Various Artists

Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father

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British rock mag NME assembled this song by song cover album of the Beatles' classic (in honor of the album's 20th anniversary, and with all proceeds going to a child abuse charity), and had enough sway to pull in some considerable talent, instead of the third-rate bands that usually pad out such endeavors. All songs were recorded especially for the project, and since then, not many have made it back on the artists' respective releases. Not that everything's great: Wet Wet Wet's facile stab at "With a Little Help From My Friends" is the least of everything here, yet it the was the one track to make it in the charts. But what a pleasure to hear Sonic Youth replace sitar with feedback for "Within You Without You," Courtney Pine jazz up "When I'm Sixty-Four," and witness Michelle Shocked revamp "Lovely Rita" as a lesbian love song. And the whole project ends with the Fall's cover of "A Day in the Life," which manages -- whereas many other groups have failed -- to retain all of the original's cathartic energy and release, and a definite reason for picking this up.

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