Universal Music Group

The 50th anniversary of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is upon us, but according to Paul McCartney, initial reactions to the now-classic album were somewhat mixed.

Speaking to Mojo magazine, the ex-Beatle recalls being told, “You’re gonna lose all your fans with this one.'” He says their response was, “Well, we’ll lose some but we’ll gain some. We’ve gotta advance.”

McCartney also mentions a “terrible” review the album received in the New York Times, in which the writer said “the over-all effect is busy, hip and cluttered,” adding that Sgt. Pepper’s was “spoiled” like “an over-attended child.”

But Paul points out that when that same writer heard what others were saying about the album, he revised his opinion in another piece for the Village Voice. That time, he said it was “better than 80 percent of the music around today,” but opined that Sgt. Pepper’s wouldn’t be considered as good historically as Rubber Soul and Revolver.

Paul also spoke about the 50th anniversary version of Sgt. Pepper’s that’s being released next month, saying he really appreciates the new stereo mix.

He explains, “The original stereo mix is a bit of a period piece. You’ve got the drums in one corner. You’ve got the vocals in another corner. We would be at listening parties, have some mates around and I’d go, ‘Listen to the drums on this, man!’…and you couldn’t hear ’em. ‘Oh! They’re over there in the other corner of the room.’”

Describing the new mix, he says, ”It sounds more like us playing in the room and more like we intended it.”

The remastered 50th Anniversary version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band arrives arrive May 26.

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