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Sgt Pepper 50th Anniversary

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album. This masterpiece, as we all know, heralded The Summer of Love of 1967.

A cultural icon, Sgt Pepper was the eighth studio album to be released by The Beatles, and has long been regarded as a musical masterpiece by critics and fans alike. The LP spent a total of 27 weeks at the top of the UK album charts, and 15 weeks at No. 1 in the US album charts. It is deemed an early concept album by music experts, advancing the use of extended form in popular music. It was certainly an album ahead of its time, introducing an alter ego group (Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), an idea suggested by Paul McCartney as he built on his original concept of a song recorded by an Edwardian-era military band. This alter ego group would give The Beatles a great opportunity to experiment with all kinds of musical styles, and whenever you listen to the album, you never fail to be impressed by how each song is so different from the other. The Beatles certainly did an awesome job here with their psychedelic diversification.

The 13 tracks on Sgt Pepper are:

  1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  2. With A Little Help From My Friends
  3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  4. Getting Better
  5. Fixing A Hole
  6. She’s Leaving Home
  7. Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite
  8. Within You Without You
  9. When I’m 64
  10. Lovely Rita
  11. Good Morning Good Morning
  12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  13. A Day In The Life

Designed by pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth from an ink drawing by Paul McCartney, the cover of Sgt Pepper is every bit as iconic as its tracks, depicting a colourful collage of various cut-out images of famous people, including The Beatles themselves of course. The Fab Four are attired in satin military-style uniforms to represent the four members of the fictious Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, each sporting a heavy moustache, reflecting the increasing influence of hippie-style trends. And standing alongside The Beatles are wax dummies of the band members in their suits and moptop haircuts, as they appeared in the early days of Beatlemania. These figures were borrowed from Madame Tussaud’s. On the back of the album the lyrics were printed in full, the first time it had ever been done on a rock LP.

In 2003, the Library of Congress placed Sgt Pepper in the National Recording Registry, honouring it as a major piece of cultural, historical and aesthetical work. In the same year, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album as No. 1 in its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.