The Beatles: George Harrison Admitted These ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Songs Were ‘Just Average’

During the 1980s, George Harrison revealed what he thought about several of the songs from The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. George said he liked half the songs from the album and hated the other half. Subsequently, he discussed how he felt about other famous Beatles albums.

The Beatles' Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison standing in a row
The Beatles | John Pratt/Keystone/Getty Images

George Harrison liked these songs from The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’

During a 1987 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Chris Willman asked George if it was easier to discuss The Beatles so long after the band broke up. “Yeah,” George replied. “[For a while] we started thinking only of the aggravation. But we helped each other through an unbelievably heavy period.”

Willman asked George if he considered Sgt. Pepper a special album. “There’s about half the tracks I like and the other half I can’t stand,” George said. “I like most of side 1…. And I love ‘A Day in the Life,’ and I even like the little Indian one that I did, which is really strange and unique.” The latter song appears to be “Within You Without You,” a song that George wrote that draws from Indian classical music. The song served as a precursor to a lot of George’s solo songs, which drew a lot from Eastern music.

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George Harrison wasn’t impressed with many of The Beatles’ songs

George wasn’t a huge fan of other songs from Sgt. Pepper. “But there’s a lot of them on there — ‘Fixing a Hole’ and ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ — which to me are just average,” George said. It’s notable George said he couldn’t stand half the songs on the album but never specified which songs were so bad he couldn’t stand them. George merely described “Fixing a Hole” and “When I’m Sixty-Four” as middling.

George then discussed how he felt about a number of The Beatles’ later albums. “I like Rubber Soul and Revolver, actually,” he revealed. “I like some of the White Album a lot; the rest is OK, but I don’t think it’s that special. But even if what they’re saying about Sgt. Pepper being the greatest record of all time is all wrong, I’m glad they’re saying it about one of our records and not somebody else’s, you know.”

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How Rolling Stone’s assessment of ‘Sgt. Pepper’ changed over time

During the interview, George said people considered Sgt. Pepper the greatest album ever. This attitude persisted into the 21st century. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it No. 1 on its list of the greatest albums ever.

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In 2020, Rolling Stone ranked the album No. 24 on its list of the greatest albums ever, with Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On at No. 1. The highest-ranked Beatles album on the list was Abbey Road, which reached No. 5. George didn’t seem to think Sgt. Pepper was the greatest album of all time and Rolling Stone eventually agreed with that assessment.