Friday, May 20, 2011

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

Richard Furnstein: Loosen up your cravat. Hide your sousaphone. Get out of here, calliope! The Beatles are a rock band and the reprise of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is the one pure rock and roll moment on this stuffy concept album. Again, I'm going to hector you to throw out the limp stereo version of this track; the mono recording offers some perfect Ringo boom thwacking, piercing guitar interplay, and exciting crowd noise swells. Then, as soon as you get into the groovy, the track is over, spilling into some more pretentious mopery. The boys from the cover of With The Beatles have grown weird mustaches and have fallen completely into the recesses of the dark room. Marijuana and uppers were fun, but now they are into being terrified by their own imagination. The reprise is a beautiful moment of light in the claustrophobic (albeit brilliant) Sgt. Pepper's universe. It's the furthest thing from a throwaway.

One of the true delights of the mono version is Paul's impassioned scatting to wrap the song. He's fighting against the velvet curtain that is quickly closing on Billy Shears and the gang. Paul has delivered some impassioned scatting in his days ("Powercut" and "Hey Jude" come to mind) and the reprise is one of his finest Little Richard freakout moments. But what exactly is he saying? Let Me Tell You About The Beatles isn't quite sure, but we've assembled some opinions from Robert Bunter, myself, and some of our faithful readers.

Josh Newman: I be wanna be closer/You and me babe/Play the goddamn music music whooooo/Take it to the back of the mountain

Rick Flom: I will run in a gondola gong!/Rudy me, babe!/All of off-roads Rudy Bay in mom an animal!/(whoo)/Yeah you room, no. Nomad.

Robert Bunter: Wennalaaannnanaaa-henna-henna-how-WOOOOOOO!-thank you, we loved Beatlemania.

Brian Langan: You know you got it right?/You and me babe!/What about your pretty face in the back?/ Thank you baby, baby!

Nick Krill: Good Godfrey Dangels.....if i had a nickle for every time Paul went into ape mode at the end of a Beatles song. i can just picture all the other dudes sitting there in the control room rolling their eyes thinking, "Here he goes again, how are we gonna convince him to bury this in the mix this time?"

Here goes: Oh, you don't want to be standing 'round?/Would you wanna be dead?/I will walk you through the valley of the dead!/Yeah, you know to stand by me.

Thomas Hughes: You're normally scared, right?/You're really dead?/I look out back for abandonment./Yeah, you guys are bums

Richard Furnstein: Some great interpretations. And some real fodder for the Paul Is Dead community. I stand by my take:

Are you going to watch me tear?/You heard what me said/I don't goddamn with any Budapestians/Thank you very much and good night


  1. Great post! My take: "We're about getting ready to go/Am I really dead?/I don't really wanna be dead/Thank you for women"

    Clearly referencing the whole "Paul is dead" business...?

  2. I'm enjoying the blog and thought I'd take a shot at what Paul is saying:

    And I don't understand a thing/Doing it again/Are you gonna do it through your pants little bear?/Shake it very much and good night