Between a world of cancelled and postponed gigs and time spent in lockdown, 2020 has been a troubled year, but nevertheless, time marches on. Unbelievably, we’ve reached December and our traditional countdown to Christmas has begun.
In terms of pop, 1982 was a strong year: Madness took a further step towards songwriting sophistication with their album ‘The Rise & Fall’, Prince made a huge breakthrough with his ‘1999’ double platter of much filthiness and Phil Collins showed us that the previous year’s ‘Face Value’ wasn’t just a one-off solo success when his “tricky second album” spawned a #1 hit single and a few of his best solo tunes.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve been spoilt for Beatles products. Although the 50th anniversary of their peerless ‘Revolver’ came and went in 2016 without a reissue to mark the momentous occasion, the world was treated to lavish box sets of both ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ in 2017 and ‘The Beatles’ (aka ‘The White Album’ in 2018.
With a pattern established, fans quickly speculated whether a 50th anniversary box set of ‘Abbey Road’ would emerge.
Social media is a wonderful tool. It can connect us with people across the globe; amuse us, inspire us and introduce us to music and films that might have otherwise escaped our notice. There’s a joy in interacting with people we wouldn’t otherwise meet – through being victims of geography, rather than any desire to do so – and discussing cult bands at length. As anyone moving in such circles will attest, conversations about Pink Floyd, Marillion and the Grateful Dead can effectively seem endless.
The negative side of social media is that to find the gold, we have to sift through the mundane, the verbal attacks, the political tensions and the endless moaning. Only last week, an insightful soul on Twitter suggested that if television was once considered “the idiots lantern”, then the internet could well be “the shitbag’s mirror”, effectively reflecting the bad side of all of us. It’s easy to pour scorn and derision on everything from a keyboard when you don’t have to hold your own in a face to face argument.
It was fifty years ago today…that the world was first introduced to Sgt. Pepper. It’s hard to imagine, at this point, that there was even a time when the album didn’t exist. Whether you consider yourself a fan or not, for the past two generations the album has become omnipresent. Two generations of people have loved it and hated it, while those who have yet to hear the record itself will still be aware of it’s presence. Visiting a record shop, there’s a good chance that its technicolor collage artwork will be seen. It’s always there; for most of us, it’s always been there.