Nearly 200 people, both Beatles fanatics and casual fans alike, gathered at Bow Tie Cinemas and the Gold Coast Arts Center to celebrate the golden anniversary of the Sgt. Pepper album on Thursday.
The event featured the first-ever film screening on Long Island of “Deconstructing the Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and a powerful rendition of the Beatles’ famous songs from tribute band Beyond Fab.
“We had people from far away as Rocky Point and close as by as around the corner,” said Caroline Sorokoff, festival director of the Gold Coast International Film Festival. “The thing that everybody had in common was they loved the Beatles, they loved great film, they loved great music.”
In the film, Scott Freiman decoded Sgt. Pepper by track, instrument and take.
Through this analysis, Freiman showcased some of the revolutionary things the album helped spawn, like automatic double tracking and swirling eastern and western music together. The movie also traced the origins of each song and noted contemporary inspirations.
“Nothing like these songs had been heard on the radio before,” Freiman said in the film.
Eugenia Kelly-Viner, co-director of Love Revolution Organization and a co-producer of the Gold Coast Acoustic Café, described herself as a major Beatles fan.
She said that while she’s been involved in many Beatles projects – including this one – and read at least 100 books about the band, the film still taught her something.
“I already knew a lot, but not all of it, not some of the more technical recording aspects,” Kelly-Viner said.
“It was just a completely landmark album that was seen to really revolutionize music and give it a quantum leap forward,” she added.
A performance by Beyond Fab followed this screening. They played select songs from various albums, but mainly Sgt. Pepper. At least a dozen people danced to the rock renditions.
Lauren Wagner, director of marketing and development for the Gold Coast Arts Center and Gold Coast International film festival, said this event was months in the making.
And for her, it couldn’t have turned out better.
“I think it’s lively, it’s fun, and the best way to celebrate a ground-breaking album,” Wagner said.
Heidi Beck, 52, and Mark Hagan, 56, garbed in Beatles shirts, drove out from Sea Cliff in Oyster Bay for the event. Both still own every Beatles album.
When asked about the significance of the Sgt. Pepper album, they described it as musically groundbreaking and showing each Beatles member had matured.
“It doesn’t lose any of its importance after 50 years,” Hagan said.
As for the cover band Beyond Fab, the duo said they did the Beatles justice.
“They did a very good job. I’ve heard a few in my day – they’re up there with the best,” Beck said.