This month marks the 50th Anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This famous musical milestone by John, Paul, George and Ringo was not only the 8th album released by The Beatles, but is arguably the rock album that changed pop music forever.
The Beatles retiring from live concerts in 1966, but the seeds of Pepper began in the production of the band’s 1965 album Rubber Soul, and truly came to full birth on their double A-side 45 release of February 1967 (back in the day when music was released on 45 ‘records’ and album) of “Penny Lane” & “Strawberry Fields Forever.” In the sound layering in these tunes, with the introduction of studio techniques like slowing down recording tape speed and marching band instruments filtered in, the world was introduced of what was to come with the full concept of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released at the start of the summer of that year.
But it wasn’t just the music here that caused a fervor. We must remember, back in the day there was no Instagram or YouTube to show us our music stars’ newest styles or sexy costume design choices. One mainly saw their music icons in live performance, across album sleeves or in magazines. The Beatles spent a record breaking amount of months secluded in Abbey Road Studios, an unprecedented period of time for a popular band (the most popular band of the time) to hole up recording; the general public had not seen, as much as heard from this band for any real length of time for so long. The wardrobe choices a pop band made (especially this band who could shop at trendy Carnaby Street shops and made news everywhere they went) would be plastered across the world. Knowing this John, Paul, George and Ringo set out to as much make a statement with the album cover of their new album as with the music within it. The infamous ‘Lonely Heart’s Club Collage’ of the album’s front cover was designed by the British pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth. The Beatles standing in their wildly colorful Sgt. Pepper’s band uniforms, fronting cardboard cutouts of celebrities alive and dead is a masterpiece of pop art, an image arguably as famous as the songs on the album.
A very happy 5oth to The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, an album that changed the world.