For the Benefit of Mr. Kite: How Creativity Works

Ed Newman
5 min readSep 29, 2018

“… Whether you’re writing a Shakespearean tragedy, or trying to come up with a new graphic design or writing a piece of software, how we think about the problem should depend on the problem itself. Creativity is really a catch-all term for a variety of very different kinds of thinking.” ~Jonah Lehrer *

When Rolling Stone dubbed The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper as #1 album rock album of all time, here’s how they defended their selection:

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the most important rock & roll album ever made, an unsurpassed adventure in concept, sound, songwriting, cover art and studio technology by the greatest rock & roll group of all time. From the title song’s regal blasts of brass and fuzz guitar to the orchestral seizure and long, dying piano chord at the end of “A Day in the Life,” the 13 tracks on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band are the pinnacle of the Beatles’ eight years as recording artists. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were never more fearless and unified in their pursuit of magic and transcendence.

The album was an incredible achievement on so many levels. In high school English we studied some of the lyrics. And many of us have returned to it again and again over the years. No matter what period of life, the songs still hold up. But the real significance of Sgt. Pepper is due to it’s ground-breaking creative expression.

In a 1987 article titled “Cultivating Invention,” Ernest Breton and Raelene Gold propose that creativity emerges from cultivating an environment that creates and nourishes creativity. Their article was directed toward businesses striving to create effective R&D efforts, but their insights apply directly to those ground-breaking influencers in the music industry.

“Like the farmer who removes impediments to the growth of plants, the company seeking inventions must remove impediments to invention,” they wrote. **

In the visual arts this breaking down barriers, removing impediments to creative possibilities, is the story of modern art. Beginning with the expressionists, the various movements through cubism to total abstraction were a series of breaking down walls. The Sixties evolution from sock hop rock ‘n roll to “anything’s possible” only…

Ed Newman

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon