By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Question: Is there anything more annoying than aging baby-boomers rattling on about every last milestone of their youth?

Answer: probably not, and you’d better brace yourself.

2017 marks 50 years since 1967, the so-called “Summer of Love” in San Francisco, and a cavalcade of iconic boomer memories are sure to follow.

But here’s one actually worth paying attention to:

This week is the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the groundbreaking Beatles album that immediately dominated the world of pop music.

beatles Keller @ Large: An Anniversary Worth Celebrating

(Image credit: CBS News)

What was the big deal?

Keep in mind, the Beatles were already the world’s most popular band, touring the globe and releasing number one albums every six months during the mid-1960s.

But all of a sudden in late 1966, the Beatles quit the road and retreated to their London studio to spend months working on what we now call a “concept album.”

And they were experimenting with everything, old-time costumes and story themes, exotic instruments and engineering effects, orchestral backing.

Keep in mind, this was an era when pop records were rated for “danceability” and little else.

All of a sudden, the Beatles produced music and lyrics that were analyzed to death and are still debated in academic circles.

And a lot of the creative energy you see in pop music today is traceable back to the inspiration unlocked by the Beatles with the Sgt. Pepper album.

If you feel like a lot of baby-boomer nostalgia seems to celebrate forgettable stuff, you’re right.

The Summer of Love was longer on media hype than actual love. But the Sgt. Pepper album? Now that’s something truly worth remembering.

Share your opinion with me via email at, or you can reach out on Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

  1. I agree with you, Jon, that the Beatles were seminal in the arc of popular music in the latter part of the 20th century.

    But what is more extraordinary is that their tunes are not only good, but up there with the greats like Mozart and Beethoven, Brahms and Bizet and Bach, as well as Elgar and Vaughn Willliams, Cho[in, Wagner and Rimsky Korsikov .

    The poetry of their songs also rises to the extraordinary standards set by the literary lights of the 1900s and the 1930s.

    With Presley, they may be one of the only musicians of the rock eras that will stand the test of time.

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