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Subject: So, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play in 1947?

Written By: Marty McFly on 08/19/05 at 4:36 am

I grew up a huge fan of the Beatles -- especially their latter/classic rock era -- but never quite picked up on this till now (quite a surprise since I always think about things like this!). :D

But, "With a Little Help from My Friends" and its "Sgt Pepper's" intro came out in 1967, with the opening line, "It was 20 years ago today, Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play."

That would place it in 1947.

Of course, they're a fictional band, with "Billy Shears" actually being Ringo singing "With a Little Help", but in the Sgt Pepper Universe, did rock & roll start earlier than the 50's perhaps?

It's an interesting side story to think about! 8)

Subject: Re: So, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play in 1947?

Written By: CatwomanofV on 08/19/05 at 12:23 pm

I think it is really hard to pin-point exactly when rock-n-roll started. In the 40s, big bands were very popular. Some of what they played was very up-beat. "In the Mood" comes to mind. As with today, music crosses lines. For example, "Killing me Softly" can be put in Pop, Easy Listening,  and R&B. "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" could be put in Rock, Country, and Pop. So, some of the very early "rock" songs may not have been defined as rock because the term didn't exist-but they could have been part of the genre.


Subject: Re: So, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play in 1947?

Written By: danootaandme on 08/19/05 at 1:17 pm

I don't thnk that "20 years ago" refers to the origins of rock and roll.  I think it is just a line in a song.  To delve into the origins of what became rock and roll look into Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley(great article in
Rolling Stone this month about him), and of course Little Richard.

Subject: Re: So, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play in 1947?

Written By: zcrito on 08/19/05 at 9:25 pm

Here's an interesting article on early "Rock and Roll" songs

I also had to hear that first song listed and found part of it on Amazon. I couldn't locate the 2nd one.

(#3 "You've Got To Beat Me To Keep Me" ?!?!)  ???

Subject: Re: So, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play in 1947?

Written By: cnbpjb on 08/20/05 at 6:47 am

I've been meaning to respond to this topic, but hadn't had time in the last several days to research this thoroughly.  I had already been thinking though that the "twenty-years ago today" that the Beatles make reference to in "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" might be referring to what many consider to be the godfather of Rock 'n' Roll and many other electronic music and guitar inventions and improvements and that's Les Paul.

I don't how many people know the significance of Les Paul.

But Les Paul made improvements on the original Gibson guitar, in the 1940's and 1950's where Paul actually invented the electric guitar, which certainly makes Rock 'n' Roll in the 1950's even possible. 

But for Les Paul and possibly what the Beatles were referring to, there is this:  Les Paul had a hit in 1948, that he recorded in 1947 where he played all six guitar parts by use of another invention of his, multi-tracking (where both the voice, guitar and other instruments -- especially later the keyboards -- could be redubbed again and again in songs and on albums) that would also have a Huge impact on the development of Rock 'n' Roll and that tune that was a hit was:  "Brazil".  Les Paul would later go onto have much success in the 1950's with his wife, singer Mary Ford (with hits that used his multi-tracking work on both his reinvented Gibson guitar and Ford's vocals, those hits included "How High The Moon" & "Vaya Con Dios" -- both hits before what is considered the first year of Rock 'n' Roll, 1955.  He also produced another famous legendary singer of the time who used a great deal of multi-tracking, Teresa Brewer who had a big hit that greatly used multi-tracking with a song entitled, "Music, Music, Music".  And singer Rosemary Clooney {actor George Clooney's aunt} used Paul's multi-tracking for her vocals a great deal, especially on her hit, "Hey There", where she actually appears to be singing to herself at one point in the song.)  Les Paul is still alive, although I do believe that Mary Ford died since the 1950's.

The first time that the term, Rock 'n' Roll was used was back in 1951.  (I hope most people realize that the term "Rock 'n' Roll" is a very thinly veiled term for what happens during heterosexual {between one man and one woman} sexual intercourse).  Anyway, the term "Rock 'n' Roll was first used by dj Alan Freed, in 1951, to describe a song (which was actually more country), "My Baby Rocks Me With a Steady Roll" by a singer named, Trixie Smith.  Also in 1951, the first song thought of by most music historians as the first true Rock 'n' Roll song was a minor hit (not withstanding Les Paul's contributions).  That song was an instrumental entitled, "Rocket 88" which was written by Ike Turner (yes, Tina's abusive husband), performed by a group named, Jackie Brensten & his Delta Cats and produced by Sam Phillips (yes of later Elvis fame) on the same lapel that Elvis would first record for, Sun Records.

Also on the mystery of who Billy Shears was:  Supposedly a rumor spread in the late-1960's that sometime in 1966 Paul McCartney had been killed in a car crash!  And John Lennon picked up on this and decided to have thinly veiled references to this cult of "Paul Is Dead" in both the press and in some of the Beatles music of the late-1960's.  Some of the tabloid British press picked up on a fictional British actor, whose name John released, named William Shears Campbell (or Billy Shears for short) had won a late 1966, "Paul McCartney lookalike contest".  So in recording the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", John being the cheeky fellow he often was, supposedly had it written into the lyrics that "Billy Shears" was "going to sing a song and he'd like us all to sing-along."  Of course how much of this Paul went along with isn't detailed very well, but many people thought that it wasn't Paul who posed for the pictures on the cover and inside of the "Sgt. Pepper's" album, but it was actor, Billy Shears who did so.     

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