Today marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (it came out in the US a week later), so I invited Slate pop critic Jack Hamilton to join me in discussing that landmark album. I asked him:

  • Why do you say it “was a musical masterpiece that doubled as a masterpiece of timing”?
  • Why didn’t “Sgt. Pepper” include two songs that were recorded during the same sessions?
  • How did “Sgt. Pepper” influence other artists like Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder and Otis Redding?
  • Does the re-release, including a re-mix by George Martin’s song Giles, really sound that different?
  • If it’s a concept album, why doesn’t it maintain Paul McCartney’s original concept throughout?
  • Could The Beatles have made “Sgt. Pepper” without drugs?

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