Scott Freiman

For a certain kind of baby boomer, identifying all the faces on a certain 1967 Beatles album was an important measure of musical knowledge. With its totemic songs today loaded onto your iPhone, somehow the packaging of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band doesn't seem so important now. But it was, as Beatles scholar Scott Freiman will discuss tonight in his multimedia presentation Deconstructing the Beatles: Sgt. Pepper. Using clips and musical samples, he'll explain how John, Paul, George, and Ringo—with producer George Martin—added so many layers to the songs, using only a four-track recorder. The sheer density of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" or the B-side-concluding "A Day in the Life" were unprecedented in the '60s. Sgt. Pepper became a dorm-room staple and a perennial on all those Rolling Stone greatest-album lists (back when boomers paid attention to such lists). Today, a teenager with a Mac could create something as complicated, if not so melodic, as Freiman will explain (he has Yale degrees in computer science and music). Screening afterwards—at 9:30 p.m. with separate admission—is the 1978 folly Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, starring Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees, undisputedly a terrible musical that Freiman will help introduce. BRIAN MILLER

Thu., Sept. 13, 7 p.m., 2012

 
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