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Saturday, April 22, 1967

The Beatles play “Sgt. Pepper” at Mama Cass’s flat in Chelsea

Last updated on May 11, 2024


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On April 21, 1967, The Beatles recorded the sounds that filled the run-out groove of the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” LP.

After leaving the EMI Studios at 1:30 am the next morning, they paid a visit to Mama Cass of the Mamas and the Papas in Chelsa, bringing an acetate of “Sgt Pepper” that they played with the windows opened for the benefit of the neighbourhood.


There’s a wonderful evocative story about how The Beatles finishes Pepper and took the just-completed tapes over to Mama Cass’ flat in Chelsea, plating the album at the top volume just as dawn was breaking so that the entire neighborhood woke up to it.

It’s a dim recollection but I think that’s true, yea. The weekend we finished the album is bit of a blur. I just remember that we all felt so exhilarated. Pepper had taken six months to make – longer than any other album. When we first heard it back, we knew we’d pulled it off. We’d made something a little bit special something that would blow people’s minds. It was mind-blowing for us. To us, it wasn’t so much that it was a great album musically. It was more that it was an anthem for our generation. It was an album that marked the times and summed up the times. As it turned out., Pepper led the times as much as it marked the times. To get the grips with it, you had to spend time with it. It was influential in lots of ways, and not just musically. Suddenly, music writers had to find new ways to respond because, suddenly they weren’t dealing with Perry Como or whatever.

Paul McCartney – Interview with MOJO, July 2004

Cass’s love affair with England had only been heightened by her trip to London the previous year, and when Stephen Sanders, her old friend from the Shadows back in Washington, D.C., had moved to London at the end of 1966, it seemed the perfect opportunity to set up an English base of her own. […] Sanders swiftly found them a small house in fashionable Chelsea on Luna Street, a long-since demolished narrow line of terraces that wound from the top end of the King’s Road down to the Thames. The house, which was decorated in what Sanders remembers as “low hippiedom” soon became, just like Cass’s Los Angeles home, a regular stop on the social circuit for London’s in crowd. Visitors included John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Brian Jones, Linda Eastman — the future Linda McCartney — scenester and friend of the Stones Stash de Rola — aka Prince Stanislas Klossowski de Rola — filmmaker and director of Performance Donald Cammell, and Beatles aide Neil Aspinall.

From “Dream a little dream of me – The life of Cass Elliot” by Eddi Fiegel

It was six in the morning, and we went down the King’s Road in cars to see Cass Elliott of the Mamas and the Papas. We had the album with us, finished at last. She had a great sound system. Her flat was in a block of houses, back to back, really close together, and we put the system on a window ledge and the music blasted through the neighbourhood. “We’re Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…” It sounded great. All the windows around us opened and people leaned out, wondering. It was obvious who it was on the record. Nobody complained. A lovely spring morning. People were smiling and giving us the thumbs up. John and Mal went for a bus ride (something we never usually did) and stayed on the bus until it turned round and came back. John had a new song in his head. I don’t know which one, but he said it was OK.

Neil Aspinall

Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years

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We owe a lot to Barry Miles for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles during the Beatles years!

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