In case you haven’t heard, June 1 marks one of the most super-important, life-changing, monumentastic events in music history: The fortieth anniversary of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. And if you do try to claim that you didn’t know about this, we don’t believe you, as the media has been billy-clubbing it into our brains for seemingly the last five months.
It made the cover of Mojo and Guitar World, prompted an exegesis in The Wall Street Journal, and served as the news peg for an untold number of newspaper stories. The coverage was so overwhelming, The Week even published an editor’s letter bemoaning the flood of nostalgia–and even that missive turned into a massive Beatles B.J.
And Lord, it’s got to stop. For two reasons:
1) There’s nothing left to learn. Ever since its release, Sgt. Pepper–and everything else the Beatles members ever touched–has been poked, prodded, analyzed, celebrated, turned upside down, attacked, redeemed and canonized. Really, what do writers and editors get out of these articles, other than smug, back-slapping feelings of self-affirmation, and continued bragging rights about how great it all was, back in the day? It’s not as though the world needs another 3,000-word essay on the “joyous role-play” of Billy Shears, or where George Martin placed the microphones on “Lovely Rita.” In 2007, is there anyone left who hasn’t been made aware of Pepper‘s place in history?
2) It’s further proof of the Boomers’ stranglehold on the cultural. Don’t let our recent Stephen King rant give you the wrong idea: We’re not ageist. We like older people, and, for the most part, we’re not dickardly enough to rag on anyone’s overly retro music tastes (especially since, in fifty years, we’ll be scowling at the children, asking them why they’ve never heard of Fugazi). But the top-floor offices at most of the country’s major news and entertainment outlets are occupied by later-era Boomers who will never, ever let us forget of their generation’s accomplishments; with one hand stroking their salt-and-pepper beard, and the other refreshing their online mutual-fund accounts, they tsk-tsk their superiority over us all, conveniently leaving out such history-reel lowlights as, say, the eighties.
So please: When you’re sitting in your editorial meeting, and someone raises their hand and says, “You know what would be kinda neat? A piece on what Sgt. Pepper means, and how it holds up today!”, make sure you leap across the table, place said person in a sleeper hold, and make the “shhhhhh” gesture that indicates to the room that this idea should be forever silenced. At least until August, when the fortieth anniversary of Are You Experienced? rolls around.