had the jacket but the records themselves were in pretty good shape so I said why not. I also found a pretty nice three record set of what I thought was a collection of singer-song writers but later found out it was just a symphony of guitars doing other peoples songs. Then I found it, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Now this is not the infamous Beatles record that has gone down in history as one of the most influencial albums ever made ( in fact Rolling Stone magazine has it ranked as the number one record ever) but in fact a soundtrack to a movie by the same name. Apparently back in the late 1970’s a Broadway musical was made using the Beatles record as the soundtrack for the play. From what I have read it was about a group who fights with the music industry as well as evil forces who are trying to take the musicians instruments. I don’t know I have never seen it but it doesn’t sound that good, apparently there are only a couple of lines throughout the whole play. Anyways I picked it up because on the cover I saw the name Peter Frampton and on the back acts like Aerosmith, Earth Wind and Fire, Alice Cooper and even the Bee Gees. I remembered seeing people talk about this album online but couldn’t remember what they said about it. The album was only a dollar and with a line up like that I thought it was a pretty safe bet. I was wrong.
I took it home cleaned it up a little and could tell by the first track which is the title track by the Bee Gees that this wasn’t going to be for me. I should of known by the year and the fact that this was the Bee Gees that this record was going to be very disco infused. It’s like they took classic songs from this album and “Abbey Road” and said “lets do that but only with a little disco flare to it”. I couldn’t believe it, even the groups like Alice Cooper and Peter Frampton who do so much that I love couldn’t get it right. Now I’m not some Beatles snob who thinks that anyone trying to cover the Beatles has committed some sort of act of sacrilege, in fact I have heard many covers that I really enjoy. This however, did not work, they didn’t change up the songs themselves enough to really feel like they were experimenting or doing their own version of the song. In many cases it sounded just like the original but with bad harmonies or just cheesy music. On “I want you” which is a great song the vocals are just being spoken in a real creepy voice that does nothing for the song. Actually this album reminds me of a more current take one Beatles work that copied and used their music in a feature film called “Across the Universe”. It was basically the same idea, using Beatles songs as a background for a musical. Although I liked these versions a little better, I felt while I was watching it that I just wanted to hear the originals rather then these counterfeit versions.
There were a couple of decent songs though but not many. One was Aerosmith’s version of “Come Together” and the only thing that really saved this one was the fact that it sound so similar to the original, although I was surprised how boring Steve Tyler’s vocals were. His voice just didn’t pack a punch like you’re use to hearing with him. “Strawberry Fields Forever” by Sandy Farina was another one that wasn’t great but on an album that had so many bad songs was a welcomed version. I have to say that this is one of my absolute favorite Beatles songs so I am a little bias. Other then those two and maybe a couple that were okay but not really worth mentioning the whole album was a big flop. It’s not surprising though since most soundtracks in my opinion rarely make there mark that this was such a bad album. I guess I had high hopes because of the material and the the line up but it just goes to show that when you have a good thing like the Beatles it takes something really special to make it better then what it was.