Sgt. Pepper & Three Other Bum Albums By Rock Icons

It was 40 (four) years ago today - in the UK, and tomorrow in the U.S. - that Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play, history stopped, the Summer of Love began, and critics freaked the fuck out. When the Beatles released their LSD-soaked counterpunch to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds in June 1967, Kenneth Tynan of London's The Times greeted it as a "decisive moment in the history of Western civilisation."

Whoa. Settle down there, Kenneth. Even today, because it's "rock's ultimate declaration of change" (huh?), Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band sits atop Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time list. It's one of four Beatles albums in the Top 10... and, without a doubt, Rocks Off's least favorite Beatles album Of All Time.

Rocks Off has no quarrel with the title track, which Jimi Hendrix was playing live within weeks of Sgt. Pepper's release, and we agree that "A Day In the Life" is an undisputed pop masterpiece. But we don't put a whole lot of stock in the studio wizardry that seems to be the main reason a lot of people worship Sgt. Pepper so much.

Yes, the album is quite a technical achievement - and certainly was for 1967 - but when it comes to the songs, we think too many of them are goofy ("When I'm Sixty-Four," "Good Morning Good Morning"), lightweight ("Fixing a Hole," "She's Leaving Home") and just plain forgettable ("Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite").

In other words, except for the first and last songs, Sgt. Pepper just doesn't rock hard enough. It's why every time "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds" or "Lovely Rita" comes on the Warren's jukebox, we sigh and wish whoever it was had played Sinatra, Etta James or Delbert McClinton. Give us the White Album or Abbey Road any day.

This got Rocks Off to thinking about albums by some of our other rock heroes that, for one reason or another, just rub us the wrong way. Some, like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Ramones and Pink Floyd, we are not familiar enough with their entire canon to have discovered that one sore-thumb record. Others - Nirvana, The Clash, Uncle Tupelo - simply didn't make enough.

Still others like AC/DC seem to be content to make the same album over and over again with a killer single here and there... and that's OK. With or without the Heartbreakers, Tom Petty has never, ever, ever made a bad record in his life. We swear.

But we still managed to come up with a few. What are yours?

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray