Sir Paul McCartney remembers Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles Channel (Ch. 18) will celebrate “Pepper Day” on June 1, the 50th Anniversary of the band’s acclaimed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, playing the album’s new Anniversary Edition stereo mix in its entirety. The album spotlight will be accompanied by commentary by the album’s original producer, the late George Martin, and by his son, Giles Martin, who produced the album’s new stereo and 5.1 surround mixes from The Beatles’ session tapes, guided by his father’s original, Beatles-preferred mono album mix.
“We experienced a sense of freedom that was quite liberating.”
Paul McCartney penned the introduction to the 144-page hardback book that accompanies the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition, recalling what made the record and its album art a “lasting piece of art.”
“Having given up touring after Candlestick Park, we decided we would try to make our next record something special. As I was flying back from a visit to America, Mal Evans our big friendly bear of a roadie and I were having an inflight meal.
He asked me to pass the salt and pepper and I misheard it as Sergeant Pepper. This set off a train of thought that ended up in me writing a song for a fictitious band, who would be called Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and would be the alter egos of The Beatles. When I got back, I suggested this idea to the other guys. This would free us from our normal Beatles thinking and allow us to be more adventurous in our approach to our next recording. I suggested that we all think of heroes that the members of Sgt. Pepper’s Band might have, which would help us fill in their imaginary background story. I did a couple of sketches of how the band might look and, as we made the album, we experienced a sense of freedom that was quite liberating. We pushed boundaries and tried at every turn to come up with new ideas that we hoped would surprise people who would eventually hear the record.
When we were done, I took my sketches and our ideas to a friend of mine, Robert Fraser, a London gallery owner who represented a number of artists. He suggested we take the idea to Peter Blake, and John and I had discussions with Peter about the design of the album cover. Peter and his then-wife Jann Haworth had some interesting additional ideas and we all had an exciting time putting the whole package together.
It’s crazy to think that, 50 years later, we are looking back on this project with such fondness and a little bit of amazement at how four guys, a great producer and his engineers could make what turned out to be such a lasting piece of art.”