How Sgt. Pepper Got Its Cover

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Back in 1966, the Beatles had decided to give up touring and become a studio-only band. This was an extremely risky move for the Beatles since no successful band had ever given up touring. When the Beatles entered the studio in November of 1966 to begin work on their first post-touring album, they already had several incredible songs written, including “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane.” But, with no new Beatles release imminent, their manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin decided to release the two songs as a single and leave them off the next album.

With the two songs “lost” from the album, Paul McCartney conceived of a concept that could inspire the Beatles in composing new material. The idea was that the Beatles would “pose” as another band — Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This would allow the Beatles to write in any style they wished without being “hindered” by their audience’s expectations. Although this concept really didn’t hold for all the songs on Sgt. Pepper, the album did have the Beatles easily swapping styles — from the circus music of “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” to the Eastern influenced “Within You, Without You” to the classical strings of “She’s Leaving Home.”

An ambitious album like Sgt. Pepper required equally ambitious cover art. Apparently, the design was McCartney’s idea, and he enlisted the artists Peter Blake, Robert Fraser, and Jann Haworth to realize his vision based on a drawing McCartney had made. The artists created cardboard cutouts of famous people chosen by the four Beatles and positioned them behind the Beatles for the final photograph.

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One thought on “How Sgt. Pepper Got Its Cover

  1. Hello,

    Who ever wrote this either left stuff out .. or just plain didn’t know it.

    Stuff like the original idea for the album was going to be an album about The Beatles childhood. Paul did have “When I’m 64” … however, it was Capitol Records that was pushing Brian (Epstein) for a new release and the group broke their understanding with Brian for 2 new albums a year.

    Paul explained in an interview at the time that was the style of new band’s names were like that

    Anyway, “The Compleat Beatles” were much more complete then this and I didn’t think it was very informative!

    Sorry,
    Ken

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