From Wilson Bryan Key's Media Sexploitation, copyright 1976, published by Prentice Hall, Incorporated, pages 130-132:
In 1968 the industry's most successful album was released by Capitol Records -- Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. As a monument to electronic gimmickry, Sergeant Pepper was a work of art. The album -- by the producer's own admission -- required over four hundred hours to record. Perhaps strangely, the album reflected despair, hopelessness, and the futility and hypocrisy of modern life's illusions. To the unitiated [sic] parent, however, the record appeared gay, light, and even humorous. Minor portions were perceived by the teenage audience consciously, but the largest portion was heard only at subliminal levels.
Side One concerned illusion and means by which people hide truth from themselves. The side began with the business of show business, the greatest illusion of them all. Drugs were dealt with in the songs "Fixing a Hole" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" -- a not so hidden reference to LSD.
Lush verbal imagery and musical phrase distortions conveyed the hallucinations from an acid trip:
"With tangerine trees and marmalade skies . . . "
Refusals by parents to face the truth or deal with realities were caustically dealt with in "Getting Better," the parental illusion of their idealized relationship with their children in "She's Leaving Home," which pictured parents after their daughter had run away from home:
We gave her most of our lives . . .
We gave her everything money can buy . . . .
The song's narrator sings in counterpoint to the lyrics:
She's leaving home after living alone
For so many years.
Side One concluded with a return from disturbed family relationships to the illusions of show business.
Side Two opened with a song by George Harrison, "Within You Without You," which summarized the meaning of Side One.
The space between us all, and the people who
Hide themselves behind a wall of illusion.
The next three compositions considered life without drugs or hypocrisy -- the sterile, ritualized roles people play. The first ''When I'm Sixty-four," ridiculed the life of an elderly couple; the second, "Lovely Rita," made fun of romantic love, extolling the tribulations of a Liverpool whore who procured through her respectable job as a meter maid. The third, deceptively titled, "Good Morning, Good Morning," desolately described the futility and banality of life.
The reprise of Sergeant Pepper's theme changed dramatically. Sergeant Pepper was no longer the outrageously funny character who promised smiles and entertainment. Repeating the line four times, the Beatles sang "Sergeant Pepper's lonely." In summary, the final song, "A Day in the Life," questioned whether man could live without his illusions . . .
Heady stuff for teen-agers? Jon Eisen [sic] in The Age of Rock compared Sergeant Pepper with T. S. Eliot's "Wasteland"* in its near desperate reflections upon contemporary life. . .
*(Here, Key may mean Joan Peyser's reference, in her essay in the book Eisen edited, to the comparison made in Newsweek; I could find no Beatles/Eliot comparison in any of the Eisen-written material in Age of Rock. - AM)