Sergeant Pepper for Tony Davis

In the early summer of 1967, so long ago now, at George Green’s School there were six pupils who studied A level English, taught by a wonderfully inspiration teacher, Tony Davis.  As our lessons came to an end we decided to buy Mr Davies a leaving present. He was leaving to take up a new post and we were leaving to go to university or to start work. We clubbed our money together and Lawrence Cunningham and I went off with the money to a record shop near Aldgate Underground.

Then record shops had listening booths. Sergeant Pepper had just been released so we asked to hear it in the listening booth. We carefully closed the door and looked at the sound proofing painted a sickly shade of yellow in the booth when the music started or perhaps I should say we heard the sound of an orchestra tuning up and then the voice of John Lennon, speaking and then singing in tune the opening bars of Sergeant pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

I had never heard anything like it before and as I listen to the album, poring over the colourful sleeve which had the words to the songs printed on it I was overwhelmed. I thought that the Beatles had established rock music as a new art form, one just as important as opera or ballet – no one which was more important than those.

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