The release of ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' was a defining moment for rock -- and the world

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It was 40 years ago this week -- to be precise, June 1, 1967, in Britain, a day later in the former colonies of America -- that the Beatles changed the world.

Of course, the Beatles had changed the world many times before, but the release of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was different.

It was called "a decisive moment in the history of Western civilization," one of its tunes ("She's Leaving Home") was credited with being one of the three great songs of the 20th century, and in the week after the album came out, "the irreparably fragmented consciousness of the West was unified, at least in the minds of the young."

Because those comments were made by, respectively, the Times of London's noted critic Kenneth Tynan, New York Philharmonic conductor Leonard Bernstein and New Yorker writer Langdon Winner, they signified the acceptance and triumph of "Sgt. Pepper" and the Beatles in the arts -- and adult -- community.

Young people, meanwhile, thought the album was cool and far out.

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