Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Kenny Everett Debuts Sgt. Pepper on BBC Radio

Sgt. Pepper Radio Special
BBC Where It's At
Broadcast: Saturday May 20th 1967

PM: This is Paul McCartney, saying this is where Chris Denning is at. This is where it's at, Chris, take it.

CD: Thank you Paul. Yes, this is Chris Denning on the first of the new 90-minute "Where It's At" programmes and, apart from the usual show, for this week only, a special bonus. Kenny Everett, here in the studio, talks to the Beatles on their new LP, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. For an introduction, over to our commentator, John Lennon.

JL: We're sitting in the hushed semi-circular theatre, and waiting for the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to come on, and here they come now, playing the first number, ah let's go! Alright? I can't do it for them all, or then I'll all be dizzy.


KE: Hey, alright, alright, alright, Ringo Starr and the track from the new Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Also during the next X-minutes on the BBC light wireless programme, we're going to be playing most of the tracks from the album, so stay tuned. And we're going to have wonderful words from the wise four.


KE: Well, by George in the studio, we have old Ringo Starr, of the Beatles fame. Ringo, what have you been doing since I last saw you in America a year ago?

RS: Um, very much.

KE: Really?

RS: Yeah, well, I went on holiday, we made an LP, we've made a few more tracks, we've sort of been busy.

KE: What do you think of this new LP? It's a bit strange compared to the others, would you term it psycheDEALic?

RS: Only if you want to think of it as psycheDEALic.


KE: Talking about things psycheDEALic and weird sounds, of which this album is full of . . . them, here is one of the most instantly beautiful tracks of the whole thing.

JL: Now we'd like to play you one, it's a sad little song, how does it go? Oh, well this is it, yeah. Picture yourself on an old-fashioned elephant. Lucy in the sky for everyone, now.


KE: Well, there you go, did it strike you immediately? Ah! Lovely. "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds." And, there's a story behind it. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. One day, months ago, Julian, son of Lennon, came home from school with a painting he had just drawn. A picture of a lady bursting with colours. John Lennon said, "What's that you got there, junior?" To which junior replied, "It's Lucy in the sky with diamonds, daddy." Shut up! Ow!

KE: The story you have just heard is true. On now to track three on the album, Paul McCartney by himself. . .


KE: Yeah good, yeah good. Paul McCartney and "Fixing A Hole" in the roof where the rain is and it stops my mind from wandering. By the way, if you notice, that mostly through the LP they're using very odd sound effects. Not sound effects as we know them, but sort of phased distortion on the voices. This is where they get two of the same sound and push it through hundreds of machines and it comes out of the other end sounding electric.


KE: How long did you take over technical details like phasing?

JL: Phasing is great! Double-flanging we call it. Now there you go, right, we're on the same thing. Flanging is great, right. We're always doing it.

KE: You used it on "Lucy In The Sky."

JL: You name the one it isn't on! You know, you name it! You spot it, you get a prize! You get a Sgt. Pepper badge.

KE: Or a paper moustache.

JL: Try anything you like. Phasing is too much!


KE: There you go, the Beatles and "For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite," sung by John all by himself. Did you catch the sounds on that one? It sounds like it's travelling around the room, you see, well travelling around this studio, anyway. The song, by the way, was taken from a poster, an old circus poster that John got hold of and said, "I'll write a song about this. Oh, this is good."

KE: Well, that's this half of the Beatle programme, although we'll be back in X-minutes, with another three million, seven hundred and four thousand watts of BBC light programme Beatle power!


KE: There you go, the title track, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Well, more Beatle sounds from "Where It's At" in just a moment.

CD: Over now to our commentator, Kennis Everett.

KE: Welcome back, Beatle people, for part two of the BBC light programme, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Ha! Paul McCartney starting off part two, "When I'm Sixty-Four."


KE: Ah, lovely. The simplest track on the whole album, and also the first one that they recorded, way back in September [sic]. This is probably the longest time taken ever to record a pop album, I think. Not quite sure. Anyway, a lovely track.


KE: How many takes did you usually do on this album before you got the perfect take?

PM: We did quite a few on each one, but it's just because it's changed, you know. Like in the old days, of the LP Please Please Me, we went in and did it in a day, because we knew all the numbers and you know, they'd been . . . we'd rehearsed them and done them and we'd been playing them for about a year. But nowadays, we just take a song in, and all we've got you know is the chords on a guitar and the words and the tune. So we've got to work out how to arrange it, and that. So we do a lot of takes on each one, you know.


KE: Ah, lovely. Peaceful, fantastic. Gets me right here. Well, no, perhaps a bit higher, just here. Fastastic. John Lennon and Paul McCartney. I think that Paul composed that one all by himself, it sounds like one of his, doesn't it? Very peaceful. Anyway, that's called "She's Leaving Home." A word about the FANTASTIC album. Yes, friends, this is the most expensive album ever produced by any manufacturer I would venture to say because not only inside does it have the album, it also has the words of every track on the back. And it's a double feature album, which has a free paper moustache, a badge, and a picture of Sgt. Pepper, no less. Excuse me. This next one's called "Lovely Rita" and it's sung by Paul McCartney. Pay special attention to the drums.


KE: Yes, leave it. Lovely. John Lennon in the background, Paul McCartney in the foreground. Meter maid, which is an American expression for one of those ladies, one of those diabolical people, who goes around putting tickets all over your car.


KE: Do you like to have a lot of people in the studio when you're recording, or do you like to do it completely alone?

PM: It doesn't matter, we had a lot of people on some of the tracks, and sometimes we use them, you know, ask them to clap and that. Depends if it's good people, who don't hassle anyone and don't try and mess a session up, then it's great, you know, because it's company, good company.

KE: I hear you had the Rolling Stones in a session.

PM: They came down, because we had a lot of people there, you know, because it was a big session and we wanted to make a happening happen. And it happened.


KE: Paul talking about people gathering around them while they were recording the album. Now, we have two tracks to go. This one is called "Getting Better."


KE: Yes, Beatles and "Getting Better," that one sung by Paul McCartney. Superb. And for all those haters of special effects, that's a completely dry run for you, none on that one. Okay, one track to go now, and a very special one it is too. Oh, we've had everything on this programme, Chris Denning, Kenny Everett, Beatles. The only thing we haven't had is chickens.

[chicken sound]

KE: I beg your pardon?


KE: Yes, very good, very good, very good. Fade, fade, fade. Well, that was the last track, friends. Just a little bit more music before we leave and a word from Paul McCartney.

PM: This is James Paul McCartney, Upper 5 B, saying that Kenny Everett is just about one of the finest disc jockeys in the world, as disc jockeys go, aren't you Kenny?

KE: Oh, you're lovely. Yes.


KE: I don't think ever in my experience as a disc jockey I've ever heard a sound as beautiful and superb as this new album. It's an achievement of our modern age of genius, an advancement in the recording technique, the Beatles!

PM: I'd just like to say, thank you.

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