A contrast between what is supposed to be one of the greatest albums of all time and what is supposed to be one of the worst albums of all time.
In 1967, The Beatles released what many consider to be their magnum opus, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In the years to come, this album would be frequently referred to as the “greatest album of all time.” And while I certainly don’t think it’s the best album ever, I do think it is a very good album. I mean, any album with songs like the title track, “With a Little Help From My Friends,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, “Getting Better,” and “A Day in the Life” is bound to be good, right?
In 1978, Sgt. Pepper was adapted into a movie, for some reason, starring popular musical acts of the time such as: Peter Frampton, the Bee Gees, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Earth Wind & Fire, and others. And, with such a star-studded cast, it seemed only natural that a soundtrack album be released featuring covers of classic Beatles songs. And, since it was the late 70s, the theme would obviously be disco/glam. Sounds like a winning recipe to me.
Unfortunately, it was not. This album was so bad that it was the first album in history to “return platinum,” meaning that over 4 million copies were taken off store shelves. The album was also a critical failure, with many calling it one of the worst albums ever made.
I recently found a copy of this album while cleaning out my grandma’s house, and I decided to give it a listen. And I couldn’t even make it more than a quarter of the way through. It just sounds so soulless and comes off as such an obvious cash grab. Peter Frampton/the Bee Gees’ cover of “Getting Better” is hilariously awful, and the version of “With a Little Help From My Friends” is just pointless. Sandy Farina’s cover of “Here Comes the Sun” sounds like one of those bullshit covers of songs they use in Extra gum commercials.
The only good thing here, that I heard at least, was Aerosmith’s cover of “Come Together,” even if it’s not quite as good as the original. Could there potentially be other hidden gems on this album? Maybe, but I don’t want to listen to all the garbage to find them.
I just thought it was interesting how two albums, with the same name and featuring many of the same songs, can be complete opposites in terms of their quality. The Beatles’ original is still a great album that stands the test of time, mostly due to their originality, catchiness, and excellent vocal harmony. This soundtrack album is just soulless, bland, and lacks any of the charm the original album had. It sounds like a performance you’d hear on a cruise ship.
But is it the worst album ever made? I mean, probably not…it’s certainly not like The Shaggs…
If you want to compare the two Peppers, feel free to give each album a listen and let me know what you think. As always, thank you all so much for reading, and make sure you check out the other articles here on the site, as well as our weekly playlist.