“It was twenty years ago today; Sgt Pepper taught the band to play”
Surely some mistake, as this Sunday, 6 July, is the 50th (50th!) anniversary of the release of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, the first Beatles film and sound track album. Sgt Pepper therefore must have been in action several years earlier than this 1967 lyric suggests.
July 1964 and I was six years old. I suppose I could claim a deprived childhood as no one took me to the cinema so see the film on its release. However even at this young age, Beatlemania had struck in the primary school playground. I distinctly remember a year earlier singing, “She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah”. Whilst I subsequently became more of a Rolling Stones fan, the title song’s initial chord still makes me smile, just for the audacity in a pop world of saccharine tunes, to startle the listener with a loud dissonant chord followed by a helter skelter of a melody.
If you wish to see what the fuss was about why not borrow the CD or DVD of the film from Westminster Libraries? If the film appeals to you, you may also be interested in the following two reference books:
Pop music in British cinema: a chronicle, by KJ Donnelly
A systematic guide to where and how pop music appears in British cinema. It references British feature films using pop music from the 1950s to the end of the 20th century. There are listings of “band” movies, such as The Beatles’ “A Hard Days Night”, and indexes to musicians, directors and films.
Movies of the 60s, by Jurgen Muller
“A Hard Day’s Night” entry follows “Movies of the …” series standard format. This includes a film synopsis, picture stills and production photos, listings of cast & crew together with biographies of the actors and of the director Richard Lester.