Traumafessions :: Reader EA on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

I was inspired to send along a trauma that I feel may not be unique to me, but I’m pretty certain I’ve never heard of anyone else who was emotionally scarred….

…by Aerosmith.

Well, more specifically, by Aerosmith’s performance of “Come Together” in the SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND movie. Mind you, I was about 5 or 6 years old when I saw this movie (I didn’t see it when it was released theatrically in 1978, I caught it on T.V. I assume it didn’t make the T.V. rounds until a good year or two after its release, so I’m fairly confident but not 100% on the timing). As much as it’s mind-blowing to comprehend, I was aware of the SGT. PEPPER’S movie before I was aware of the Beatles. So in my young mind, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was a Bee Gees song. “Got to Get You Into My Life”? Well, that’s Earth, Wind, and Fire, of course. And don’t even tell me some dude named Paul McCartney wrote “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” That was sung by the King Tut guy from SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE!

Sadly, that’s not even the tip of the trauma.

No, the mind-scarring came during the introduction of the FVB – Future Villains Band. Played by Aerosmith, they sang a version of “Come Together” that still taints my appreciation of the song and haunts my dreams. Something about the sleazy, snake-rattle opening of the song, the way the band marches out, head down like zombies, and Steven Tyler’s hideous mouth hissing words like, “hold you in his armchair, you can feel his disease” – Well, it just TERRIFIED me.

Years later, when I discovered this was actually a John Lennon song – it made no difference. The song still conjures up dark images of Steven Tyler attempting to turn Strawberry Fields into a “mindless groupie” with his big evil lips. Shiver.

Talk about a double-edged trauma. First, the movie ruined the song “Come Together” and, for a long time, Aerosmith itself, AND it had me thinking for years that the Beatles’ concept album was actually a god-awful ‘70s cheesefest narrated by GEORGE BURNS. SGT. PEPPER, I shake my fist at you in rage!

Thanks! Keep up the trauma. Love the site.

For your reference, here’s the performance terror itself…

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12 years ago

Personally, if this were real life, I don’t think Aerosmith would have their asses handed to them by Peter Frampton and the BeeGees.
Though this movie was just TERRIBLE, IMO. Although this version will be on the radio at times, and I’m groovin’ on it. 🙂

Amanda By Night
12 years ago

I love, love, LOVE this movie. I have it on DVD. I have the soundtrack (on CD, I wish I had the vinyl), I have a novelization (or fotobook, I need to pull it out) and I have the trading cards. I saw this movie a GAZILLION times as a kid and it was hypnotic.

The scenes that bug me out are watching Donald Pleasance sing “I Want You So Bad” and the orgy scene (yeah, an ORGY scene). It’s very PG, but the music and the GIANT glasses they drink out of and the spinning bed that looks like an LP are crazy.

Many, many people really hate this movie and think it’s just so horrible that the Beatles allowed this to happen, but really, it’s entertaining, it’s an awesome time capsule, Barry Gibb and Peter Frampton are fucking goregous and a lot of the covers are magnificent, including the Earth, Wind and Fire mentioned. My favorite though is The Long and Winding Road, and yeah, I think it’s better than the original… What of it?

12 years ago

Mr. Tyler must have been traumatic if one didn’t notice that Alice Cooper covered “Because” in his stage makeup!  Yep, Steve’s large lips and gaping  jaw can be a bit much for some.  In fact, they were the basis for a riff in the MST3K version of “Werewolf”.   I myself didn’t like this though the Earth Wind And Fire version of “Gotta Get You Into My Life” was good.  Get this: I’ve heard that Chicago was supposed to do that song in the movie but their then manager pulled the plug on that. 

12 years ago

I LOVED this movie as a child.  But then, I also loved Xanadu, so what do I know.

If Aerosmith’s version of “Come Together” didn’t ruin the song for me, Michael Jackson’s certainly did.

12 years ago

For years I thought that I had somehow imagined this film as a child – possibly the result of some fever dream.  I was stunned years later when I found out that it actually existed. The Bee Gees, Steve Martin, George Burns, and Donald Pleasence in the same movie!?  How the hell does that happen?

12 years ago

Steven Tyler always creeped me out.