The Beatles FAQ

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Friday, 26 May 2017

Why did John Lennon not like Sergeant Pepper?

John Lennon never showed much affection for The Beatles most celebrated album. Was this because the Sergeant Pepper concept was Paul's? Not according to what John says in this interview, recorded in 1971, at the height of his feud with his former song-writing partner: 


Some of the information John supplies is misleading. A DAY IN THE LIFE was in fact one of the first tracks written and recorded for Sergeant Pepper. Lennon did not complete his section in a last minute rush 'to get something on the album.' 

Are Lennon's criticisms fair?

Lennon's rather churlishly dismisses his songs to Sergeant Pepper as 'jobs' he 'knocked off'. He valued authenticity over all other criteria when rating his work, ranking the confessional COLD TURKY higher than SHE LOVES YOU, for example. This is a minority view, to put it mildly. 

The charge that Sergeant Pepper is overrated has perhaps more substance. Song-for-song Revolver is probably superior. But most fans would take issue with the judgement that the album is just songs 'run-through...stuck together'. 

For all its flaws, there is something gloriously ambitious about Sergeant Pepper. John and Paul never collaborated more creatively than on A DAY IN THE LIFE is perhaps the high point of The Beatles recording career.

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