Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Timeline More from year 1967
UK release date:
Jun 01, 1967

About

From The Beatles:

Released on 1st June, 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the band’s eighth album became the soundtrack to the “summer of love” but its appeal is timeless.

Work had begun on the recording in late 1966 and at one stage it was thought that both Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever would also be included but when these were released as a single in February, that idea was abandoned.

Revolver had only just been completed in time prior to the band flying off on yet another tour. Now that touring was behind them more time could be spent writing and recording. Between November 1966 and April, 1967, they spent over 400 hours in the studio – a far cry from the Please Please Me days.

Of course the music was more complex and now that touring was over, there was no need to consider what could be reproduced in front of a live audience.

In the studio The Beatles encouraged George Martin to achieve “the impossible” and in turn, George and the engineers would find innovative ways of realising this despite still using only four-track equipment.

For the fourth time in the UK, no single was lifted from the album and this also held true in the US. The album was also not banded, encouraging the listener to play it all the way through, pausing only to turn the disc over.

Not only was the music different, exciting and colourful so too was the way it was delivered. The glossy double wallet featured the guys in their Pepper uniforms surrounded by images of people they either admired or were interested in whilst on the back of the sleeve there were the lyrics to all the songs. Inside each side of the wallet were other surprises, a card featuring various cut-outs and in the initial pressings at least, the paper inner sleeve bore a psychedelic design.

In the Britain the album hit number #1 and between June, 1967 and February, 1968 spent a total of 27 weeks at the top during an initial chart run of 148 weeks. All of this, in spite of a BBC ban on “A Day In The Life”.

In the US, the album was released in exactly same way as in Britain… well almost. The high-pitched tone and the garbled speech embedded in the UK run-out groove did not appear on the American release. The album enjoyed a fifteen week stay at the top of the US Top 200 albums during its initial chart run of 88 weeks.


Having given up touring after Candlestick Park, we decided we would try to make our next record something special. As I was flying back from a visit to America [sic – Kenya], Mal Evans, our big friendly bear of a roadie and I were having an inflight meal.

He asked me to pass the salt and pepper and I misheard it as Sergeant Pepper. This set off a train of thought that ended up in me writing a song for a fictitious band, who would be called Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and would be the alter egos of The Beatles. When I got back, I suggested this idea to the other guys. This would free us from our normal Beatles thinking and allow us to be more adventurous in our approach to our next recording. I suggested that we all think of heroes that the members of Sgt. Pepper’s Band might have, which would help us fill in their imaginary background story. I did a couple of sketches of how the band might look and, as we made the album, we experienced a sense of freedom that was quite liberating. We pushed boundaries and tried at every turn to come up with new ideas that we hoped would surprise people who would eventually hear the record.

When we were done, I took my sketches and our ideas to a friend of mine, Robert Fraser, a London gallery owner who represented a number of artists. He suggested we take the idea to Peter Blake, and John and I had discussions with Peter about the design of the album cover. Peter and his then wife Jann Haworth had some interesting additional ideas and we all had an exciting time putting the whole package together.

It’s crazy to think that, 50 years later, we are looking back on this project with such fondness and a little bit of amazement at how four guys, a great producer and his engineers could make what. turned out to be such a lasting piece of art.

Paul McCartney – From the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” box set, 2017

We were fed up with being the Beatles. We really hated that fucking four little mop-top approach. We were not boys, we were men … and thought of ourselves as artists rather than just performers.

Paul McCartney

On Sgt Pepper, we had more instruments and instrumentation than we have ever had, and more orchestral stuff than we have ever used before.

Paul McCartney – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman, 2008

We didn’t really shove the LP full of pot and drugs but, I mean, there was an effect. We were more consciously trying to keep it out. You wouldn’t say, “I had some acid, baby, so groovy,” but there was a feeling that something had happened between Revolver and Sgt. Pepper.

John Lennon, 1968

Music papers started to slag us off … because [Sgt. Pepper] took five months to record, and I remember the great glee seeing in one of the papers how the Beatles have dried up … and I was sitting rubbing my hands, saying “You just wait.”

Paul McCartney

Listening to each stage of their recording, once they’ve done the first couple of tracks, it’s often hard to see what they’re still looking for, it sounds so complete. Often the final complicated, well-layered version seems to have drowned the initial simple melody. But they know it’s not right, even if they can’t put it into words. Their dedication is impressive, gnawing away at the same song for stretches of ten hours each.

Hunter Davies, 1968

[Because of Sgt. Pepper] people then started thinking that you could spend a year making an album and they began to consider an album as a sound composition and not just a musical composition. The idea was gradually forming of a record being a performance in its own right and not just a reproduction of a live performance.

– Producer and EMI engineer Alan Parsons

I made a suggestion. I said, ‘We need to get away from ourselves – how about if we just become sort of an alter ego band?’ 

Paul McCartney – From Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band | The Beatles

Didn’t Pepper coincide with your cocaine period?

That’s true yeah. I did coke for about a year around that time. Coke and maybe some grass to balance it out. I was never completely crazy with cocaine. At first it seemed, OK, like anything that’s new and stimulating. When you start working your way through it, you start thinking, ‘’mmm, this is not so cool an idea,’’ especially when you start getting those come-downs. But, around the time of Pepper, we were all into one thing or another. We would sneak stuff into the studio, and we had to hide it from George Martin. George, bless him, was such a gentleman, so we´d never do anything like that in front of him. It was only later that we told him that some of the later albums had been drug-influenced. He had no idea. […]

Paul McCartney – Interview with MOJO, July 2004

From Melody Maker – June 3, 1967 – UK ad for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” – Designed by illustrator David Christian
From gottahaverockandroll.com – “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” Capitol Records Advertisement from Teen Set Magazine

Last updated on April 1, 2024

Related bootlegs


Sgt. Pepper's Sessions

By The Beatles • Unofficial album

Related films


Penny Lane

1967 • For The Beatles • Directed by Peter Goldmann


Strawberry Fields Forever

1967 • For The Beatles • Directed by Peter Goldmann



Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

1990 • For Paul McCartney


The Making of Sgt. Pepper

1992 • For Various Artists • Directed by Alan Benson


A Day In The Life

2015 • For The Beatles

Related sessions


Recording "Strawberry Fields Forever" #1

Nov 24, 1966 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane


Recording "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

Nov 24, 1966 - Apr 20, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording "Strawberry Fields Forever" #2

Nov 28, 1966 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane


Recording "Strawberry Fields Forever" #3

Nov 29, 1966 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane




Recording "Strawberry Fields Forever" #5

Dec 09, 1966 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane


Recording "Strawberry Fields Forever" #6

Dec 15, 1966 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane



Mixing "Strawberry Fields Forever"

Dec 22, 1966 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane




Recording "Penny Lane" #3

Jan 04, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane


Recording "Penny Lane", "Carnival Of Light"

Jan 05, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane


Recording "Penny Lane" #5

Jan 06, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane


Recording "Penny Lane" #6

Jan 09, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane


Recording "Penny Lane" #7

Jan 10, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane


Recording "Penny Lane" #8

Jan 12, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane


Recording "Penny Lane" #9

Jan 17, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane


Recording "A Day In The Life" #1

Jan 19, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording "A Day In The Life" #2

Jan 20, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Mixing "Penny Lane"

Jan 25, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane


Recording "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

Feb 01, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

Feb 02, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording "A Day In The Life" #3

Feb 03, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording "Good Morning Good Morning"

Feb 08, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording "Fixing A Hole"

Feb 09, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Mixing "A Day In The Life", recording "Only A Northern Song"

Feb 13, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Yellow Submarine (Mono)


Recording and mixing "Good morning good morning"

Feb 16, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording "Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!"

Feb 17, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording "Fixing A Hole"

Feb 21, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording and mixing "A Day In The Life"

Feb 22, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)



Recording "Lovely Rita"

Feb 24, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)






Recording "Lovely Rita"

Mar 07, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording "Getting Better"

Mar 09, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording "Getting Better"

Mar 10, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording "Good Morning Good Morning"

Mar 13, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording "Within You Without You"

Mar 15, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording "She's Leaving Home"

Mar 17, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording and mixing "She's Leaving Home"

Mar 20, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)



Recording and mixing "Within You Without You"

Mar 22, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Recording and mixing "Getting Better"

Mar 23, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)




Recording "With A Little Help From My Friends"

Mar 30, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)




Recording and mixing "Within You Without You"

Apr 03, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)


Mixing "Within You Without You"

Apr 04, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (UK Mono)




Mixing "Strawberry Fields Forever"

Oct 26, 1971 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Magical Mystery Tour Plus Other Songs



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