Beatles, the - second album - The Beatles

The most glaring difference you notice when you line the two albums up is the sparseness of Lennon’s contribution to Sgt. Pepper . The half-thought “Good Morning, Good Morning,” whose inspiration lies in a breakfast-cereal commercial, is one of the weakest songs the Beatles ever recorded, and apart from that, all Lennon delivers here is two-thirds of “A Day in the Life” plus “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” and “Lucy.” Would you rank “Lucy” above “I Am the Walrus”? I wouldn’t; the former, despite its auspicious, tantalizing beginning, repeats its hook to the point of pounding it in, while the latter explodes into a verbally delirious, sonically polychromatic chaos. “A Day in the Life” over “Strawberry Fields Forever”? A close call, but I’d say “Fields” is the single finest Lennon composition the band ever recorded. In producer George Martin’s words, it’s “dreamlike without being fey, weird without being pretentious — nostalgia with an air of mystery.” “Mr. Kite” hardly measures up to the era-defining “All You Need Is Love,” surely one of the most satisfying album closers ever conceived and a sprightly journey from “La Marseillaise” to Paul’s sardonic invocation at the fadeout, “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.” It’s a hippie anthem that, in true Beatles style, is more playful than it is plaintive.

The record company had 750,000 copies made, but the photograph was condemned when it hit radio stations and stores, prompting Capitol Records to recall The Beatles’ ninth . release on its label.

Beatles, The - Second AlbumBeatles, The - Second AlbumBeatles, The - Second AlbumBeatles, The - Second Album