Ronnie Stanton
Contributor

Radio Lessons #63 – Sgt. Pepper

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – the game-changing, Beatles album turned 50 this week.

It was an important release for the band as things were looking a little shaky after John Lennon upset audiences the world over with his ‘Jesus’ comments and the screaming crowds dwindled at live performances. Frankly, the Beatles needed a hit record.

On June 1, 1967, the Fab Four didn’t just drop a hit record; they re-established themselves as the biggest band in the world and true innovators in the pop music space. It has sold more than 32 million copies since its release and is topping iTunes charts all over again marking the anniversary.

Many believed Sgt. Pepper was the first concept album of its type, and one of the key components was its use of unique, non-musical sounds – an alarm clock, a dog whistle, other animal sounds, the laughter from a live audience at a Dudley Moore stand-up comedy show and even the sweet, harmonic tones of toilet paper played with a comb were used.

It was groundbreaking sure – but it wasn’t actually the first of its type.

The Beach Boys were the first to release an album like this a year earlier. In fact, Beatles’ producer George Martin has been quoted “if it wasn’t for The Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’, ‘Sgt. Pepper’ would never have happened”.

If the Beatles can take an idea and make it their own – so can you.

What do you listen to competitor stations and show for – to find their Achilles Heel so you can identify their weak points and make yourself feel better? Or to steal their best ideas, give them a coat of paint and make your station better?

There isn’t a station of Earth (good or bad) that doesn’t have at least one ripe idea inside it that is highly steal-able. It’s not always the perfectly constructed idea, or promotion, or execution – it may just be a nugget that leads to something even bigger.

Open your ears to different ways, let your creativity bloom and make your station or show even more compelling with a little help from your friends (and enemies).

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