“Estábamos hartos de ser Beatles”

Palabras de Paul en 1994

94

Todo se había ido, ese muchacho gritón, todo lo que hiciera ruido, que no queríamos más, y nos encontramos ahora como metidos en una olla pensando como artistas más que como intérpretes. Entonces repentinamente en el avión me vino esta idea. Pensé, “ya no vamos a ser nosotros mismos. Vamos a desarrollar alter egos por lo que no tendríamos que proyectar una imagen que ya conocemos. Seríamos mucho más libres”.

Aunque las influencias musicales fueron muchas en el álbum, una parece ser el catalizador para todo el proyecto. “La influencia grande fue ‘Pet Sounds’ de The Beach Boys. “Que fue el álbum que estremeció, mencionó Paul en 1980. “La invención de la música en ese álbum era, como, ‘Wow!’ Era la gran cosa para mí. Sólo pensé, “Oh querido. Este es el álbum de todos los tiempos. ¿Qué demonios vamos a hacer?

Sgt. Pepper, salió básicamente, de la idea que tenía acerca de la banda. Iba a ser un álbum de otra banda que no éramos nosotros. Nos llamaríamos como algo diferente, y solo imaginen todo el tiempo que estaríamos jugando con este álbum

Con el nombre sugerido y la aceptación de los otros Beatles, fue integrándose el concepto de libertad en las sesiones de grabación que ya estaban en marcha. Con los conciertos ahora alejados de ellos, se ideó un nuevo enfoque para crear música. “Cuando empecé en el negocio de la música,” recuerda el productor George Martin, “el objetivo final de todo el mundo era tratar de recrear, en el expediente, una actuación en vivo con la mayor precisión posible. Pero luego, nos dimos cuenta que podríamos hacer algo distinto… Así que, sin ser demasiado pomposos, decidimos ir a otro tipo de forma de arte, donde estamos ideando algo que no se podía hacer de ninguna otra forma. Estábamos poniendo en la cinta sólo lo podría ser puesto en la cinta.”

“El Sgt. Pepper es uno de los pasos más importantes en nuestra carrera. Tenía que ser perfecto”, dijo Lennon en 1967. Ringo, recuerda, “el ‘Sgt. Pepper” era nuestro más grande esfuerzo. Todo el mundo aportó – incluido yo – teníamos mucho de margen de maniobra para proponer ideas y probar material diverso… Lo mejor de la banda era que si alguien tenía la mejor idea (no importaba quien), sería la que se utilizaría. Ninguno se paraba en su ego y decía, “bien, esto es mío” y se volvía posesivo. Siempre usábamos lo mejor. Cualquier cosa podría pasar y esto era un proceso excitante. Estaba atrapado y escuchaba todo”.

Las sesiones para el álbum comenzaron el 24 de noviembre de 1966 y se extendieron hasta el 21 de abril de 1967, para un total aproximado de 700 horas. Esto fue un salto gigante considerando las 9 horas y 45 minutos en una sola sesión el 11 de febrero de 1963, para grabar diez de los catorce temas de su primer álbum, “Please, Please Me”. Por otra parte, este álbum de la primera etapa era una diversión necesaria para su ocupación principal, es decir, la etapa del concierto. Y se ve como sus prioridades cambiaron en tres y medio años.

 

Dos de las tres primeras canciones grabadas durante estas sesiones llegaron lejos para su próximos sencillos, “Strawberry Fields Forever” y “Penny Lane”, éstos nunca vieron el álbum al que estaban destinadas. Sin embargo, su creatividad continuó elevándose como avanzaban las semanas, grabando otras catorce canciones todas ellas (con la excepción de “Only A Northen Song” de George Harrison) que terminó adornando el álbum terminado.

Trabajando en el estudio con una nueva atmósfera experimental fue emocionante, pero desafiante al mismo tiempo, como lo explica George Harrison en 1967: “Ahora que jugamos en los estudios y en ninguna otra parte, tenemos menos de una pista qué vamos a hacer. Ahora cuando entramos en el estudio tenemos que empezar de cero, sólo golpeando hacia fuera y hacerlo de la manera más difícil. Si Paul ha escrito una canción, él entra en el estudio con ella en su cabeza. Es muy difícil para él que la entendamos y para nosotros entenderla. Cuando sugerimos algo, puede que no sea lo que él quiere porque no es lo que piensa. Por lo que toma mucho tiempo. Nadie sabe cómo suenan las melodías hasta que se han grabado y las escuchamos después.”

Aunque las presentaciones hacían parecer que el grupo estaba unificado en su dirección para el álbum, George Harrison fue el más distanciado durante estas sesiones. Los recuerdos de Paul en 1980 sobre esas fechas de grabación fueron: “George no estaba muy involucrado en ese álbum. Sólo tenía una canción. Y fue realmente la única vez durante todo el álbum, que lo recuerdo entusiasmarse”.

George recuerda que “sentí que estábamos en el estudio para hacer la siguiente grabación, y Paul estaba pasando sobre esta idea de alguna banda ficticia. Que parte realmente me interesaba a mi… Estaba volviéndose difícil para mí, porque, yo no estaba realmente dentro de eso. Hasta ese momento, habíamos grabado más como una banda; aprendíamos las canciones y luego las cantábamos… ‘Sgt. Pepper’ fue un álbum donde se hicieron las cosas ligeramente diferentes. Al cabo de los días, Paul acabó tocando el piano y Ringo manteniendo el tempo y no nos permitían tocar como una banda verdadera. Se convirtió en un proceso de montaje – tocábamos solo un poco y luego se sobregrababa – esto se me hizo un poco cansado y aburrido…

Acababa de llegar de la India, y mi corazón todavía estaba por ahí… Los viajes a la India realmente me habían abierto… Había estado fuera de los confines del grupo, y fue difícil para mí volver a las sesiones… Era un trabajo, tenía que hacer algo, pero en realidad no quería hacerlo, y estaba perdiendo interés en ser ‘fab’ (fabuloso) en ese momento”.

A pesar de rumores de lo contrario, las sesiones de grabación de “Sgt. Pepper” fueron relativamente libres – de drogas – de drogas duras, sobre todo. “Nunca tomé (LSD) en el estudio,” dijo John, aunque él relataba que tomó una vez la droga accidentalmente durante ese tiempo. “Nosotros no quisimos llenar el álbum completo de sustancias y drogas,” Lennon dijo en 1968, “pero, quiero decir, que hubo un efecto. Estábamos más conscientemente tratando de mantenerlas fuera. No podría decir, “tenía un poco de ácido, bebé, tan maravilloso”, pero había una sensación de que algo había ocurrido entre “Revolver” y “Sargento Pimienta”.

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