Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)

So. Last night Paul McCartney played Fenway Park! And I was there! More on that later, I hope-- my husband took dorky pictures of me making dorky faces while Paul sang to me (and only to me), and maybe there's one in there that's unembarrassing enough to post, to lighten up this text-heavy blog. But first I gotta get to a song. I've been going on no sleep (I went to bed stupid late last night), but now the hard part of my day is over-- I'm in a DC airport waiting to fly back to Boston. Had to do some work stuff today, but since I got through the presentation I had to make without actually falling asleep and slumping over the podium, I'm going to count today as a success. Tomorrow I leave on ANOTHER super early morning flight to the west coast for a few days of more work stuff, so count on the blog schedule being all wonky for the near future. Apologies.

Anyway, if you've been paying attention to Paul's setlists lately, you'll notice that he's been closing out with "Sgt. Pepper" the reprise, medleyed into "The End." (Not for the first time-- I think he first employed this trick on the 2002 U.S. tour, but someone can correct me if I'm wrong.) Last night his setlist was identical to the New York shows and, I think, to the DC show too (WogBlog has the setlist, by the way), so this is how Paul ended our evening last night as well. I'm taking inspiration from that, and also from the fact that I'm too tired to write too much about a whole new song, so I'm listening to this today.

Now, I wasn't sure if I even needed to cover this song as its own separate entity, but after thinking about it for just a moment I realized it does really deserve it. Of course, a lot of what I could say about this song is stuff I've already said about "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (if you're so inclined, you might read that entry before proceeding any further) but the two songs merit some kind of compare/contrast exercise.

So here we go. The first major difference worth pointing out is that the entirety of the reprise is chorus-- the verses in the original iteration are totally dispensed with here so that the band can draw out the musical material of the chorus to the point where we can't stand it anymore, it's so awesome. In order to make this not-boring, they're playing significantly faster than they did the first time, and with a significantly heavier sound. They're aren't any horns here, either, just a ton of kickass guitars and kickass drumming. Here's a fun fact for you: they actually begin the reprise in a lower key than the original track was in (they're in F, but were originally in G). So at that moment in the reprise when they modulate up to the higher key, they are actually returning to where they started. As in "Penny Lane," which of course was recorded just a few months earlier or so, they're referencing that pop cliche of modulating up the scale while also kind of subverting it. Isn't that a little bit neat?

By the way, I think the idea to open with a title theme song to the album AND the idea to have a reprise of it to sort of say goodbye are courtesy of Neil Aspinall, the Beatles' one-time road manager and eventual head of Apple Corps. So we have him to thank for these killer tracks that continue to interest Paul enough for him to keep playing. Yay!

"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)," released in the U.K. side B track 5 of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," June 1, 1967; in the U.S. June 2, 1967.


  1. My envy might look a lot like hatred, but don't be fooled. :)

    What I REALLY love is the different lead vocal on the Anthology version of this.

    Oh, and I'm pretty sure you don't have to apologize about your posting schedule. I'm stunned you've managed to post literally every day.

  2. I second Troy's kudos to you about posting everyday. What a treat to visit your site. What will i do when the year ends???

    Glad the concert was killer for you.

    Re SPLHCB reprise, i've always like it better than the open number, Must be because there's no horns, just lots of nasty guitar licks!

    Enjoy your Left Coast trip.