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50 Facts About The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper Album

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Think you know everything about the greatest album ever made? Think again. Here are 50 facts you don’t know about The Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

• After the official release of 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 No.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 civilisation”.

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 Encyclopaedia 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 Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band reissue is out now. Scroll down to read what’s in each version, along with the full tracklisting for the super deluxe box set, and order the reissue here.

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The various versions of the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band reissue are:

Standard CD:
The new 2017 stereo mix, complete with the original UK album’s “edit for LP end” run-out groove.

Deluxe 2CD (and digital edition):
The new stereo album mix on Disc One, plus a second CD of 18 tracks, including previously unreleased complete takes of the album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo and sequenced in the same order as the album.

Disc Two also includes a new stereo mix and a previously unreleased instrumental take of ‘Penny Lane’, plus the 2015 stereo mix and two previously unreleased complete takes of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.

Deluxe 2LP:
The new stereo album mix on Disc One and previously unreleased complete takes of the album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo and sequenced in the same order as the album, on Disc Two.

Super Deluxe 4CD+DVD+Blu-ray:
CD1 features the new 2017 stereo album mix.

CDs 2 and 3 include 33 additional recordings from the studio sessions, most of which are previously unreleased and have been mixed for the first time from the four-track session tapes, sequenced in chronological order of their recording dates, plus the new 2017 stereo mix of ‘Penny Lane’ and the 2015 stereo mix of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.

CD4 features a direct transfer of the album’s original mono mix, plus the ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’ singles, along with the US promo mono mix of ‘Penny Lane’ and previously unreleased early mono mixes of ‘She’s Leaving Home’, ‘A Day If The Life’ and the once-thought-lost early mono mix of ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’.

The DVD and Blu-ray discs both include new 5.1 surround sound audio mixes of the album and ‘Penny Lane’ by Giles Martin and Sam Okell, plus their 2015 5.1 surround sound mix of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, along with high-resolution audio mixes of the album, ‘Penny Lane’ and the 2015 stereo mix of ‘Strawberry Field Forever’.

Additionally, these discs will include 4K restored promo clips for ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘A Day In The Life’, plus The Making Of Sgt Pepper, a restored, previously unreleased documentary film originally broadcast in 1992.

The full tracklist for the super deluxe edition box set is:

CD1: St Pepper’s 2017 stereo mix
‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’
‘With A Little Help From My Friends’
‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’
‘Getting Better’
‘Fixing A Hole’
‘She’s Leaving Home’
‘Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!’
‘Within You Without You’
‘When I’m Sixty-Four’
‘Lovely Rita’
‘Good Morning Good Morning’
‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)’
‘A Day In The Life’

CD2: Outtakes
‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ [Take 1]
‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ [Take 4]
‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ [Take 7]
‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ [Take 26]
‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ [2015 stereo mix]
‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ [Take 2]
‘Penny Lane’ [Take 6: instrumental]
‘Penny Lane’ [Vocal overdubs and speech]
‘Penny Lane’ [2017 stereo mix]
‘A Day In The Life’ [Take 1]
‘A Day In The Life’ [Take 2]
‘A Day In The Life’ [Orchestra overdub]
‘A Day In The Life (Hummed Last Chord)’ [Takes 8, 9, 10 and 11]
‘A Day In The Life (The Last Chord)’
‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ [Take 1: instrumental]
‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ [Take 9 and speech]
‘Good Morning Good Morning’ [Take 1: instrumental, breakdown]
‘Good Morning Good Morning’ [Take 8]

CD3: Outtakes
‘Fixing A Hole’ [Take 1]
‘Fixing A Hole’ [Speech and Take 3]
‘Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!’ [Speech from before Take 1; Take 4 and speech at end]
‘Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!’ [Take 7]
‘Lovely Rita’ [Speech and Take 9]
‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ [Take 1 and speech at the end]
‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ [Speech, false start and Take 5]
‘Getting Better’ [Take 1: instrumental and speech at the end]
‘Getting Better’ [Take 12]
‘Within You Without You’ [Take 1: Indian Instruments Only]
‘Within You Without You’ [George coaching the musicians]
‘She’s Leaving Home’ [Take 1: instrumental]
‘She’s Leaving Home’ [Take 6: ynstrumental]
‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ [Take 1: false start; Take 2: instrumental]
‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)’ [Speech and Take 8]

CD4: Sgt Pepper’s and bonus tracks in mono
Tracks 1-13: 2017 direct transfer of Sgt Pepper’s original mono mix)
‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ [Original mono mix]
‘Penny Lane’ [Original mono mix]
‘A Day In The Life’ [Unreleased first mono mix]
‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ [Unreleased mono mix: No.11]
‘She’s Leaving Home’ [Unreleased first mono mix]
‘Penny Lane’ [Capitol Records US promo single: mono mix]

DVD and Blu-ray:
Audio Features (both discs):
New 5.1 surround sound audio mixes of Sgt Pepper’s and ‘Penny Lane’, plus 2015 5.1 surround sound mix of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ (Blu-ray: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby True HD 5.1; DVD: DTS Dolby Digital 5.1)

High-resolution audio versions of 2017 Sgt Pepper’s stereo mix and 2017 ‘Penny Lane’ stereo mix, plus 2015 ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ hi-res stereo mix (Blu-ray: LPCM Stereo 96KHz/24bit; DVD: LPCM Stereo)

Video Features (both discs):
The Making Of Sgt Pepper [restored 1992 documentary film, previously unreleased]

Promotional films: ‘A Day In The Life’; ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, ‘Penny Lane’ [4K restored]

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Tim Barton

    February 4, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Very telling how much longer the mono mixes took than the stereo mixes. While both sound great, because the album is so good, I still believe the mono version is definitive.

    An interesting fact list, anyway!

    • uDiscover

      February 5, 2015 at 11:39 pm

      Thanks Tim, we agree!

    • Rock Singer

      May 19, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      The only problem with the mono version of the LP was that you don’t get to hear the panning from left to right. I think it the mono sounds flat but the stereo version puts you in the center of the action.

  2. Stewart

    February 4, 2015 at 11:58 am

    The title on the original vinyl spine was the opposite way round to all other albums

    • uDiscover

      February 5, 2015 at 11:39 pm

      Stewart, that is great trivia!

    • A M

      January 10, 2018 at 6:31 am

      There’s a reason the name was upside down on the spine. And … The Fool artwork was a blood trail, stylized.

  3. Aldoux

    February 15, 2015 at 5:08 am

    George Harrison sang one lead too: Within’ You Without You…

  4. Steve Fruitman

    April 30, 2015 at 2:29 am

    Paul McCartney’s left arm, just below the shoulder, reveals an OPP Badge (Ontario Provincial Police). Where did he get that from?

  5. Steve Fruitman

    June 2, 2015 at 4:57 am

    Point 51? The patch on Paul’s left shoulder is an Ontario Provincial Police badge. Wonder where he got that from!

    • A M

      January 10, 2018 at 6:32 am

      Point: it was doctored to say OPD. And he wears the Toronto Argonauts football famous number “22” and stripes, in a photo with Jane Asher, 1967.

  6. Jorge M. Gonzalez

    June 19, 2015 at 3:38 am

    According to Paul McCartney (Life, November 7, 1969)
    “I picked up that OPD badge in Canada. It was a police badge. Perhaps it means Ontario Police Department or something.”
    The patch actually reads O.P.P. not O.P.D. but the bottom of the “P” is not visible in the Album Cover because it is bent.

    • A M

      January 10, 2018 at 6:29 am

      Well, it’s obviously not just “bent”. It’s doctored to be OPD from OPP. And there’s much more.

  7. David Sutton

    May 4, 2016 at 8:17 am

    I thought Sgt. Pepper’s LHCB is over-rated. The title song is weak. It’s really not played too much–is it ? (tracks on the album). I truly believe Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is an LSD song. I even though Pet Sounds (the comparison Beach Boy album) as over-rated. Having said this, I am glad if I like two songs on any album. I didn’t care for the cover much–it looked hokey to me. It doesn’t mean I don’t like the Beatles. I admire them much .

    • A M

      January 10, 2018 at 6:34 am

      Agreed. Except for She’s Leaving Home, posthumous Paul work finished the year before really, and A Day In The Life, it’s a mish-mash album.

  8. Gary

    June 17, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    I remember one “Paul is dead” theory that went – OPD stands for Officially Pronounced Dead. Ah memories.

    • A M

      January 10, 2018 at 6:36 am

      That’s correct, and it’s a bad memory they carried to their assassination graves. Yes, George was assassinated too, but it took a while for the effects to kill him. His body healed from the 40 stab wounds and kept going, giving him cancer, metastastized. It wasn’t “from” smoking, though he’d had some before.

  9. Gary

    June 17, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    David Sutton – What is LHCB?

  10. Kenny

    February 3, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    50th Anniversary in June. Mega deluxe vinyl, blu-ray with 5.1 dts MA, PCM, mono & stereo and 2017 mixes

  11. Antonio

    February 5, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    I remember playing “A day in the Life” backwards, in order to listen to Paul is Dead Theory!

    • A M

      January 10, 2018 at 7:36 am

      Good. You should look into that again.

  12. Mark

    March 1, 2017 at 5:14 am

    @ Gary – LHCB (Lonely Hearts Club Band)

  13. Zoso

    March 1, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Adolph Hitler was one cutout they had for the cover, but it was rejected for the photo shoot.

  14. Samvid Poon

    April 8, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    SPLHCB is always on the cutting edge and ahead of it’s time, just imagine what our world will coming to if this album was never made?
    Simple NOTHING!

  15. Alex

    April 10, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    The budget line Pepper’s suits were never sold in the Apple boutique and this has been confirmed to my by an ex employee

  16. Ron Lapworth

    April 12, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Mr. Kite was never banned by the BBC.

  17. Andrew Madden

    June 2, 2017 at 12:30 am

    George Martin did not play the Harpsichord. He played a piano and sped up the tape.

    • A M

      January 10, 2018 at 6:25 am

      True.

  18. A M

    January 10, 2018 at 6:24 am

    You did a good list, but you missed the main one. Paul himself was dead. This was a cover-up for very good reasons.

  19. A M

    January 10, 2018 at 7:35 am

    Please fix the harpsichord gaffe. As Andrew Madden points out in comments, it was, famously, a piano, doctored (changed, sped up) to sound like an harpsichord, that Sir George Martin played. Thanks.

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