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The year was 1967. The Vietnam War was raging abroad, but in America, it was the “Summer of Love.” The British invasion had taken over the airwaves a few years earlier, but the pop music landscape was about to change again.

The Beatles had already conquered America with previous records like A Hard Day’s Night, Revolver and Rubber Soul, but they were about to redefine rock music again with their newest album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

It was seen as a concept album, unlike anything that came before it, drenched in the psychedelic movement that was en vogue at the time. It blended horns and classical music with rock rhythms, and lyrics that conjured the otherworldly experiences associated with that movement.

So, what was the impact of that album on the culture when it was released, and in the years that followed? Director of the Institute for Popular Music at the University of Rochester, John Covach, discusses the influence it had and why it’s still seen as one of the greatest rock albums of all-time 50 years after its release, and probably still will be seen that way 50 years from now.

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