Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has a widely-recognized album cover which depicts several dozen celebrities and other images.

This album cover was created by Jann HaworthPeter Blake. They won the Grammy Award for Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts in 1968 for their work on this cover. and

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IT is one of the most famous and influential albums ever recorded, and its cover has become part of pop music history.

Forty years ago this week, The Beatles released Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to instant worldwide acclaim.

And almost as iconic as the anthems within was its eye-catching pop art cover featuring the Fab Four alongside a collage of life-sized cardboard models including famous writers, musicians, film stars and Indian gurus.

To celebrate Sergeant Pepper’s 40th birthday, here DEREK BROWN gives the classic montage a modern-day makeover.

Who's who ... see which icons of yesterday have been replaced with today's icons
Who's who ... see which icons of yesterday have been replaced with today's icons

1. Indian mystic Sri Yukteswar Giri replaced by Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama.

2. Sinister occult leader Aleister Crowley replaced by Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard.

3. Bawdy hellraising actress Mae West replaced by rehab hellraiser Lindsay Lohan.

4. Offensive stand-up Lenny Bruce replaced by edgy stand-up Ricky Gervais.

5. Pioneer of electronic classical music Karlheinz Stockhausen replaced by electro-wizard Moby.

6. Comedian and actor WC Fields replaced by pint-sized funnyman Danny DeVito.

7. Founder of analytical psychology Carl Jung replaced by hypnotist Paul McKenna.

8. Dark crime writer Edgar Allan Poe replaced by darker crime writer Ian Rankin.

9. Dancing movie legend Fred Astaire replaced by Dirty Dancing’s Patrick Swayze.

10. Leading artistic chronicler Richard Merkin replaced by graffiti commentator Banksy.

11. Painting of air force icon Varga Girl replaced by Forces beauty Nell McAndrew.

12. Big-faced actor Huntz Hall replaced by big- faced actor Nicolas Cage.

13. Genius builder and designer Simon Rodia replaced by architect Sir Norman Foster.

14. Cutting-edge beat poet Bob Dylan replaced by a crustier but still cool Bob Dylan.

15. Fifth Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe replaced by fifth Arctic Monkey Andy Nicholson.

16. Controversial cartoonist Aubrey Beardsley becomes Simpsons creator Matt Groening.

17. Old mannequin replaced by Topshop mannequin.

18. Police founder Robert Peel replaced by Sting, the founder of The Police.

19. Drug-dabbling writer Aldous Huxley replaced by off-his-head writer Will Self.

20. Poet Dylan Thomas replaced by Irish rhymer Seamus Heaney.

21. US screenwriter Terry Southern replaced by Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese.

22. Doo-wop singer Dion DiMucci replaced by R&B star Usher.

23. Comedy actor Tony Curtis replaced by funnyman Adam Sandler.

24. Cutting-edge artist Wallace Berman replaced by shark-pickler Damien Hirst.

25. Radio favourite Tommy Handley replaced by gobby radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles.

26. Blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe replaced by platinum starlet Scarlett Johannson.

27. Drug-inspired writer William S Burroughs replaced by serial-caner author Irvine Welsh.

28. Spectral yogi pin-up Sri Mahavatar Babaji replaced by Celeb BB pin-up Shilpa Shetty.

29. One half of comedy double act Stan Laurel replaced by Dec’s other half Ant McPartlin.

30. Painter of heroic figures Richard Lindner replaced by Spider-Man creator Stan Lee.

31. Tubbier half of comedy double act Oliver Hardy becomes Ant’s pal Declan Donnelly.

32. Creator of the Communist Manifesto Karl Marx replaced by Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

33. Time Machine author HG Wells replaced by 2001 creator Arthur C Clarke.

34. Yoga guru Sri Parama-Hansa Yogananda replaced by yoga obsessive Madonna.

35. Desert hero Lawrence of Arabia replaced by Gulf War veteran Andy McNabb.

36. Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud replaced by Sun Agony Aunt Deidre Sanders.

37. Mannequin replaced by New Look mannequin.

38. Pin-up cartoon of a Petty Girl replaced by cyberbabe Lara Croft.

39. Wise-cracking stage man Max Miller replaced by cheeky pop star Robbie Williams.

40. Another Petty Girl replaced by cartoon sexpot Jessica Rabbit.

41. Moody actor Marlon Brando replaced by grumpy thespian Russell Crowe.

42. Cowboy actor Tom Mix replaced by spaghetti western gunslinger Clint Eastwood.

43. Writer, poet and wit Oscar Wilde replaced by writer and comic Stephen Fry.

44. Zorro actor Tyrone Power replaced by Mask of Zorro star Antonio Banderas.

45. Modern artist Larry Bell replaced by unmade bed artist Tracy Emin.

46. African explorer David Livingstone replaced by British adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

47. Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller replaced by King Of The Jungle Phil Tufnell.

48. Writer Stephen Crane replaced by Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown.

49. Music hall comedian Issy Bonn replaced by stand-up Jimmy Carr.

50. Legendary Irish writer George Bernard Shaw replaced by modern Irish writer Roddy Doyle.

51. 3D artist and designer HC Westermann replaced by iPod designer Jonathan Ive.

52. Liverpool FC legend Albert Stubbins replaced by former Everton star Wayne Rooney.

53. Indian spiritualist Sri Lahiri Mahasaya replaced by spoonbender Uri Gellar.

54. Alice In Wonderland writer Lewis Carroll replaced by Harry Potter creator JK Rowling.

55. Boxer Sonny Liston replaced by British Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan.

56. Waxwork of George Harrison replaced by waxwork of Arctic Monkey Alex Turner.

57. Waxwork of John Lennon replaced by waxwork of Arctic Monkey Jamie Cook.

58. Waxwork of Ringo Starr replaced by waxwork of Arctic Monkey Nick O’Malley.

59. Waxwork of Paul McCartney replaced by waxwork of Arctic Monkey Matt Helders.

60. Albert Einstein replaced by Brief History Of Time genius Stephen Hawking.

61. John Lennon replaced by son Sean.

62. Ringo Starr replaced by son Zak.

63. Paul McCartney replaced by daughter Stella.

64. George Harrison replaced by son Dhani.

65. Child star Bobby Breen replaced by off-the-rails Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin.

66. Hollywood actress Marlene Dietrich replaced by Aussie screen star Nicole Kidman.

67. Legionnaire from the Order of the Buffalo replaced by anonymous British soldier in Iraq.

68. Shapely actress Diana Dors replaced by curvy Kelly Brook.

69. Child star Shirley Temple replaced by Britney Spears in Disney TV show.

70. Japanese Fukusuke doll replaced by Teletubby toy.

71. Snow White figurine replaced by Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear.

72. Statue from home of John Lennon replaced by statue of Bobby Moore.

73. Plastic doll replaced by Bratz doll.

74. Doll with Rolling Stones jumper replaced by ITV Digital Monkey with Arctic Monkeys T-shirt.

75. Figurine of Hindu goddess Lakshmi replaced by Barbie doll.

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The Grammy Award-winning album packaging was art-directed by Robert Fraser, designed by Peter Blake and his wife Jann Haworth, and photographed by Michael Cooper. It featured a colourful collage of life-sized cardboard models of famous people on the front of the album cover and lyrics printed on the back cover, the first time this had been done on a British pop LP.[16]day-glo colours. The suits were designed by Manuel Cuevas.[17] Among the insignia on their uniforms are: The Beatles themselves, in the guise of the Sgt. Pepper band, were dressed in custom-made military-style outfits made of satin dyed in

Art director Robert Fraser was a prominent London art dealer who ran his own gallery and sponsored exhibitions at the Indica Gallery, through which he had become a close friend of McCartney, and it was at his strong urging that the group abandoned their original cover design, a psychedelic painting by The Fool. The Fool's design for the inner sleeve was, however, used for the first few pressings.

Fraser was one of the leading champions of modern art in Britain in the 1960s and after. He argued strongly that the Fool artwork was not well-executed and that the design would soon be dated. He convinced McCartney to abandon it, and offered to art-direct the cover; it was Fraser's suggestion to use an established fine artist and he introduced the band to a client, noted British "pop" artist Peter Blake, who, in collaboration with his wife, created the famous cover collage, known as "People We Like".

According to Blake, the original concept was to create a scene that showed the Sgt. Pepper band performing in a park; this gradually evolved into its final form, which shows the Beatles, as the Sgt. Pepper band, surrounded by a large group of their heroes, rendered as lifesized cut-out figures. Also included were wax-work figures of the Beatles as they appeared in the early '60s, borrowed from Madame Tussauds.

In keeping with the park concept, the foreground of the scene is a floral display incorporating the word "Beatles" spelt out in flowers. Also present are several affectations from the Beatles' homes including small statues belonging to Lennon and Harrison, a small portable TV set and a trophy. A young delivery boy who provided the flowers for the photo session was allowed to contribute a guitar made of yellow hyacinths. Although it has long been rumoured that some of the plants in the arrangement were cannabis plants, this is untrue.

At the edge of the scene is a Shirley Temple doll wearing a sweater in homage to the Rolling Stones (who would return the tribute by having the Beatles hidden in the cover of their own Their Satanic Majesties Request LP later that year).

The collage depicted more than 70 famous people, including writers, musicians, film stars and (at Harrison's request) a number of Indian gurus. The final grouping included Marlene Dietrich, Carl Gustav Jung, W.C. Fields, Diana Dors, Elvis Presley, James Dean, Bob Dylan, Marilyn Monroe, Aldous Huxley, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sigmund Freud, Aleister Crowley, Edgar Allan Poe, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, William S. Burroughs, Marlon Brando, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, and controversial comedian Lenny Bruce. Also included was the image of the original Beatles bass player, the late Stuart Sutcliffe. Pete Best said in a later NPR interview that Lennon borrowed family medals from his mother Mona for the shoot, on condition that he did not lose them. Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jesus Christ were requested by Lennon, but ultimately they were left out, even though a cutout of Hitler was in fact made.[5]

A photo also exists of a rejected cardboard printout with a cloth draped over its head; its identity is unknown. Even now, co-creator Jann Haworth regrets that so few women were included.[18]List of images on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The entire list of people on the cover can be found at

The collage created legal worries for EMI's legal department, which had to contact the people who were still living to obtain their permission. Mae West initially refused — famously asking "What would I be doing in a lonely hearts club?" — but she relented after the Beatles sent her a personal letter. Actor Leo Gorcey requested payment for inclusion on the cover, so his image was removed. An image of Mohandas Gandhi was also removed at the request of EMI (it was airbrushed out), who had a branch in India and were fearful that it might cause offence there. Lennon had asked to include images of Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler, though neither was included through fear of causing offence. Nonetheless a cutout was made of Hitler and can be clearly seen leaning against the wall in pictures of the photographic session. Most of the suggestions for names to be included came from McCartney, Lennon and Harrison, with additional suggestions from Blake and Fraser (Starr demurred and let the others choose). Beatles manager Brian Epstein had serious misgivings, stemming from the scandalous US Butcher Cover controversy the previous year, going so far as to give a note reading "Brown paper bags for Sgt. Pepper" to Nat Weiss as his last wish.

The collage was assembled by Blake and his wife during the last two weeks of March 1967 at the London studio of photographer Michael Cooper, who took the cover shots on 30 March 1967 in a three-hour evening session. The package was a "gatefold" album cover, that is, the album could be opened like a book to reveal a large picture of the Fab Four in costume against a yellow background. The reason for the gate fold was that the Beatles originally planned to fill two LPs for the release. The designs had already been approved and sent to be printed when they realised they would only have enough material for one LP.

Originally, the group had wanted the album to include a package with badges, pencils and other small Sgt. Pepper goodies but this proved far too costly to realise. Instead, the album came with a page of cardboard cut-outs carrying the description:

  1. Moustache
  2. Picture Card
  3. Stripes
  4. Badges
  5. Stand Up

The special inner sleeve, included in the early pressings of the LP, featured a psychedelic pattern designed by The Fool.

The final bill for the cover was £2,868 5s 3d (equivalent to £38,823 today), a staggering sum for the time. It has been estimated that this was 100 times the average cost for an album cover in those days.[19]

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In the song "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," Paul sings that it was "20 years ago today…" and to those convinced of a Satanic Beatles conspiracy of course Paul here is referring to the death, 20 years prior, of Satan's earthly fall guy Aleister Crowley, to whom the Fab Four dedicated that groundbreaking LP. From there, one can easily connect the dots, and 20 or 30 entirely rhetorical and totally tenuous connections later, we find that the Beatles were part of a Hollywood-area Satanic coven established by Crowley, and frequented by other devil-worshippers including the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.

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