#3 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles

The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Album Cover) by The Beatles
Album Rank
3
Total Points
2040
Year Released
1967
Genre
Rock
Billboard 200 Chart Peak
1
Weeks at #1
15
RIAA Sales Certification
11,000,000 (Multi Platinum)
Buy Album
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles

Sgt. Pepper Album Details

Released in June of 1967, at the beginning of the Summer of Love, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has been labeled a landmark album ever since. The Beatles, Paul McCartney in particular, had been inspired by the music they heard on the Beach Boys album Pet Sounds and with Sgt. Pepper they intended to match or better it. The funny thing about it is that Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys was inspired to make Pet Sounds after hearing The Beatles' album Rubber Soul. In creating Sgt. Pepper they were not only pushing the boundaries of pop music but also the limits of the recording technology available during that time.

When The Beatles entered the studio to record Sgt. Pepper, they had given up touring so they could concentrate their creative efforts on making music in the studio. Paul McCartney's initial concept of the album was for The Beatles to play in the guise of Sgt. Pepper's band, however, according to John Lennon in The Beatles Anthology book, “All my contributions to the album have absolutely nothing to do with this idea of Sgt. Pepper and his band; but it works, because we said it worked, and that's how the album appeared. But it was not put together as it sounds, except for Sgt. Pepper introducing Billy Shears and the so-called reprise. Every other song could have been on any other album.” George Harrison agrees with this sentiment, “I felt we were just in the studio to make another record, and Paul was going on about this idea of some fictitious band. That side of it didn't really interest me, other than the title song and the album cover.”

The studio experimentation that began with Rubber Soul and continued on to Revolver came to a crescendo on Sgt. Pepper. They were using more instruments, tapes loops, sound effects, overdubbing and orchestration than they had previously all culminating in "A Day in the Life" a collaboration between John and Paul who traded lead vocals on track and with it's 40 piece orchestra with Paul and producer George Martin conducting.

Other albums by The Beatles on the chart: Meet the Beatles, A Hard Day's Night, Rubber Soul, Abbey Road, Revolver, and The Beatles (White Album)

Interesting Facts About Sgt. Pepper

  • Won the Grammy award for Best Contemporary Album as well as for Album of the Year in 1968.
  • The Beatles spent 700 hours over the course of 129 days in the studio making Sgt. Pepper, in contrast, they made their debut album Please Please Me, in one day, spending just 10 hours in the studio to create it.
  • The first songs recorded during the Sgt. Pepper sessions were "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever", however, they were eventually released as a double A side single and were therefore not included on the album.
  • "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was inspired by a painting John's son Julian had brought home from school, not the drug LSD as many people have assumed.
  • The original lyrics to the song "With A Little Help From My Friends" were "What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and throw tomatoes at me?"
  • Paul McCartney wrote the song "When I'm Sixty Four" when he was 16 years old.
  • The lyrics for "Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite came from a poster advertising an 1843 performance of Pablo Fanque's Circus Royal.
  • The song "She's Leaving Home" was inspired by a story in the newspaper about Melanie Coe, a 17 year old girl who had run away from home. In a strange coincidence, Paul McCartney had met Melanie three years earlier when she was one of four contestants in a lip synch competition on the TV show Ready Steady Go! in which Paul was the judge. Melanie and the other contestants lip synched to the Brenda Lee song "Let's Jump the Broomstick". Paul declared Melanie the winner.
  • The final chord on "A Day in the Life" was played simultaneously on three different pianos by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and their assistant Mal Evans, with producer George Martin on Harmonium.
  • Peter Black and Jann Haworth won the Grammy Award in 1968 for Best Recording Package: Graphic Arts for their design of the album's cover art.

Quotes about Sgt. Pepper

“The Beatles insisted that everything on Sgt. Pepper had to be different, so everything was either distorted, limited, heavily compressed or treated with excessive equalization.” — Geoff Emerick (recoding engineer)

Sgt. Pepper Track List

  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 Sixty Four
  10. Lovely Rita
  11. Good Morning Good Morning
  12. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
  13. A Day In The Life
  • Next Album: #2 Revolver by The Beatles
  • Current Album: #3 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles
  • Previous Album: #4 Abbey Road by The Beatles

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