Beatles – Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

This is a great opening track to this famous album. What a way to introduce probably the most famous album ever.

The slicing guitar stands out and the drum sound that Ringo got. Paul McCartney wrote this and sang lead. After recording it, he had the idea of doing the whole album as if Sgt. Pepper was a real band. It became the title track of what was considered a “concept” album, with the songs running seamlessly together on the record.

The title is a parody of American bands who were choosing long names for their bands.

Three days after the album came out, Jimi Hendrix opened a concert with this. McCartney and Harrison were both there, and were very impressed that Hendrix learned it so quickly.

Jimi Hendrix cover The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'

The reprise of the song is right before A Day In The Life.

This song was produced in a rush when The Beatles decided to bring back the theme song to introduce the last track on the album, “A Day In The Life.” The idea to reprise the song came from Neil Aspinall, The Beatles’ friend and road manager.

George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr played this on May 19, 1979 at Eric Clapton’s wedding. Clapton married Harrison’s ex-wife, Pattie. Pattie didn’t think John Lennon would fly over from America so she never sent an invititation. John Lennon said later he would have come.

From Songfacts

The album was heavily produced and took 129 days and about 700 hours to complete. The Beatles first album, Please Please Me, was recorded in less than 10 hours.

The crowd noise was dubbed in. The Beatles had stopped touring by then.

There really is an apostrophe in this song’s title, although on the album cover, it is rendered without. Since the Lonely Hearts Club Band belongs to Sgt. Pepper, it is possessive, thus “Sgt. Pepper’s.”

This is reprised at the end of the album before the final track, “A Day In The Life.”

This was recorded as one song with “With A Little Help From My Friends.” They flow seamlessly on the album, creating a problem for radio stations that want to play just one of the songs. 

Artist Peter Blake designed the album cover as if Sgt. Pepper’s band had just performed a concert. He asked The Beatles who they wanted at the concert, and put them in the cover design.

All living people depicted on the cover were asked permission. Mae West refused at first – she didn’t want to be part of a “Lonely Hearts Club Band” – but The Beatles wrote her a letter and she agreed. Other characters depicted on the album cover include comedic duos Laurel & Hardy and Abbott & Costello, Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Temple and W.C. Field. 

Lennon wanted Jesus, Gandhi, and Hitler on the cover. He had recently taken a lot of heat for saying The Beatles were “Bigger than Jesus,” so they decided not to.

It was rumored that the hand that is sticking out above Paul is that of Adolph Hitler. A Hitler cut out was on the set, but if you look at some side shots of the photo session, you can clearly see that the hand belongs to comic Issy Bonn, whose face is seen in between Paul McCartney and George Harrison. 

On the cover of this album McCartney is taller than the other Beatles. This added to rumors of his death, since there is also a hand above Paul’s head which is an omen of death. Also, if you take a mirror and put the edge on the center of the Lonely Hearts Club Band drum an arrow will point directly to McCartney.

Sgt. Pepper was the first pop album to come with printed lyrics on the cover.

Twelve years after “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “With a Little Help from My Friends” appeared on the Sgt. Pepper album, they were released together as a two-song medley and reached US #71 and UK #63. 

In 2005, Bob Geldof helped organize Live 8, a set of concerts held in eight countries with the goal of promoting activism. The concerts coincided with the G-8 summit, and Geldof was hoping to send a message to world leaders that they should increase aid to Africa and institute fair trade practices. On the London stage, U2 played this with McCartney to kick off the concert. The opening line, “It was 20 years ago today,” was a reference to Live Aid, which Geldof organized for famine relief in 1985.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the first rock album to win a Grammy for Album of the Year. 

On the album cover, Paul McCartney is wearing an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) badge on his right sleeve. You can see this better on the inside artwork. 

The hand-painted drum skin used on the cover of the Sgt Pepper album was sold at Christie’s House in London on 10th July 2008 for £541,250 ($1,071,000) – setting a record for non-lyrics Beatles memorabilia.

In 2007, the Beatles Story museum in Liverpool went on a search for real Sgt. Peppers and found seven police or army officers in the UK that were sergeants with the last name Pepper. “Being Sgt. Pepper is awesome but sometimes people think I am bogus when I call them on the phone or introduce myself,” Sgt. Sean Pepper of Highfields said.

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

It was twenty years ago today
Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play,
They’ve been going in and out of style,
But they’re guaranteed to raise the smile,
So may I introduce to you,
The act you’ve known for all these years,
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

We’re Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
We hope you will enjoy the show
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sit back and let the evening go
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

It’s wonderful to be here,
It’s certainly a thrill
You’re such a lovely audience,
We’d like to take you home with us, we’d love to take you home

I don’t really want to stop the show,
But I thought you might like to know,
That the singer’s going to sing a song
And he wants you all to sing along,
So let me introduce to you
The one and only Billy Shears
And Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Oh ha ha
Yeah, dress down
I feel it, I feel it, I feel it
Oh baby now, I feel it, I feel it, I feel it
Baby, free now
Gotta be free now, gotta be free now, gotta be free
Don’t like that
I think it’ll probably be another day singing it
Yeah so just edit that then, it’s nice
Yeah, and what you can do with the bits where you can’t get it ’cause you haven’t got enough breath
Just take over, yeah

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

58 thoughts on “Beatles – Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”

  1. “if you take a mirror and put the edge on the center of the Lonely Hearts Club Band drum an arrow will point directly to McCartney.”
    I remember that whole conspiracy theory thing about McCartney being dead. Those were the days when conspiracy theories seemed more harmless fun to speculate on as opposed to today where they have become more pernicious and dangerous imho

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I agree with you about now…The Beatles were probably secretly happy …all of their albums zoomed in the charts again…and the damn conspiracy theories are STILL going on about Paul. Some people really believe it to this day. Some people still call him “Faul”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s just amazing Paul that the three remaining Beatles found a brilliant left handed bass player, pop songwriter, and singer… because they are everywhere.

        But I have to admit, it probably was fun at the time… except to Paul.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. But but but….it was plastic surgery and his name was William Campbell!
        Now I will say this…when I first read about all of it when I was a kid…a part of me thought that maybe…just maybe that the Beatles cooked it up for a lark…but then I realized that Lennon would have been the first one to blab something.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Have to admit never really followed the ins and outs of the theory but just like with any conspiracy theory the true believers have answers for everything. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Max, Probably my fave album from the Beatles. Crazy about all the album rumours!
    There is an excellent series on Netflix now called “1971” which may interest you. It’s about the music and events of that year. Have a great weekend!
    eden

    Liked by 1 person

  3. still sounds good and is one of my favorite albums by anyone…also the first album I consciously remember being aware of … either my Mom or my brother had it when I was very young & I remember being fascinated by the cover and loving some of the music.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read where it was more of an event than just an album release. I wish I could have been around…well I was but I was only 6 months old when it was released…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now I know where I get musical quirkiness from and not to mention my black humor! It’s all falling into place now!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, and if you play the album backwards, you get secret messages. Geeez. Next to Abby Road, the best from the lads. The day the album hit the racks, the band I was in sweated it out and learned 3 songs from the disc. We played a gig a few days later, and were amazed that most of the teens hadn’t heard of the album yet. I still have my original copy. Old, but still plays well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The video link you posted…it’s listed as “remastered”. Every time I see that word, I cringe. It usually means they’ve taken masters and digitized them for clarity…removing the analog texture. I just listened and, if they did digitize it, they left the rolling tracks intact. I love analog sounds, rolling from one ear to the other. Zep used that to great effect (thinking Whole Lotta Love…).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yea they usually don’t mess with the Beatles…George Martin’s son I think did these. They are very careful with them because they would catch hell if they messed with it too much.

      Oh I’m about to reblog something by someone else…you might or may not be interested…a webinar next Sunday…hold on.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. some remasters are great, others aren’t. Your point onLZ caught my attention though, because I remember reading maybe 4 years back Jimmy Page was personally remastering their catalog because he heard something of theirs on MP3 and was horrified. He didn’t want kids to think this was what their band was SUPPOSED to sound like.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Obviously, you won’t be shocked that I love this tune, Max. On most days, if I could pick only one Beatles album, it would be Sgt. Pepper. There would be no question whatsoever, had “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” also been included on this album as had been the initial intention.

    That story about Paul, George and Ringo playing at Clapton’s wedding is fascinating. And the fact that John would have come as well, had he been invited! I had not known about this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He sad he would have come…but John could have just said that….I can see why Pattie didn’t invite him but I sure wish she would have…just on the chance…it could have changed history.

      Oh yea with those two…a whole different album

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is…it’s a great lead off track. I was just on your site when you commented…thinking I missed your post tonight.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You get a bit more control. I’m trying to optimise my site for Google and I’m finding WordPress.com a bit limiting. You’re better at getting WordPress followers than me, so wordpress.com might suit you better anyway. I think I’ll put up a blog post about it when I have it all working, to let people know and to help everyone going through the same process. It’s taken me a lot of hours over the last week.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve toyed with the idea but since IT is what I do for a living…I get enough of the hassle…I have thought about it though.
        Looking forward to the post.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. WordPress.com is actually pretty fast – it’s just not optimised for the google page speed vitals. Things like providing a free plugin to delay loading videos until someone clicks play would help.

        Like

    1. That name is a mouthful…like everything else for them…the name worked great.

      I’ll be over in a second…I don’t think I ever commented on your Eagles post.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t hear this without the expectation of With A Little Help as part of it – that’s the problem with segueing tracks! 🙂 It’s a great album, but it could have been near-perfect with Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields on as track 10 and 11 replacements…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Song GREAT!!! Movie of same name…NOT!! There is no denying that the Beatles were in their own category. The evolution of this band in such a short time is astounding to go from “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” to this song is crazy. So different yet both so great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t add anymore to that! When I was a kid I focused on them so much that I compared every other band to them…especially modern bands at the time….and you cannot do that….different era.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Pink Floyd would be one…the atmosphere of it… but the biggest thing would be artists concentrating on albums and not singles…to me anyway.

      Like

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