Tear-jerkers such as Adele’s Someone Like You frequently top the charts these days, while gloomy classical compositions like Mozart’s Requiem have moved people for centuries. Both portray and bring about a strong sense of loss and sadness. But our enjoyment of sad music is paradoxical – we go out of our way to avoid sadness in our daily lives. So why is it that, in the arts, themes such as loss can be safely experienced, profoundly enjoyed and even celebrated?
The best Beatles album? The rock historians often point to Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as the moment, in 1967, when rock magically grew up and became a legitimate art form, at least as it was perceived by the mainstream media. Many fans love the sprawl and variety of the self-titled 1968 double album, popularly known as The White Album. In some quarters there’s a fondness for Abbey Road and its side-long suite of mini-songs, and lovers of the Bob Dylan-influenced folk-rock of the mid-‘60s cherish Rubber Soul above all. They all have merit, but none of them is as consistently brilliant and innovative as Revolver.