Publish Date: Sept. 22, 1967
Cover Story: The Messengers
How TIME Covered the News: The Beatles were the most successful rock band of the 1960s, but it was in 1967 when the Fab Four made a hard turn from pop ballads to psychedelic rock. Many music critics point to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as the most influential rock album ever produced; it spent 15 weeks at number one on the U.S. Billboard charts before winning four Grammys in 1968.
“I Want to Hold Your Hand, the Beatles’ biggest hit single—it has sold 5,000,000 copies since 1963—was a cliché boy-girl lyric and a simple tune hammered onto the regulation aaba pop-song structure. But the boys found their conventional sound and juvenile verses stultifying. Says Paul McCartney: “We didn’t like the idea of people going onstage and being very unreal and doing sickly songs. We felt that people would like it more, and we would like it more, if there was some—reality.”