May I introduce to you, the act you’ve known for all these years...
The Beatles released Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50 years ago. MARION McMULLEN presents fab facts about the landmark album
1 SGT Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released on June 1, 1967, and initially spent 148 weeks in the British chart, including a total of 27 weeks at number one.
2 THE album’s now famous tracks include With A Little Help From My Friends, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, When I’m 64 and A Day In The Life.
3 THE name sprang from a conversation between Paul McCartney and Beatles roadie Mal Evans on a plane when Mal’s request for salt and pepper was misheard by Paul as “Sgt Pepper.”
4 THE album held the number one spot for 15 weeks in America and spent 88 weeks in the charts.
5 AMONG its many accolades, it won four Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year.
6 THE US Library of Congress selected the album for the National Recording Registry in 2003, recognising it as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
7 THE band had given up on touring so they poured their energies into studio work for the record.
8 THEY used the standard four-track tape recording of the day for the album, an amazing feat for such a multi-layered album.
9 THEY collaborated with producer George Martin to achieve “the impossible,” as they dubbed it.
10 ON June 4, just three days after the album’s release Jimi Hendrix opened a show at the Saville Theatre in London with the record’s title song as The Fab Four watched. Paul described it as “one of the great honours of my career.”
11 GEORGE once described the Sgt Pepper as his favourite Beatles album.
12 THE Beatles clocked more than 400 hours in Abbey Road’s studio 2 recording the album.
13 THEY finally finished their magnum opus on April 21, 1967.
14 A VICTORIAN circus poster bought by John Lennon while on location shooting the video to Strawberry Fields, inspired the song Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!
15 A PICTURE drawn by John Lennon’s son, Julian of one of his nursery classmates, Lucy O’Donnell, inspired Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. It was not a coded reference to drugs as many assumed.
16 GOOD Morning Good Morning was inspired by a TV ad for breakfast cereal.
17 SHE’S Leaving Home came from a newspaper report about a teen runaway called Melanie Coe.
18 RINGO STARR said: “Sgt Pepper seemed to capture the mood of that year and it also allowed a lot of other people to kick off from there...” 19 STRAWBERRY Fields Forever and Penny Lane were recorded during the Sgt Pepper sessions, but never made it onto the album. They were released as a double A-sided single in February 1967.
20 THE album cover, which sees The Beatles surrounded by celebrities and heroes in a 3D collage, was created by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth.
21 AMONG those featured on the cover were Laurel and Hardy, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan, Fred Astaire, Tony Curtis and Albert Einstein.
22 ALL the band made a list of people they wanted to include in the collage, except Ringo who said: “Whatever the others say is fine by me.” Among suggestions who did not make the final line up were Ghandi, Jesus and Hitler.
23 THE original album came with a free Sgt Pepper cardboard moustache and military patches.
24 JOHN LENNON wore a sporran for the album’s press launch.
25 PAUL MCCARTNEY chatted to an American photographer called Linda Eastman at the launch. Linda first met Paul four nights earlier at the Bag O’ Nails club. They married in 1969.
26 THE BBC is planning a range of programmes to mark the anniversary that include never-before-seen footage of the band and out-takes. Martin Freeman and Paul Merton are among the stars presenting radio specials.
27 A DAY in The Life was was inspired by Tara Browne, the heir to the Guinness fortune who died in a car crash. The song was banned by the BBC for alleged drug references.
28 THE iconic final E Major chord that ends the song was played simultaneously on three separate pianos by Paul, roadie Mal Evans and George Martin.
29 AN anniversary edition release of the album has been brought out by Apple Corps Ltd/Universal to mark the landmark date. Newly mixed by George Martin’s son Giles and Sam Okell, it will include early takes from the original sessions.
30 SIR Paul has penned an introduction for the Sgt Pepper Anniversary Edition and says: “It’s crazy to think that 50 years later we are looking back on this project with such fondness and a little bit of amazement at how four guys, a great producer and his engineers could make a lasting piece of art.”
The Fab Four show offthe gatefold sleeve’s artwork
Lennon dons his sporran
Paul chats with wife-tobe Linda Eastman at the album’s launch party