I've sometimes joked that the Beatles arrived in America just a few weeks before I did. (I was actually arriving into life, but that occurred in New York, so I still think the analogy works.) Being only three years old on June 1, 1967, however, means that the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band wasn't a transforming experience for me. It's not even my favorite Beatles album - I prefer the ones that led up to it, Rubber Soul and Revolver. But there's no denying its influence on popular music ever since, or the Beatles' influence on my own musical tastes. I've been a fan since I was old enough to be aware of popular music at all - probably around age ten - and still gravitate toward smart, melodic, hooky music with fairly traditional song structure. (It can still be found out there - meet Fountains of Wayne, for one current example. Currently on tour with Squeeze - an all-time favorite of mine, and another fine example of the Beatles musical tradition, it's awesome that they're back together! - it looks like the timing's wrong for me to see their L.A. shows in August. Bummer!)
In observation of this 40th anniversary, the least I can do is switch my iPod to my "Beatlemania" playlist during work today. Thanks for everything, John, Paul, George, and Ringo!