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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (often shortened as Sgt. Pepper) is the eighth studio album
Studio album
A studio album is an album made up of tracks recorded in the controlled environment of a recording studio. A studio album contains newly written and recorded or previously unreleased or remixed material, distinguishing itself from a compilation or reissue album of previously recorded material, or...

 by the English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 band The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

, released on 1 June 1967 on the Parlophone
Parlophone
Parlophone is a record label that was founded in Germany in 1896 by the Carl Lindström Company as Parlophon. The British branch was formed in 1923 as "Parlophone" which developed a reputation in the 1920s as a leading jazz label. It was acquired in 1927 by the Columbia Graphophone Company which...

 label and produced by George Martin
George Martin
Sir George Henry Martin CBE is an English record producer, arranger, composer and musician. He is sometimes referred to as "the Fifth Beatle"— a title that he often describes as "nonsense," but the fact remains that he served as producer on all but one of The Beatles' original albums...

. The album is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time
Albums considered the greatest ever
Many publications and organizations have tried to determine the album considered the greatest ever. Those listed in this article have all been cited in a notable survey — be it a popular poll or critics' poll....

, and has since been recognised as one of the most important albums in the history of popular music, including songs such as "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is a song written primarily by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney, for The Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band...

" and "A Day in the Life
A Day in the Life
"A Day in the Life" is a song by The Beatles, the final track on the group's 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Credited to Lennon–McCartney, the song comprises distinct segments written independently by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with orchestral additions...

". Recorded over a 129-day period beginning in December 1966, Sgt. Pepper saw the band developing the production techniques of their previous album, Revolver
Revolver (album)
Revolver is the seventh studio album by the English rock group The Beatles, released on 5 August 1966 on the Parlophone label and produced by George Martin. Many of the tracks on Revolver are marked by an electric guitar-rock sound, in contrast with their previous LP, the folk rock inspired Rubber...

. Martin's innovative and lavish production included the orchestra usage and hired musicians ordered by the band. Genres such as music hall, jazz, rock and roll, western classical, and traditional Indian music are covered. The album cover art, by English pop artist Peter Blake
Peter Blake (artist)
Sir Peter Thomas Blake, KBE, CBE, RDI, RA is an English pop artist, best known for his design of the sleeve for the Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He lives in Chiswick, London, UK.-Career:...

, depicts the band posing in front of a collage of their favourite celebrities, and has been widely acclaimed and imitated.

Sgt. Pepper was a worldwide critical and commercial success, spending a total of 27 weeks at the top of the UK Album Chart and 15 weeks at number one on the US Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

. A defining album in the emerging psychedelic rock
Psychedelic rock
Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. It emerged during the mid 1960s among folk rock and blues rock bands in United States and the United Kingdom...

 style, the album was critically acclaimed upon release and won four Grammy awards in 1968. It frequently ranks at or near the top of published lists of the greatest albums of all time
Albums considered the greatest ever
Many publications and organizations have tried to determine the album considered the greatest ever. Those listed in this article have all been cited in a notable survey — be it a popular poll or critics' poll....

. In 1994 it was ranked number one in the book All Time Top 1000 Albums
All Time Top 1000 Albums
All Time Top 1000 Albums is a book by Colin Larkin, creator and editor of the Encyclopedia of Popular Music. The book was originally published by Guinness Publishing in 1994 and is in its 4th Revised Edition....

. In 2003, the album was placed at number one on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Sgt. Pepper is one of the world's best selling albums, having shipped 32 million copies.

Background


The Beatles had grown tired of performing live and stopped touring in August 1966. After the stress of their final American tour, in particular the postponed Cincinnati concert, the four of them — especially Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. Formerly of The Beatles and Wings , McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100...

, who was perhaps the most in favour of continuing to tour — decided that it was time to stop. They took a two-month break, and individually got involved in their own interests. George Harrison
George Harrison
George Harrison, MBE was an English musician, guitarist, singer-songwriter, actor and film producer who achieved international fame as lead guitarist of The Beatles. Often referred to as "the quiet Beatle", Harrison became over time an admirer of Indian mysticism, and introduced it to the other...

 travelled to India to continue developing his sitar
Sitar
The 'Tablaman' is a plucked stringed instrument predominantly used in Hindustani classical music, where it has been ubiquitous since the Middle Ages...

 playing at the invitation of Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar , often referred to by the title Pandit, is an Indian musician and composer who plays the plucked string instrument sitar. He has been described as the best known contemporary Indian musician by Hans Neuhoff in Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart.Shankar was born in Varanasi and spent...

, returning with enhanced Indian cultural and musical influences. McCartney, along with Martin, wrote the music
The Family Way (soundtrack)
The Family Way is a soundtrack recording composed by Paul McCartney, released in January 1967. The album is the soundtrack to a late 1966 film of the same name, directed by Roy Boulting and starring Hayley Mills...

 for the film The Family Way
The Family Way
The Family Way is a 1966 British comedy-drama film based on Bill Naughton's play All in Good Time . It began life in 1961 as a television play entitled Honeymoon Postponed....

, getting an Ivor Novello award the following year for best film song for the track "Love in the Open Air". John Lennon
John Lennon
John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

 acted in How I Won the War
How I Won the War
How I Won the War is a black comedy film directed by Richard Lester, released in 1967. The film stars Michael Crawford as bungling British Army Officer Lieutenant Earnest Goodbody, with John Lennon , Jack MacGowran , Roy Kinnear and Lee Montague as soldiers under his command...

, and attended art galleries, where he met his future wife Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono
is a Japanese artist, musician, author and peace activist, known for her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking as well as her marriage to John Lennon...

. Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr
Richard Starkey, MBE better known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an English musician and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for The Beatles. When the band formed in 1960, Starr was a member of another Liverpool band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. He became The Beatles' drummer in...

 spent more time with his wife and children. In November, during a flight back from a holiday in Kenya with his girlfriend Jane Asher
Jane Asher
Jane Asher is an English actress. She has also developed a second career as a cake decorator and cake shop proprietor.-Early life:...

 and tour manager Mal Evans
Mal Evans
Malcolm Frederick 'Mal' Evans was best known as the road manager, assistant, and a friend of The Beatles: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr....

, McCartney had the first idea for the concept of an alternative Beatles band that would become the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club band.

Production


Recording for the album began in late 1966 with a series of songs that were to form an album thematically linked to childhood and everyday life. The first fruits of this exercise, "Penny Lane
Penny Lane
"Penny Lane" is a song by The Beatles, written by Paul McCartney. It was credited to Lennon–McCartney.Recorded during the Sgt. Pepper sessions, "Penny Lane" was released in February 1967 as one side of a double A-sided single, along with "Strawberry Fields Forever". Both songs were later included...

" and "Strawberry Fields Forever
Strawberry Fields Forever
"Strawberry Fields Forever" is a song by The Beatles, written by John Lennon and attributed to the Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership. It was inspired by Lennon's memories of playing in the garden of a Salvation Army house named "Strawberry Field" near his childhood home."Strawberry Fields...

", were released as a double A-sided single in February 1967 after EMI and Epstein pressured Martin for a released single. Once the singles were released the childhood concept was abandoned in favour of Sgt. Pepper's, and in keeping with the group's usual practice, the single tracks were not included on the LP (a decision Martin states he now regrets). They were released only as a single in the UK and Canada at the time, but were included as part of the American LP version of Magical Mystery Tour (which was issued as a six-track double EP
Extended play
An EP is a musical recording which contains more music than a single, but is too short to qualify as a full album or LP. The term EP originally referred only to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play records and LP records, but it is now applied to mid-length Compact...

 in Britain). The Harrison composition "Only a Northern Song
Only A Northern Song
"Only a Northern Song" is a song written by George Harrison and performed by The Beatles. The song was recorded in 1967 during the sessions for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band but was omitted from that album...

" was also recorded during the Sgt. Pepper's sessions but did not see a release until the soundtrack album
Yellow Submarine (album)
Yellow Submarine is the tenth studio album by The Beatles in the United Kingdom, released on Apple Records. It was issued as the soundtrack to the film of the same name, which premiered in the United Kingdom seven months prior to the album's release....

 for the animated film Yellow Submarine, released on January 1969.

As EMI
EMI
The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major...

's premier act and the world's most successful rock group, the Beatles had almost unlimited access to Abbey Road Studios
Abbey Road Studios
Abbey Road Studios is a recording studio located at 3 Abbey Road, St John's Wood, City of Westminster, London, England. It was established in November 1931 by the Gramophone Company, a predecessor of British music company EMI, its present owner...

. All four band members had already developed a preference for long, late night sessions, although they were still extremely efficient and highly disciplined in their studio habits.

By 1967, all of the Sgt. Pepper's tracks could be recorded at Abbey Road using mono, stereo and four-track recorders. Although eight-track tape recorders were already available in the US, the first eight-tracks were not operational in commercial studios in London until late 1967, shortly after the album was released. Like its predecessors, the recording made extensive use of the technique known as "bouncing down" (also known at that time as a "reduction mix"), in which a number of tracks were recorded across the four tracks of one recorder, which were then mixed and dubbed
Dubbing (music)
In sound recording, dubbing is the transfer or copying of previously recorded audio material from one medium to another of the same or a different type. It may be done with a machine designed for this purpose, or by connecting two different machines: one to play back and one to record the signal...

 down onto one or several tracks of the master four-track machine. This enabled the Abbey Road engineers to give The Beatles a virtual multi-track
Multitrack recording
Multitrack recording is a method of sound recording that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources to create a cohesive whole...

 studio.

The Beatles used new modular effects units like the wah-wah pedal
Wah-wah pedal
A wah-wah pedal is a type of guitar effects pedal that alters the tone of the signal to create a distinctive effect, mimicking the human voice...

 and fuzzbox, which they augmented with their own experimental ideas, such as running voices and instruments through a Leslie speaker
Leslie speaker
The Leslie speaker is a specially constructed amplifier/loudspeaker used to create special audio effects using the Doppler effect. Named after its inventor, Donald Leslie, it is particularly associated with the Hammond organ but is used with a variety of instruments as well as vocals. The...

. Several then-new production effects feature extensively on the recordings. One of the most important was automatic double tracking
Automatic double tracking
Automatic double-tracking or artificial double-tracking was an analogue recording technique designed to enhance the sound of voices or instruments during the recording process. It used tape delay to create a delayed copy of an audio signal which was then combined with the original...

 (ADT), a system that used tape recorder
Tape recorder
An audio tape recorder, tape deck, reel-to-reel tape deck, cassette deck or tape machine is an audio storage device that records and plays back sounds, including articulated voices, usually using magnetic tape, either wound on a reel or in a cassette, for storage...

s to create an instant and simultaneous doubling of a sound. Although it had long been recognised that using multitrack tape to record "doubled" lead vocals produced a greatly enhanced sound, it had always been necessary to record such vocal tracks twice, a task which was both tedious and exacting. ADT was invented especially for the band by EMI engineer Ken Townsend in 1966, mainly at the behest of Lennon, who hated tracking sessions and regularly expressed a desire for a technical solution to the problem. ADT quickly became a near-universal recording practice in popular music. Martin, having a bit of fun at Lennon's expense, described the new technique to an inquisitive Lennon as a "double-bifurcated sploshing flange". The anecdote explains one variation of how the term "flanging" came to be associated with this recording effect.

Also important was varispeeding
Pitch shift
Pitch shifting is a sound recording technique in which the original pitch of a sound is raised or lowered. Effects units that raise or lower pitch by a pre-designated musical interval are called "pitch shifters" or "pitch benders".-Pitch/time shifting:...

, the technique of recording various tracks on a multi-track tape at slightly different tape speeds. The Beatles use this effect extensively on their vocals in this period. The speeding up of vocals became a widespread technique in pop production. The band also used the effect on portions of their backing tracks (as on "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is a song written primarily by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney, for The Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band...

") to give them a "thicker" and more diffuse sound.

"Within You Without You
Within You Without You
"Within You Without You" is a song written by George Harrison, released on The Beatles' 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.-Composition:...

" was recorded on 15 March with Harrison on vocals, sitar
Sitar
The 'Tablaman' is a plucked stringed instrument predominantly used in Hindustani classical music, where it has been ubiquitous since the Middle Ages...

 and acoustic guitar
Acoustic guitar
An acoustic guitar is a guitar that uses only an acoustic sound board. The air in this cavity resonates with the vibrational modes of the string and at low frequencies, which depend on the size of the box, the chamber acts like a Helmholtz resonator, increasing or decreasing the volume of the sound...

; the other instruments (tabla
Tabla
The tabla is a popular Indian percussion instrument used in Hindustani classical music and in popular and devotional music of the Indian subcontinent. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres...

, dilruba, swarmandel
Swarmandel
The swarmandal or Indian harp is an Indian zither that is today most commonly used as an accompanying instrument for vocal Hindustani Classical music...

, and tambura
Tambura
The tambura, tanpura, or tambora is a long-necked plucked lute . The body shape of the tambura somewhat resembles that of the sitar, but it has no frets – only the open strings are played to accompany other musicians...

) were played by four London-based Indian musicians while the rest of the Beatles watched, but did not participate.

For the 17 March recording of "She's Leaving Home
She's Leaving Home
"She's Leaving Home" is a song credited to Lennon–McCartney and released in 1967 on The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. McCartney wrote and sang the verse and Lennon the chorus...

", McCartney hired Mike Leander
Mike Leander
Michael George Farr professionally known as Mike Leander was an arranger and record producer for Decca Records in the 1960s and Bell Records in the 1970s and worked with such artists as Marianne Faithfull, Billy Fury, Marc Bolan, Joe Cocker, The Small Faces, Van Morrison, Alan Price, Peter...

 to arrange the string section as Martin was occupied producing a Cilla Black
Cilla Black
Cilla Black OBE is an English singer, actress, entertainer and media personality, who has been consistently popular as a light entertainment figure since 1963. She is most famous for her singles Anyone Who Had A Heart, You're My World, and Alfie...

 record.

The lyrics for Lennon's song "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
"Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" is a song from the 1967 album by The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was composed by John Lennon...

", were adapted almost word for word from a Victorian circus poster for Pablo Fanque
Pablo Fanque
Pablo Fanque was the first black circus proprietor in Britain. His circus, in which he himself was a performer, was the most popular circus in Victorian Britain for 30 years, a period that is regarded as the golden age of the circus...

's circus, which Lennon had bought at an antique shop in Kent the day The Beatles had been filming the promotional clip for "Strawberry Fields Forever" there. The sound collage
Sound collage
In music, montage or sound collage is a technique where sound objects or compositions, including songs, are created from collage, also known as montage, the use of portions of previous recordings or scores...

 was created by Martin and his engineers, who collected recordings of calliopes
Calliope (music)
A calliope is a musical instrument that produces sound by sending a gas, originally steam or more recently compressed air, through large whistles, originally locomotive whistles....

 and fairground organs, which were then cut into strips of various lengths, thrown into a box, mixed up and edited together in random order, creating a long loop which was mixed in during final production.

This album also makes heavy use of keyboard instruments. A grand piano is used on tracks such as "A Day in the Life", a Lowrey organ
Lowrey organ
The Lowrey organ is an electronic organ named after Chicago industrialist Frederick Lowrey.During the 1960s and 1970s, Lowrey was the largest manufacturer of electronic organs in the world. In 1989, the Lowrey Organ Company produced its 1,000,000th organ....

 is used for "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", a harpsichord
Harpsichord
A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed.In the narrow sense, "harpsichord" designates only the large wing-shaped instruments in which the strings are perpendicular to the keyboard...

 can be heard on "Fixing a Hole", and Martin played a harmonium
Harmonium
A harmonium is a free-standing keyboard instrument similar to a reed organ. Sound is produced by air being blown through sets of free reeds, resulting in a sound similar to that of an accordion...

 on "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!". An electric piano, upright piano, Hammond organ, glockenspiel and mellotron can also be heard on the record. Harrison used a tambura
Tambura
The tambura, tanpura, or tambora is a long-necked plucked lute . The body shape of the tambura somewhat resembles that of the sitar, but it has no frets – only the open strings are played to accompany other musicians...

 on several tracks, including "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Getting Better".

The thunderous piano chord that concludes "A Day in the Life", and the album, was produced by assembling three grand pianos in the studio and playing an E chord on each simultaneously. Together on cue, Lennon, Starr, McCartney, and assistant Mal Evans
Mal Evans
Malcolm Frederick 'Mal' Evans was best known as the road manager, assistant, and a friend of The Beatles: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr....

 hammered the keys on the assembled pianos and held the chord. The sound from the pianos was then mixed up with compression and increasing gain on the volume to draw out the sound to maximum sustain.

British pressings of the album (in its original LP form that was later released on CD) end with a 15-kilohertz high-frequency tone (put on the album at Lennon's suggestion and said to be "especially intended to annoy your dog"), followed by an endless loop of laughter and gibberish made by the runout groove looping back into itself. The loop (but not the tone) made its US debut on the 1980 Rarities compilation, titled "Sgt. Pepper Inner Groove". However, it is only featured as a two-second fragment at the end of side two rather than an actual loop in the run out groove. The CD version of "Sgt. Pepper Inner Groove" is actually a bit shorter than that one found on the original UK vinyl pressing. The sound in the loop caused some controversy when it was interpreted as a secret message. McCartney later told his biographer Barry Miles
Barry Miles
Barry Miles is an English author known for his participation in and writing on the subject of the 1960s London underground. He has written numerous books and his work has also regularly appeared in left-wing papers such as The Guardian...

 that in the summer of 1967 a group of kids came up to him complaining about a lewd message hidden in it when played backwards. He told them, "You're wrong, it's actually just 'It really couldn't be any other. He took them to his house to play the record backwards to them, and it turned out that the passage sounded to him very much like "We'll fuck you like Superman
Superman
Superman is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective...

". McCartney recounted to Miles that "we had certainly had not intended to do that but probably when you turn anything backwards it sounds like something ... if you look hard enough you can make something out of anything".

Concept


With Sgt. Pepper's, The Beatles wanted to create a record that could, in effect, tour for them, an idea they had already explored with the promotional film clips made over the previous years, intended to promote them in the US when they were not touring there. McCartney decided that he should create fictitious characters for each band member and record an album that would be a performance by that fictitious band. This "alter-ego group" gave the band the freedom to experiment with songs.

The album starts with the title song, which introduces Sgt. Pepper's band itself; this song segue
Segue
A segue is a smooth transition from one topic or section to the next.-In music:In music, segue is a direction to the performer. It means continue without a pause. It comes from the Italian "it follows". The term attacca is also used in classical music.For written music it implies a transition...

s into a sung introduction for bandleader "Billy Shears" (Starr), who performs "With a Little Help from My Friends
With a Little Help from My Friends
-Joe Cocker version:Joe Cocker's version was a radical re-arrangement of the original, in a slower, 6/8 meter, using different chords in the middle eight, and a lengthy instrumental introduction...

". A reprise
Reprise
Reprise is a fundamental device in the history of art. In literature, a reprise consists of the rewriting of another work; in music, a reprise is the repetition or reiteration of the opening material later in a composition as occurs in the recapitulation of sonata form, though—originally in the...

 version of the title song was also recorded, and appears on side two of the original album (just prior to the climactic "A Day in the Life"), creating a "book-ending" effect. However, the band effectively abandoned the concept after recording the first two songs and the reprise. Lennon was unequivocal in stating that the songs he wrote for the album had nothing to do with the Sgt. Pepper's concept, and further noted that none of the other songs did either, saying "Every other song could have been on any other album". The album has been widely heralded as an early and ground-breaking example of the concept album
Concept album
In music, a concept album is an album that is "unified by a theme, which can be instrumental, compositional, narrative, or lyrical." Commonly, concept albums tend to incorporate preconceived musical or lyrical ideas rather than being improvised or composed in the studio, with all songs contributing...

.

Lyrics


Concerns that lyrics in Sgt. Pepper's referred to recreational drug use
Recreational drug use
Recreational drug use is the use of a drug, usually psychoactive, with the intention of creating or enhancing recreational experience. Such use is controversial, however, often being considered to be also drug abuse, and it is often illegal...

 led to several songs from the album being banned by the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 and criticised in other quarters.

The album's closing track, "A Day in the Life", includes the phrase "I'd love to turn you on". The BBC banned the song from airplay on the basis of this line, claiming it could "encourage a permissive attitude toward drug-taking". Both Lennon and McCartney denied any drug-related interpretation of the song at the time, although McCartney's later comments in The Beatles Anthology documentary regarding the writing of the lyric make it clear that the drug reference was indeed deliberate. Another line from the song, "Found my way upstairs and had a smoke/And somebody spoke and I went into a dream", seems to refer to the use of marijuana. A line in the song "When I'm Sixty-Four", "Doing the garden, digging the weeds/Who could ask for more?", has also been interpreted as a sly marijuana reference.

"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" also became the subject of speculation regarding its meaning, as many believed that the words of the chorus were code for LSD. The BBC used this as their basis for banning the song from British radio. Again, Lennon consistently denied this interpretation of the song, maintaining that the song describes a surreal dreamscape inspired by a picture drawn by his son Julian
Julian Lennon
John Charles Julian Lennon is an English musician, songwriter, actor, and photographer. He is the son of John Lennon and Lennon's first wife, Cynthia Powell. Beatles manager Brian Epstein was his godfather. He has a younger half-brother, Sean Lennon. Lennon was named after his paternal...

. However, during a newspaper interview in 2004, McCartney was quoted as saying:

Cover artwork




The Grammy Award
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

-winning album packaging was art-directed
Art director
The art director is a person who supervise the creative process of a design.The term 'art director' is a blanket title for a variety of similar job functions in advertising, publishing, film and television, the Internet, and video games....

 by Robert Fraser, designed by Peter Blake
Peter Blake (artist)
Sir Peter Thomas Blake, KBE, CBE, RDI, RA is an English pop artist, best known for his design of the sleeve for the Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He lives in Chiswick, London, UK.-Career:...

 and Jann Haworth
Jann Haworth
Jann Haworth is an American Pop artist. A pioneer of soft sculpture, she is best known as the co-creator of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.-Early years:...

, his wife and artistic partner, and photographed by Michael Cooper
Michael Cooper (photographer)
Michael Cooper was a British photographer who is remembered for his photographs of leading rock musicians of the 1960s and early 1970s, most notably the many photos he took of The Rolling Stones in the mid-1960s....

. It featured a colourful collage of life-sized cardboard models of famous people on the front of the album cover and lyrics printed on the back cover, the first time this had been done on a British pop LP. The Beatles themselves, in the guise of the Sgt. Pepper band, were dressed in custom-made military-style outfits made of satin dyed in day-glo colours. The suits were designed by Manuel Cuevas
Manuel Cuevas
Manuel Arturo José Cuevas Martínez or just Manuel is a designer for Rock and Roll and Country acts.-History:...

. Among the insignia on their uniforms are:
  • MBE medals on McCartney's and Harrison's jackets. MBEs had been awarded to all four Beatles.
  • The Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom
    Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom
    The Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom is the official coat of arms of the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. These arms are used by the Queen in her official capacity as monarch of the United Kingdom, and are officially known as her Arms of Dominion...

    , on Lennon's right sleeve.
  • Ontario Provincial Police
    Ontario Provincial Police
    The Ontario Provincial Police is the Provincial Police service for the province of Ontario, Canada.-Overview:The OPP is the the largest deployed police force in Ontario, and the second largest in Canada. The service is responsible for providing policing services throughout the province in areas...

     flash on McCartney's sleeve.



In the centre of the scene, The Beatles stand behind a drum on which are painted the words of the album's title; the drum was painted by fairground artist Joe Ephgrave.

The collage depicted more than 70 famous people, including writers, musicians, film stars, and (at Harrison's request) a number of Indian guru
Guru
A guru is one who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom, and authority in a certain area, and who uses it to guide others . Other forms of manifestation of this principle can include parents, school teachers, non-human objects and even one's own intellectual discipline, if the...

s. The final grouping included Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich was a German-American actress and singer.Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself, professionally and characteristically. In the Berlin of the 1920s, she acted on the stage and in silent films...

, Carl Gustav Jung, W.C. Fields, Diana Dors
Diana Dors
Diana Dors was an English actress, born Diana Mary Fluck in Swindon, Wiltshire. Considered the English equivalent of the blonde bombshells of Hollywood, Dors described herself as: "The only sex symbol Britain has produced since Lady Godiva."-Early life:Diana Mary Fluck was born in ­Swindon,...

, James Dean
James Dean
James Byron Dean was an American film actor. He is a cultural icon, best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause , in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark...

, Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

, Issy Bonn
Issy Bonn
Issy Bonn was a British Jewish actor, singer and comedian, most famous for his recording of My Yiddishe Momme. He also appeared in two films, I Thank You in 1941 and Discoveries in 1939, where he played Mr. Schwitzer. He played on BBC Radio music shows, and in music halls before retiring to become...

, Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, singer, model and showgirl who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s....

, Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley
Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel...

, Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Another critic calls him "one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music"...

, Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

, Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley , born Edward Alexander Crowley, and also known as both Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beast, was an influential English occultist, astrologer, mystic and ceremonial magician, responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema. He was also successful in various other...

, Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

, Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

, Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

, William S. Burroughs
William S. Burroughs
William Seward Burroughs II was an American novelist, poet, essayist and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th...

, Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American movie star and political activist. "Unchallenged as the most important actor in modern American Cinema" according to the St...

, Stan Laurel
Stan Laurel
Arthur Stanley "Stan" Jefferson , better known as Stan Laurel, was an English comic actor, writer and film director, famous as the first half of the comedy team Laurel and Hardy. His film acting career stretched between 1917 and 1951 and included a starring role in the Academy Award winning film...

 and Oliver Hardy
Oliver Hardy
Oliver Hardy was an American comic actor famous as one half of Laurel and Hardy, the classic double act that began in the era of silent films and lasted nearly 30 years, from 1927 to 1955.-Early life:...

, and controversial comedian Lenny Bruce
Lenny Bruce
Leonard Alfred Schneider , better known by the stage name Lenny Bruce, was a Jewish-American comedian, social critic and satirist...

. Also included was the image of the original Beatles' bassist, the late Stuart Sutcliffe
Stuart Sutcliffe
Stuart Fergusson Victor Sutcliffe was a Scottish artist and musician, best known as the original bass player of The Beatles. Sutcliffe left the band to pursue a career as an artist, having previously attended the Liverpool College of Art...

. Pete Best
Pete Best
Pete Best is a British musician, best known as the original drummer in The Beatles. He was born in the city of Madras, British India...

 said in a later NPR interview that Lennon borrowed family medals from his (Best's) mother Mona
Mona Best
Mona "Mo" Best was born in India and is best known as the mother of Pete Best , who was an early member of The Beatles. Mona also had two other sons, Rory and Vincent "Roag" Best...

 for the shoot, on condition that he did not lose them. Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and Jesus Christ
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 were requested by Lennon, but ultimately they were left out. A photo also exists of a rejected cardboard printout with a cloth draped over its head; its identity is unknown. Even now, co-creator Jann Haworth regrets that so few women were included.

The final bill for the cover was £2,868 5s 3d (equivalent to £ today), a staggering sum for the time. It has been estimated that this was 100 times the average cost for an album cover in those days.

Reception


Upon release, Sgt. Pepper's received both popular and critical acclaim. The album was a global hit, with huge sales in Europe, North and South America, Africa, Japan, Australia, and even in the black market in the Soviet Union, where the Beatles were very popular and widely available. Various reviews appearing in the mainstream press and trade publications throughout June 1967, immediately after the album's release, were generally positive. In The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

, prominent critic Kenneth Tynan
Kenneth Tynan
Kenneth Peacock Tynan was an influential and often controversial English theatre critic and writer.-Early life:...

 described Sgt. Pepper's as "a decisive moment in the history of Western civilisation
History of western civilization
Roots of the Western civilization in its broader sense may be traced back to 9000 BC, when around the headwaters of the Euphrates, Tigris, and Jordan Rivers farming began, spreading outwards across Europe; the West thus produced the world's first cities, states, and empires. However, Western...

". Richard Poirier
Richard Poirier
Richard Poirier was an American literary critic.He co-founded the Library of America, and served as chairman of its board. He was the Marius Bewley Professor of American and English Literature at Rutgers University...

 wrote "listening to the Sgt. Pepper album one thinks not simply of the history of popular music but the history of this century."

One notable critic who did not like the album was Richard Goldstein, a critic for The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, who wrote, "Like an over-attended child, Sergeant Pepper is spoiled. It reeks of horns and harps, harmonica quartets, assorted animal noises, and a 41-piece orchestra", and added that it was an "album of special effects, dazzling but ultimately fraudulent". On the other hand, Goldstein called A Day in the Life "a deadly earnest excursion in emotive music with a chilling lyric", and that "it stands as one of the most important Lennon-McCartney compositions, and it is an historic Pop event".

Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa
Frank Vincent Zappa was an American composer, singer-songwriter, electric guitarist, record producer and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, orchestral and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed...

 accused The Beatles of co-opting the flower power
Flower power
Flower power is a slogan used by the American counterculture movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. It is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War. The expression was coined by the American Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in...

 aesthetic for monetary gain, saying in a Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

 article that he felt "they were only in it for the money". That criticism later became the title of the Mothers of Invention album (We're Only in It for the Money
We're Only in It for the Money
We're Only in It For the Money is the third studio album by The Mothers of Invention, released in March 1968. The album peaked at number thirty on the Billboard 200...

), which mocked Sgt. Pepper's with a similar album cover.

In April 1967, Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson
Brian Douglas Wilson is an American musician, best known as the leader and chief songwriter of the group The Beach Boys. Within the band, Wilson played bass and keyboards, also providing part-time lead vocals and, more often, backing vocals, harmonizing in falsetto with the group...

 (who was suffering growing mental problems) was deeply affected by hearing a tape of the song "A Day in the Life", which McCartney played to him in Los Angeles. Soon after, Smile
Smile (The Beach Boys album)
Smile is a previously unreleased album by The Beach Boys recorded throughout 1966 and 1967. The project was intended by its creator Brian Wilson as the follow-up to Pet Sounds, but was never completed in its original form...

 was abandoned, and Wilson would not return to complete it until 2003. Van Dyke Parks
Van Dyke Parks
Van Dyke Parks is an American composer, arranger, producer, musician, singer, author and actor. Parks is perhaps best known for his contributions as a lyricist on the Beach Boys album Smile....

 later said, "Brian had a nervous collapse. What broke his heart was Sgt. Pepper's."

Within days of its release, Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter...

 was performing the title track in concert, first for an audience that included Harrison and McCartney, who were greatly impressed by his unique version of their song and his ability to learn it so quickly.

The chart performance of the album was similarly exceptional. In the UK it debuted at number eight and the next week reached number one where it stayed for 23 consecutive weeks. Then it was knocked off the top for The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music is a musical by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It is based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers...

 on the week ending 18 November 1967. Eventually it spent more weeks at the top, including the competitive Christmas week. When the CD edition was released on 1 June 1987, it reached number 3. In June 1992, the CD was re-promoted to commemorate its 25th Anniversary, and charted at number six. In 2007, commemorating 40 years of its release, Sgt. Pepper's again re-entered the charts at number 47 in the UK. In all, the album spent a total of 201 weeks on the UK charts, and is the second biggest-selling album in UK chart history behind Queen
Queen (band)
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury , Brian May , John Deacon , and Roger Taylor...

's Greatest Hits. Sgt. Pepper's won the Grammy Award
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

 for Album of the Year
Grammy Award for Album of the Year
The Grammy Award for Album of the Year is the most prestigious award category at the Grammys. It has been awarded since 1959 and though it was originally presented to the artist alone, the award is now presented to the artist, the producer, the engineer and/or mixer and the mastering engineer...

, the first rock album to do so, and Best Contemporary Album
Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album
The Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album is an honor presented at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards, to recording artists for quality pop music albums...

 in 1968. In the US the album shipped 11 million units, with sales of around 32 million worldwide. The album won Best British Album at the first Brit Awards
Brit Awards
The Brit Awards are the British Phonographic Industry's annual pop music awards. The name was originally a shortened form of "British", "Britain" or "Britannia", but subsequently became a backronym for British Record Industry Trust...

 in 1977.

Legacy


Sgt. Pepper has been on many lists of the best rock albums, including Rolling Stone, Bill Shapiro, Alternative Melbourne, Rod Underhill and VH1. In 1987 Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

 named Sgt. Pepper the best album of the last twenty years (1967–1987). In 1997 Sgt. Pepper was named the number one greatest album of all time in a "Music of the Millennium" poll conducted by HMV
HMV
His Master's Voice is a trademark in the music business, and for many years was the name of a large record label. The name was coined in 1899 as the title of a painting of the dog Nipper listening to a wind-up gramophone...

, Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

, The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 and Classic FM
Classic FM (UK)
Classic FM, one of the United Kingdom's three Independent National Radio stations, broadcasts classical music in a popular and accessible style.-Overview:...

. In 1998 Q magazine
Q (magazine)
Q is a popular music magazine published monthly in the United Kingdom.Founders Mark Ellen and David Hepworth were dismayed by the music press of the time, which they felt was ignoring a generation of older music buyers who were buying CDs — then still a new technology...

 readers placed it at number seven, while in 2003 the TV network VH1
VH1
VH1 or Vh1 is an American cable television network based in New York City. Launched on January 1, 1985 in the old space of Turner Broadcasting's short-lived Cable Music Channel, the original purpose of the channel was to build on the success of MTV by playing music videos, but targeting a slightly...

 placed it at number 10. In 2003, the album was ranked number 1 on Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

 magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time
The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
"The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" is the title of a 2003 special issue of American magazine Rolling Stone, and a related book published in 2005.Related news articles:...

. In 2006, the album was chosen by Time magazine
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 as one of the 100 best albums of all time. In 2002, Q magazine
Q (magazine)
Q is a popular music magazine published monthly in the United Kingdom.Founders Mark Ellen and David Hepworth were dismayed by the music press of the time, which they felt was ignoring a generation of older music buyers who were buying CDs — then still a new technology...

 placed it at number 13 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. The album was named as one of Classic Rock magazine
Classic Rock (magazine)
Classic Rock is a British magazine dedicated to the radio format of classic rock, published by Future Publishing, who are also responsible for its "sister" publication Metal Hammer. Although firmly focusing on key bands from the 1960s through early 1990s, it also includes articles and reviews of...

s "50 Albums That Built Prog Rock". In 2003, it was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

 to be added to the National Recording Registry
National Recording Registry
The National Recording Registry is a list of sound recordings that "are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States." The registry was established by the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, which created the National Recording...

.

In July 2008 the "iconic bass drum skin" used on the front cover sold at auction for €670,000 (US$879,000).

In November 2009, the entire album was made available to download for The Beatles: Rock Band
The Beatles: Rock Band
The Beatles: Rock Band is a 2009 music video game developed by Harmonix Music Systems, published by MTV Games, and distributed by Electronic Arts. It is the third major console release in the Rock Band music video game series, in which players can simulate the playing of rock music by using...

 on the Xbox 360
Xbox 360
The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft and the successor to the Xbox. The Xbox 360 competes with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

, PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

 and Wii
Wii
The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii primarily competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others...

. The game disc already had the album's title track, "With a Little Help from My Friends", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "Getting Better" and "Good Morning Good Morning"; the download provides the remaining tracks from the album.

Tributes


Sgt. Pepper has inspired a number of tribute album
Tribute album
A tribute album is a recorded collection of cover versions of songs or instrumental compositions. Its concept may be either various artists making a tribute to a single artist, a single artist making a tribute to various artists, or a single artist making a tribute to another single artist.There...

s, such as NME's Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father
Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father
Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father is a 1988 multi-artist compilation of 1980s artists recording new versions of the songs on The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album was produced by the New Musical Express to raise money for Childline, the charity founded by the now-defunct BBC...

 in 1988. In 2008, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the album's release, rock pioneer and long-time associate of Starr, Todd Rundgren
Todd Rundgren
Todd Harry Rundgren is an American multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and record producer. Hailed in the early stage of his career as a new pop-wunderkind, supported by the certified gold solo double LP Something/Anything? in 1972, Todd Rundgren's career has produced a diverse range of recordings...

, headlined a live performance tour of Sgt. Pepper featuring an all star cast. In the show were former Wings
Wings (band)
Wings were a British-American rock group formed in 1971 by Paul McCartney, Denny Laine and Linda McCartney that remained active until 1981....

 member Denny Laine
Denny Laine
Denny Laine is an English songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, guitarist, and lead singer of The Moody Blues' 1965 debut album "The Magnificent Moodies"; and, later, best known for his role as co-founder of Wings...

, former American Idol Bo Bice
Bo Bice
Harold Elwin "Bo" Bice, Jr. is an American singer and musician who placed second to Carrie Underwood in the fourth season of American Idol. He has recorded three studio albums, including one on RCA Records...

, Foreigner
Foreigner (band)
Foreigner is a British-American rock band, originally formed in 1976 by veteran English musicians Mick Jones and ex-King Crimson member Ian McDonald along with American vocalist Lou Gramm...

 vocalist Lou Gramm
Lou Gramm
Lou Gramm is an American rock vocalist and songwriter best known for his role as the lead vocalist and co-writer of many of the songs for the rock band Foreigner. He also had a successful solo career...

, and Grammy Award winner Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross is an American singer-songwriter from San Antonio, Texas. His debut album earned him five Grammys. He is perhaps best known for his Top Ten hit songs, "Sailing", "Ride Like the Wind", and "Arthur's Theme ", the last of which he performed for the film Arthur starring Dudley Moore...

. The American rock band Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick is an American rock band from Rockford, Illinois, formed in 1973. The band consists of members Robin Zander , Rick Nielsen , Tom Petersson , and Bun E...

 performed the entire Sgt. Pepper album live in New York and released the live recording in both CD and DVD formats in September 2009, with all proceeds benefiting prostate cancer research. This recording was engineered by Geoff Emerick
Geoff Emerick
Geoffrey Emerick is an English recording studio audio engineer, who is best known for his work with The Beatles' albums Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles and Abbey Road...

, the original engineer for the Sgt. Pepper album. In April 2009, the reggae group Easy Star All-Stars
Easy Star All-Stars
Originally formed as a studio band for the label's earliest recordings, Easy Star All-Stars is a reggae collective with a rotating roster of musicians and singers founded by the co-founders of New York City-based Easy Star Records in 1997...

 released a dub reggae tribute cover of Sgt. Pepper, Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band
Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band
Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band is a dub reggae tribute to The Beatles' album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, by the Easy Star All-Stars. It was released on April 14, 2009. The album is lovingly dedicated to Lucy Rice, a friend of the band, and the mother of one of the album engineers,...

.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (film)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a 1978 American musical film. Its soundtrack, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, features new versions of songs originally written and performed by The Beatles. The film draws primarily from two of their albums, 1967's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club...

, a feature film based on the album and other Beatles songs, was released in 1978.

Awards


Grammy Awards
Nominated for seven Grammy
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

s in 1968, it would win four, including Album of the Year, the first rock album to receive this honour.
Year Winner Award
1968 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Album of the Year
Grammy Award for Album of the Year
The Grammy Award for Album of the Year is the most prestigious award category at the Grammys. It has been awarded since 1959 and though it was originally presented to the artist alone, the award is now presented to the artist, the producer, the engineer and/or mixer and the mastering engineer...

1968 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts
1968 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical
Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
The Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical has been awarded since 1959. The award had several minor name changes:*In 1959 the award was known as Best Engineered Record - Non-Classical...

1968 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Contemporary Album
Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album
The Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album is an honor presented at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards, to recording artists for quality pop music albums...



Grammy Award nominations
Year Nominee Award
1968 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Group Vocal Performance
Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group
The Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group was awarded from 1961 to 1968. In its first year, the award specified that a "vocal group" contains two to six artists. This award was presented alongside the award for Best Performance by a Chorus...

1968 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Contemporary Vocal Group
Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
The Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals was awarded between 1966 and 2011...

1968 "A Day in the Life" Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
The Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist has been awarded since 1963. The award is presented to the arranger of the music.There have been several minor changes to the name of the award:...


Planned television film


On 10 February 1967, during the orchestral recording sessions for "A Day in the Life", six cameramen filmed the chaotic events with the purpose of using the footage for a planned but unfinished Sgt. Pepper television special. The TV special was to have been written by Ian Dallas and directed by Keith Green. The shooting schedule included all the songs from the album set to music video style scenes: for example, "Within You Without You" scenes would have been set throughout offices, factories and elevators. There were even production numbers planned involving "meter maids" and "rockers
Rocker (subculture)
Rockers, leather boys or ton-up boys are a biker subculture that originated in the United Kingdom during the 1950s. It was mainly centered around British cafe racer motorcycles and rock and roll music....

". Although production was cancelled, the "A Day in the Life" footage was edited down with stock footage into a finished clip. This clip was not released to the public until the Lennon documentary Imagine: John Lennon
Imagine: John Lennon
Imagine: John Lennon is a soundtrack album of popular music composed by John Lennon for the 1988 documentary film, Imagine: John Lennon...

 was released in 1988. A more complete version was later aired in The Beatles Anthology documentary. In 1992, an hour-long feature produced by London Weekend Television
London Weekend Television
London Weekend Television was the name of the ITV network franchise holder for Greater London and the Home Counties including south Suffolk, middle and east Hampshire, Oxfordshire, south Bedfordshire, south Northamptonshire, parts of Herefordshire & Worcestershire, Warwickshire, east Dorset and...

 called The Making of Sgt. Pepper was aired, and featured George Martin, the three surviving Beatles and Neil Aspinall discussing the album and the songs, with George Martin running through the tapes, similar in fashion to VH1's Classic Albums
Classic Albums
Classic Albums is a documentary series about pop and rock albums that are considered the best or most distinctive of a well-known band or musician or that exemplify a stage in the history of music.-Format:...

 documentaries.

Track listing


Sgt. Pepper was the first Beatles album to be released with identical track listings in the UK and US. The American release did not originally contain the side two runout groove and inner groove sound effects that were restored for the worldwide CD issue, released on 1 June 1987.
Track list information according to Graham Calkin, Mark Lewisohn
Mark Lewisohn
Mark Lewisohn is an English author and historian, regarded as the world's leading authority on the English rock band The Beatles.-The Beatles and related subjects:...

 and Ian MacDonald
Ian MacDonald
Ian MacCormick was a British music critic and author, best known for Revolution in the Head, his forensic history of The Beatles which borrowed techniques from art historians, and The New Shostakovich, a controversial study of the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich...

.

Personnel


According to Mark Lewisohn and Alan W. Pollack

The Beatles
  • John Lennon
    John Lennon
    John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

     – lead
    Lead vocalist
    The lead vocalist is the member of a band who sings the main vocal portions of a song. They may also play one or more instruments. Lead vocalists are sometimes referred to as the frontman or frontwoman, and as such, are usually considered to be the "leader" of the groups they perform in, often the...

    , harmony
    Vocal harmony
    Vocal harmony is a style of vocal music in which a consonant note or notes are sung at the same time as a main melody in a predominantly homophonic texture. Vocal harmonies are used in many subgenres of European art music, including Classical choral music and opera and in the popular styles from...

     and backing vocals
    Backing vocalist
    A backing vocalist or backing singer is a singer who provides vocal harmony with the lead vocalist or other backing vocalists...

    , lead
    Lead guitar
    Lead guitar is a guitar part which plays melody lines, instrumental fill passages, guitar solos, and occasionally, some riffs within a song structure...

    , rhythm
    Rhythm guitar
    Rhythm guitar is a technique and rôle that performs a combination of two functions: to provide all or part of the rhythmic pulse in conjunction with singers or other instruments; and to provide all or part of the harmony, ie. the chords, where a chord is a group of notes played together...

     and acoustic guitar
    Acoustic guitar
    An acoustic guitar is a guitar that uses only an acoustic sound board. The air in this cavity resonates with the vibrational modes of the string and at low frequencies, which depend on the size of the box, the chamber acts like a Helmholtz resonator, increasing or decreasing the volume of the sound...

    s, Hammond organ
    Hammond organ
    The Hammond organ is an electric organ invented by Laurens Hammond in 1934 and manufactured by the Hammond Organ Company. While the Hammond organ was originally sold to churches as a lower-cost alternative to the wind-driven pipe organ, in the 1960s and 1970s it became a standard keyboard...

    , piano
    Piano
    The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

    , handclaps
    Clapping
    A clap is the sound made by striking together two flat surfaces, as in the body parts of humans or animals. Humans clap with the palms of their hands, often in a constant drone to express appreciation or approval , but also in rhythm to match sounds in music and dance...

    , harmonica
    Harmonica
    The harmonica, also called harp, French harp, blues harp, and mouth organ, is a free reed wind instrument used primarily in blues and American folk music, jazz, country, and rock and roll. It is played by blowing air into it or drawing air out by placing lips over individual holes or multiple holes...

    , tape loops, sound effect
    Sound effect
    For the album by The Jam, see Sound Affects.Sound effects or audio effects are artificially created or enhanced sounds, or sound processes used to emphasize artistic or other content of films, television shows, live performance, animation, video games, music, or other media...

    s, kazoo
    Kazoo
    The kazoo is a wind instrument which adds a "buzzing" timbral quality to a player's voice when the player vocalizes into it. The kazoo is a type of mirliton, which is a membranophone, a device which modifies the sound of a person's voice by way of a vibrating membrane."Kazoo" was the name given by...

    , tambourine
    Tambourine
    The tambourine or marine is a musical instrument of the percussion family consisting of a frame, often of wood or plastic, with pairs of small metal jingles, called "zils". Classically the term tambourine denotes an instrument with a drumhead, though some variants may not have a head at all....

    , maracas
    Maracás
    Maracás is a town and municipality in the state of Bahia in the North-East region of Brazil.-References:...

    , comb and paper (on "Lovely Rita")
  • Paul McCartney
    Paul McCartney
    Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. Formerly of The Beatles and Wings , McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100...

     – lead, harmony and backing vocals, lead, acoustic and bass guitar
    Bass guitar
    The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

    s, piano, Hammond organ, handclaps, vocalisations, tape loops, sound effects, kazoo, comb and paper (on "Lovely Rita")
  • George Harrison
    George Harrison
    George Harrison, MBE was an English musician, guitarist, singer-songwriter, actor and film producer who achieved international fame as lead guitarist of The Beatles. Often referred to as "the quiet Beatle", Harrison became over time an admirer of Indian mysticism, and introduced it to the other...

     – lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, sitar
    Sitar
    The 'Tablaman' is a plucked stringed instrument predominantly used in Hindustani classical music, where it has been ubiquitous since the Middle Ages...

    , lead vocals on "Within You Without You", harmony and backing vocals, tambura
    Tambura
    The tambura, tanpura, or tambora is a long-necked plucked lute . The body shape of the tambura somewhat resembles that of the sitar, but it has no frets – only the open strings are played to accompany other musicians...

    , harmonica, kazoo, handclaps, maracas, comb and paper (on "Lovely Rita")
  • Ringo Starr
    Ringo Starr
    Richard Starkey, MBE better known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an English musician and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for The Beatles. When the band formed in 1960, Starr was a member of another Liverpool band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. He became The Beatles' drummer in...

     – drums
    Drum kit
    A drum kit is a collection of drums, cymbals and often other percussion instruments, such as cowbells, wood blocks, triangles, chimes, or tambourines, arranged for convenient playing by a single person ....

    , percussion
    Percussion instrument
    A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

    , congas, tambourine, maracas, handclaps, tubular bell
    Tubular bell
    Tubular bells are musical instruments in the percussion family. Each bell is a metal tube, 30–38 mm in diameter, tuned by altering its length. Its standard range is from C4-F5, though many professional instruments reach G5 . Tubular bells are often replaced by studio chimes, which are a smaller...

    s, lead vocals on "With a Little Help from My Friends", harmonica, kazoo, final piano E chord


Additional musicians and production
  • Neil Aspinall
    Neil Aspinall
    Neil Stanley Aspinall was a British music industry executive. A school friend of Paul McCartney and George Harrison, he went on to head The Beatles' company Apple Corps....

     – tambura and harmonica
  • Geoff Emerick
    Geoff Emerick
    Geoffrey Emerick is an English recording studio audio engineer, who is best known for his work with The Beatles' albums Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles and Abbey Road...

     – recording
    Recording
    Recording is the process of capturing data or translating information to a recording format stored on some storage medium, which is often referred to as a record or, if an auditory medium, a recording....

     and mixing
    Audio mixing (recorded music)
    In audio recording, audio mixing is the process by which multiple recorded sounds are combined into one or more channels, most commonly two-channel stereo. In the process, the source signals' level, frequency content, dynamics, and panoramic position are manipulated and effects such as reverb may...

     engineer
    Audio engineering
    An audio engineer, also called audio technician, audio technologist or sound technician, is a specialist in a skilled trade that deals with the use of machinery and equipment for the recording, mixing and reproduction of sounds. The field draws on many artistic and vocational areas, including...

    ; tape loops and sound effects
  • Mal Evans
    Mal Evans
    Malcolm Frederick 'Mal' Evans was best known as the road manager, assistant, and a friend of The Beatles: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr....

     – counting, alarm clock
    Alarm clock
    An alarm clock is a clock that is designed to make a loud sound at a specific time. The primary use of these clocks is to awaken people from their night's sleep or short naps; they are sometimes used for other reminders as well. To stop the sound, a button or handle on the clock is pressed; but...

     and final piano E chord
  • George Martin
    George Martin
    Sir George Henry Martin CBE is an English record producer, arranger, composer and musician. He is sometimes referred to as "the Fifth Beatle"— a title that he often describes as "nonsense," but the fact remains that he served as producer on all but one of The Beatles' original albums...

     – producer
    Record producer
    A record producer is an individual working within the music industry, whose job is to oversee and manage the recording of an artist's music...

     and mixer
    Audio mixing (recorded music)
    In audio recording, audio mixing is the process by which multiple recorded sounds are combined into one or more channels, most commonly two-channel stereo. In the process, the source signals' level, frequency content, dynamics, and panoramic position are manipulated and effects such as reverb may...

    ; tape loops and sound effects; harpsichord
    Harpsichord
    A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed.In the narrow sense, "harpsichord" designates only the large wing-shaped instruments in which the strings are perpendicular to the keyboard...

     on "Fixing a Hole", harmonium, Lowry organ and glockenspiel on "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" Hammond organ on "With a Little Help from My Friends", piano on "Getting Better" and the solo on "Lovely Rita", final harmonium chord
  • Session musicians – four French horns on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", (Neill Sanders
    Neill Sanders
    Neill Sanders was a British horn player, principal hornist of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Melos Ensemble for 29 years. He was a professor in Kalamazoo, Michigan and founded a chamber ensemble and a festival there.-Biography:Neill Sanders...

    , James W. Buck, John Burden, Tony Randall), arranged and conducted by Martin and McCartney; string
    String instrument
    A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

     section and harp
    Harp
    The harp is a multi-stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicularly to the soundboard. Organologically, it is in the general category of chordophones and has its own sub category . All harps have a neck, resonator and strings...

     on "She's Leaving Home", arranged
    Arrangement
    The American Federation of Musicians defines arranging as "the art of preparing and adapting an already written composition for presentation in other than its original form. An arrangement may include reharmonization, paraphrasing, and/or development of a composition, so that it fully represents...

     by Mike Leander
    Mike Leander
    Michael George Farr professionally known as Mike Leander was an arranger and record producer for Decca Records in the 1960s and Bell Records in the 1970s and worked with such artists as Marianne Faithfull, Billy Fury, Marc Bolan, Joe Cocker, The Small Faces, Van Morrison, Alan Price, Peter...

     and conducted
    Conducting
    Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

     by Martin; harmonium, tabla
    Tabla
    The tabla is a popular Indian percussion instrument used in Hindustani classical music and in popular and devotional music of the Indian subcontinent. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres...

    , sitar, dilruba, eight violin
    Violin
    The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

    s and four cello
    Cello
    The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

    s on "Within You, Without You", arranged and conducted by Harrison and Martin; clarinet
    Clarinet
    The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

     trio on "When I'm Sixty Four", as arranged and conducted by Martin and McCartney; saxophone
    Saxophone
    The saxophone is a conical-bore transposing musical instrument that is a member of the woodwind family. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1846...

     sextet on "Good Morning Good Morning", arranged and conducted by Martin and Lennon; and forty-piece orchestra
    Orchestra
    An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

     (strings, brass
    Brass instrument
    A brass instrument is a musical instrument whose sound is produced by sympathetic vibration of air in a tubular resonator in sympathy with the vibration of the player's lips...

    , woodwinds and percussion) on "A Day in the Life", arranged by Martin, Lennon and McCartney, conducted by Martin and McCartney

Charts and certificates


Charts
Chart (1967) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart
ARIA Charts
The ARIA charts are the main Australian music sales charts, issued weekly by the Australian Recording Industry Association. The charts are a record of the highest selling singles and albums in various genres in Australia. ARIA commenced compiling its own charts in-house from the week ending 26 June...

1
Norwegian Albums Chart
IFPI
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is the organisation that represents the interests of the recording industry worldwide. It is a not-for-profit members' organisation registered in Switzerland...

1
UK Albums Chart
UK Albums Chart
The UK Albums Chart is a list of albums ranked by physical and digital sales in the United Kingdom. It is compiled every week by The Official Charts Company and broadcast on a Sunday on BBC Radio 1 , and published in Music Week magazine and on the OCC website .To qualify for the UK albums chart...

1
US Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

1
Chart (2009) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart
ARIA Charts
The ARIA charts are the main Australian music sales charts, issued weekly by the Australian Recording Industry Association. The charts are a record of the highest selling singles and albums in various genres in Australia. ARIA commenced compiling its own charts in-house from the week ending 26 June...

16
Brazilian Albums Chart 20
Finnish Albums Chart
IFPI
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is the organisation that represents the interests of the recording industry worldwide. It is a not-for-profit members' organisation registered in Switzerland...

9
Italian Albums Chart
Federation of the Italian Music Industry
The Federation of the Italian Music Industry is an umbrella organization that keeps track of virtually all aspects of the music recording industry in Italy....

9
Mexican Albums Chart
AMPROFON
Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas is a non-profit organization integrated by multinational and national record companies in Mexico. Established on April 3, 1963, it groups phonographic companies that represent more than 70 percent of the market in Mexico...

13
Norwegian Albums Chart
IFPI
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is the organisation that represents the interests of the recording industry worldwide. It is a not-for-profit members' organisation registered in Switzerland...

31
Portuguese Albums Chart
IFPI
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is the organisation that represents the interests of the recording industry worldwide. It is a not-for-profit members' organisation registered in Switzerland...

4
Spanish Albums Chart
PROMUSICAE
Spanish Music Producers is a trade group representing the Spanish recording industry...

22
New Zealand Albums Chart
Recording Industry Association of New Zealand
The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand is a non-profit trade association of record producers, distributors and recording artists who sell music in New Zealand...

12
UK Albums Chart
UK Albums Chart
The UK Albums Chart is a list of albums ranked by physical and digital sales in the United Kingdom. It is compiled every week by The Official Charts Company and broadcast on a Sunday on BBC Radio 1 , and published in Music Week magazine and on the OCC website .To qualify for the UK albums chart...

5
US Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

114

Certifications
The album entered the UK Albums Chart
UK Albums Chart
The UK Albums Chart is a list of albums ranked by physical and digital sales in the United Kingdom. It is compiled every week by The Official Charts Company and broadcast on a Sunday on BBC Radio 1 , and published in Music Week magazine and on the OCC website .To qualify for the UK albums chart...

 on 3 June 1967 and remained there for a total of 201 weeks. In the US the album stayed in the Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

 chart for 175 weeks. It remained at number one in the US for a total of 15 straight weeks, longer than any other Beatles album released in America during the sixties.

See also


External links

  • It Was 40 Years Ago Today..., an April 2007 Parade
    Parade (magazine)
    Parade is an American nationwide Sunday newspaper magazine, distributed in more than 500 newspapers in the United States. It was founded in 1941 and is owned by Advance Publications. The most widely read magazine in the U.S., Parade has a circulation of 32.2 million and a readership of nearly 70...

     magazine article
  • Recording data and notes on mono/stereo mixes and remixes from the English version of the Beatles Fanclub of Norway
  • 40th Anniversary retrospective from The Age
    The Age
    The Age is a daily broadsheet newspaper, which has been published in Melbourne, Australia since 1854. Owned and published by Fairfax Media, The Age primarily serves Victoria, but is also available for purchase in Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and border regions of South Australia and...