Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50 Years Ago, 50 Years After 1967 – 2017

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

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Edition and adaptation by Toni Basanta from Fairfax, Vermont, USA
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This article is about the 1967 album.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles, holding marching band instruments and wearing colourful uniforms, stand near a grave covered with flowers that spell "Beatles". Standing behind the band are several dozen famous people.
Studio album by The Beatles
Released 1 June 1967 (1967-06-01)
Recorded 24 November 1966 – 21 April 1967
Studio EMI Studios and Regent Sound Studio, London
Length 39:52
Label Parlophone (UK)
Capitol (US)
Producer George Martin
The Beatles chronology
A Collection of Beatles Oldies
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles
The Beatles North American chronology
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the eighth studio album by English Rock Band the Beatles.

Released on   June 1, 1967, it was an immediate commercial and critical success, spending 27 weeks at the top of the albums chart in the United Kingdom and 15 weeks at number one in the United States.

Time magazine declared it “a historic departure in the progress of music” and the New Statesman praised its elevation of pop to the level of fine art.  It won four Grammy Awards in 1968, including Album of the Year, the first ROCK  LP to receive this honour.

In August 1966, the Beatles permanently retired from touring and began a three-month holiday from recording. During a return flight to London in November, Paul McCartney had an idea for a song involving an Edwardian era military band that would eventually form the impetus of the Sgt. Pepper concept.

Sessions for what was to become the Beatles’ eighth studio album began on 24 November in Abbey Road Studio Two  with two compositions inspired from their youth, “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane“, but after pressure from EMI, the songs were released as a double A-side single and were not included on the album.

In February 1967, after recording the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” song, McCartney suggested that the Beatles should release an entire album that would represent a performance by the fictional Sgt. Pepper Band.

This alter ego  group would give them the freedom to experiment musically.

During the recording sessions, the band furthered the technological progression they had made with their 1966 album Revolver.  Knowing they would not have to perform the tracks live, they adopted an experimental approach to composition and recording on songs such as “With a Little Help from My Friends“, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “A Day in the Life“.

Producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick‘s innovative recording of the album included the liberal application of sound shaping signal processing and the use of a 40-piece orchestra performing aleatoric crescendos. Recording was completed on 21 April 1967. The cover, depicting the Beatles posing in front of a tableau of celebrities and historical figures, was designed by the British Pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth.

SGT. PEPPER  is regarded by musicologists as an early concept album that advanced the use of extended form in popular music while continuing the artistic maturation seen on the Beatles’ preceding releases.

It has been described as one of the first art rock LPs, aiding the development of Progressive Rock, and credited with marking the beginning of the Album Era.

An important work of British psychedelia, the album incorporates a range of stylistic influences, including vaudeville, circus, music hall, avant-garde, and Western and Indian classical music.

In 2003, the Library of Congress placed SGT.  PEPPER  in the National Recording Registry, honouring the work as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

That same year, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number one in its list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time“.

As of 2011, it has sold more than 32 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums in history.

Professor Kevin J. Dettmar, writing in the Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature, described it as “the most important and influential Rock and Roll album ever recorded”.

It is the best selling album worldwide of the 1960s.

For more information, please visit WIKIPEDIA the free encyclopedia. With very best wishes and acknowledgements to this unequal source of information.

In our radio show, The Cuban Bridge @ WWPV 92.5 FM The Mike, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the recording of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Beatles Forever !

Toni Basanta

DJ Host of The Cuban Bridge on the radio and on television



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