Before Mama Mia, Moving Out...There Was Sgt. Pepper's
POSTED ON 9/13/2005 | PERMALINK |0 Comments | BOOKMARK
The latest trend on Broadway is weaving a random assortment of a single artist's music and a barely recognizable plot into a product that can only be described as lowbrow or just plain dumb. What few people realize is that this style of "art" was pioneered by the 1978 film, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Of course, it's important to note that those associated with the movie seemed to understand how stupid the project was, while Broadway sees it as legitimate theater.

The movie is a trainwreck, but you cannot turn away. With performances by The Bee Gees, Steve Martin, Earth Wind & Fire, Aerosmith, Peter Frampton, George Burns, Alice Cooper and Billy Preston among appearances by many, many others, you remain glued to the set wondering who else will show up. The movie contains no dialogue and the musical performances range from excellent (Aerosmith) to novel (Bee Gees) to absurd (Martin, Burns). If you thought the Beatles were fine exept for the lack of disco and robot voices on their albums, you'll be happy to see those shortcomings remedied here.
Unleashed on the world in July of 1978 -- a month after "Grease" had opened and cleaned up at the box office -- "Sgt. Pepper" crashed and burned almost immediately. Despite the tagline that promised "a splendid time is guaranteed for all," even the millions of Bee Gees fans who might have been persuaded to boogie into this bizarre little experiment stayed home. The two-disc soundtrack, which was panned mercilessly by critics, sold a couple million copies, but millions more copies could be found languishing in cut-out bins in the years that followed.
I found a vinyl copy on the sidewalk, complete with the poster inside, while walking the dog last night.

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