Monday, September 15, 2008

A Day in the Life


This is one of those throwaway blog posts of no depth and no real thought, no theology, no politics, nothing of eternal ramifications - just an observation on a pop song.

So, you're still reading? Great. What the heck...

In one of my relatively rare rides in the auto yesterday, I tuned on the radio just to hear the beginning of the Beatles's "A Day in the Life" from their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I had not heard the song in many years, though I must have heard it a thousand times in my high school/college age immersion in Album Oriented Rock (as I was introduced to that genre of rock and roll by the late great Clemens J. Caraboolad, the Harley-riding theologian, geometry teacher, heavy-metal guru, bon vivant, and philosopher-coach at Walsh Jesuit High School, presiding over Room 110, may he rest in peace).

So, I cranked up the volume as far as a Toyota Sienna minivan's sound system can go, and listened to the entire song - at least until the DJ interrupted the extremely long final (42 seconds) E-Major chord with the usual drivel.

Wow.

I really enjoyed the tune. It is a genuinely interesting piece of music with haunting orchestration thanks to producer/composer George Martin (who is now 82 years old). What a bold, gutsy move this was to create this really unique piece of music and release it commercially on a pop album forty-one years ago - while the pop music on the radio was still pretty inane and "corporate" for the most part at that time. I imagine the song (and the album) must have created quite a stir at the time. I think it is safe to say both had a great deal of influence on younger generations of musicians.

It's not Bach, by any means, but interesting, entrancing to listen to, and still fresh in a pop-music rock-and-roll kind of way four decades later.

7 comments:

Peter said...

Ok. Good. On this we agree! PTL!

Father Hollywood said...

Matt 19:26! ;-)

Fraser Pearce said...

I read your blog today, oh boy... :)

Have you listened to Revolver lately? Still my favourite Beatles LP.

wmc said...

Sgt. Pepper's caused a major upheaval in the recording industry at the time of its release. The Stones actually scrubbed a project and promptly headed back into the studio. The "concept album" was pushed to its epitome (some would say excess) by Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick" and "Passion Play" and Pink Floyd's monumental "The Wall." I would say that the entire "progressive rock" movement of the 70's is indebted to Sgt. Pepper's.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I had the chance to take a class on the Beatles while at OU, but it conflicted with a class I needed to graduate. I did get to take "The Development of Popular Music 1954-1979" and write a paper on the Album "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars". And it was an honors class - fantastic look at how pop music developed.

The Beatles did some wild things musically - innovations that reverberate to this day.

Past Elder said...

I'm 58. That means I've been around for the entire history of rock, from when my babysitters would bring over 45s of Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Elvis etc.

For the whole time, rock has seemed to me to be a genre that started as bad white covers of good black music, and went downhill from there.

Now, there are two things that amaze me. One is, my kids play Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and what do I hear, something new, no, the same stuff that sounded like crap to me ten, twenty, thirty and even forty years ago -- not to mention that in those days, guaranteed no-one young was playing Glenn Miller or Tommy Dorsey. It's still your grandfather's music for these kids! Unglaublich.

But the other is, I've noted on a number of Lutheran blogs, maybe even this one, that pretty much all the bloggers with a confessional Lutheranism I hang with are at least ten to fifteen and generally twenty to thirty years younger than I am, and have said, half jokingly but half not, that my one regret about being a member of the generation that made adolescence an adult life style is that I won't be around when my generation passes and quits taking up places in Synod, district and parish leadership and it passes to you guys. But damn if I can hack the "music" you guys listen to!

So if we ever hang out IRL, have some BB King, Albert Ling, Albert Collins or the other Luther in my life, Luther Allison, around -- or some MJQ and stuff like that!

wmc said...

Now, there are two things that amaze me. One is, my kids play Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and what do I hear, something new, no, the same stuff that sounded like crap to me ten, twenty, thirty and even forty years ago

Preeecisely! Shows you how great that stuff was!