Review: Sergeant Pepper in King’s Heath

It was fifty years ago today, trumpets Richard Lutz, as he re-lives that great album.

Yes, it is hard to avoid the news that Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is five decades old. It was launched in Britain in April and in the States in June of 1967

Everyone remembers where they were when it first hit the airwaves. I was at the beach and someone had the radio on. Actually, everyone had the radio on in those days, especially at the beach when we should have been studying for finals.

But on Sunday night, I was dragged to the Hare and Hounds in King’s Heath for a tribute band re-doing (note for note, mistakes and all) the original album.

Dragged, I say, because it sounds, well, a bit naff and overcooked. As the boys would have said: Let It Be.

But, really, what a hoot it was.

When you entered the small upstairs room in this South Birmingham pub, crammed with sixty-somethings, and heard those songs and those Liverpool voices from The Mersey Beatles dressed in their Edwardian regalia, I have to say…. they nail it. 

And what they nail, even unintentionally, is a surge of memories Yes, they wink and nudge to remind you it is all a fake, half the Beatles have died and the music does creak around the edges. But with the opening notes from the rousing Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band anthem to the sweet Lovely Rita with its nod to psychedelia, the group (highly proficient, by the way) do re-create those sunny days back in ’67.

Notably, the quartet does have an integral fifth member who works his synth off by re-creating a brass section, a Melintron keyboard and a wealth of guitars and background. But this is a well-oiled group complete with Scouse chippy asides. It may be a tribute band but it works wonders for  all that.

And, as a poignant afterthought, this show was staged only steps away from the belated much-loved Ritz Ballroom on York Road where the group did actually perform in 1963. Twice.

The packed room, full of balding heads, white goatees, ladies in comfy shoes, was consumed by the warmth of memory.

Where were we then? And, for that matter as we were washed over with Lucy in the Sky, where are we now?

7 thoughts on “Review: Sergeant Pepper in King’s Heath

  1. Release date in the UK was May 26th and in the US June 2nd. The Beatles performed at the Ritz in King’s Hearth just once, on February 15th 1963.

  2. This from the Kings Heath walk of fame site: On 17 January 2016 the Sunday Mercury revealed that The Beatles had played at The Ritz earlier in February 1962 and also returned to play again on 5 July 1963.

    • This information is not recognised by any serious Beatles historians, and the group are verified as being elsewhere for the July date.

  3. I’m working on ‘with a little help from my friends’ on my ukulele..

  4. I just received my Sgt Pepper CD/DVD 50th anniversary box set. I won’t be coming top for air for a while. What s really wild is that it is really 50 years.

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