Reproducing ‘Sgt. Pepper’ on stage — Glen Burtnik says it’s ‘a lot of work’
June 1 marked the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," which is arguably the greatest album of all time.
On June 24, Glen Burtnik and his band will once again reproduce the album on stage at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. Something he did 10 years ago when the album turned 40. If you can't talk to the band about making "Sgt. Pepper," listening to Glen talk about his passion for reproducing it note for note is the next best thing.
How hard is it to take on such a task?
"That's a lot of work," Burtnik said. "It's probably the most diverse album in terms of arrangements because there's a song with clarinets, and a song with saxophones, then a song with sitars, and then there's the big orchestral moments. George Martin and the Beatles went into the studio and decoded they wanted to make something unlike anything that's ever been made before."
Burtnik said in creating the album, the Beatles "paid very close attention to every detail." This is something Burtnik, who has reproduced "Revolver," "The White Album" and "Abbey Road" is also known for doing.
When he called in to my show, Burtnik and I also touched on the comparison of the Electric Light Orchestra to the Beatles. ELO was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame this year.
"Even John Lennon once said that ELO was kind of like "I am the Walrus" junior.
You really get a deeper appreciation of how great the Beatles were and how hard they worked on this masterpiece. For Burtnik, "It's a labor of love and it's very personal."
"I'm old enough to remember when that album came out. I remember every note and I've lived by it," said Burtnik, who is so deep into the Beatles that he flew his band, The Weeklings, to Abbey Road Studios to record their second album.
"It was amazing — like ground zero or the Holy Land. That's how much of a freak I am," said Burtnik.
If you've ever seen him perform you'll see how deep that love is.
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