50 Facts About The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

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On this day in 1967, The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, was released.

We’ve rounded up 50 fun facts to celebrate the anniversary!

• After the release of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on 1 June 1967 it spent the remainder of the year at No.1 on the UK charts and returned to the top on 3 February 1968 replacing the soundtrack to the Sound of Music.

• It spent 15 weeks at #1 in America

• In 2003 Rolling Stone made it #1 in its list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”

• Sgt. Pepper was recorded using four-track equipment

• Critic Kenneth Tynan described it as “a decisive moment in the history of Western civilization”.

• Time magazine called it “a historic departure in the progress of music”

• Paul plays a grand piano on ‘A Day in the Life’

• The BBC banned ‘A Day in the Life’ because of the phrase “I’d love to turn you on”; with the BBC claiming it could “encourage a permissive attitude towards drug-taking.”

• Recording was completed on 21 April 1967 and it was released on 1 June

• George Martin had recorded the crowd noises at the start of ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ during a Beatles concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

• The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature, called it “the most important and influential rock and roll album ever recorded”

• Pop artists, Peter Blake and Jann Haworth designed the album cover from an ink drawing by McCartney

• Engineer Geoff Emerick said “We spent three weeks on the mono mixes and maybe three days on the stereo.”

• Paul plays a Lowrey organ on ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’

• The Beatles sold replicas of the coats they wore on the album sleeve in their short-lived Apple Boutique.

• Ringo’s drumming on ‘A Day In The Life’ has been described as “one of his most inventive drum parts on record”;

• John’s lyric for ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!’ is from an 1843 poster for Pablo Fanque’s circus that he bought at an antique shop in Kent while filming the promo film for ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.

• George Martin plays a harpsichord on ‘Fixing a Hole’

• Richard Goldstein described ‘She’s Leaving Home’ in The New York Times 1967 review as uninspiring

• George Martin plays a harmonium on ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!’

• John took inspiration for lyrics for ‘A Day In The Life’ from a newspaper: “I was writing the song with the Daily Mail propped up in front of me at the piano … there was a paragraph about 4000 [pot]holes in Blackburn, Lancashire”.

• George plays a tamboura on ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’

• The album cover art cost nearly £3,000, 60 times more than was normally spent at the time.

• 700 hours were spent recording the album.

• In 2006 music scholar David Scott Kastan described it as “the most important and influential rock and roll album ever recorded”.

• The Beatles played an acetate of the album to singer Cass Elliot at her flat off King’s Road in Chelsea, at six in the morning, full volume with speakers set-up by the open windows

• In 1967 it was the third biggest selling album of the year in America

• Three days after its release the Jimi Hendrix Experience opened a show at the Saville Theatre in London with a rendition of the title track; Harrison and McCartney attended the performance

• The collage on the front cover includes 57 photographs and 9 waxworks that depict a diversity of famous people

• The New York Times Book Review described it as a harbinger of a “golden Renaissance of Song”

• In 2008 the bass drum skin used on the front cover sold at auction for €670,000

• A TV commercial for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes inspired John’s ‘Good Morning Good Morning’

• Paul originally wrote the tune for ‘When I’m 64’ in the late 1950s as an instrumental, and a version of it was occasionally performed by the Beatles during their Hamburg shows.

• When Paul was asked why Elvis Presley was not on the album cover he said, “Elvis was too important and too far above the rest even to mention … so we didn’t put him on the list because he was more than merely a … pop singer, he was Elvis the King.”

• The BBC banned ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!’ because of the phrase “Henry the Horse”, because of a phrase that contains two common slang terms for heroin.

• While the BBC thought ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ is a reference to LSD; John insisted that it was from a pastel drawing by his four-year-old son Julian.

• At the 1968 Grammy Awards, Sgt. Pepper won Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts, Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical and Best Contemporary Album. It also won Album of the Year, the first rock LP to receive this honour.

• Paul sings 5 lead vocals, John sings 3, they share the lead on two, on one song John, Paul and George share the lead and Ringo sings lead on one song

• In 1967 it was the biggest selling album of the year in the UK

• The album’s inner sleeve featured artwork by the Dutch design team, ‘the Fool’.

• According to Paul, “One of the things we were very much into in those days was eye messages … So with Michael Cooper’s inside photo, we all said, ‘Now look into this camera and really say I love you! Really try and feel love; really give love through this! It’ll come out; it’ll show; it’s an attitude.’ And that’s what that is, if you look at it you’ll see the big effort from the eyes.”

• The lyrics were printed in full on the back cover, the first time this had been done on a rock LP

• At the end of George’s song, ‘Within You Without You’ there’s laughter. According to George, “Well, after all that long Indian stuff you want some light relief. It’s a release after five minutes of sad music.

• In 1994 Sgt. Pepper was ranked first in Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums

• Ringo says, “The biggest memory I have of Sgt. Pepper … is I learned to play chess”.

• The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, except ‘Fixing a Hole’ that was recorded at Regent Sound Studio in London on 9 February 1967

• The string section and harp on ‘She’s Leaving Home’, was arranged by Mike Leander

• The saxophone on ‘Good Morning, Good Morning’ is British beat boom band Sounds Incorporated

• Newsweek’s Jack Kroll called it a “masterpiece”, comparing the lyrics to the writing of Edith Sitwell, Harold Pinter and T. S. Eliot; ‘A Day in the Life’ he compared to Eliot’s The Waste Land.

• Langdon Winner said in Rolling Stone, “The closest Western Civilization has come to unity since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 was the week the Sgt. Pepper album was released. In every city in Europe and America the radio stations played [it] … and everyone listened.”

The 50th Anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, available for pre-order in the MusicVaultz store:

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