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Friday, June 02, 2006

Remembering Sgt. Pepper

Thirty-nine years ago this week, the Beatles released an album, "Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band that still tops Rolling Stone magazine’s "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list. The LP, which included tracks such as “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “When I’m Sixty-Four” and “With a Little Help From My Friends” was released June 1, 1967 in the United Kingdom after 700 hours of studio recording work.

The album was innovative in everything from its structure to its cover art. Created by Robert Fraser, the album art was designed by noted pop artist Peter Blake. The front cover consisted of cardboard cutouts of famous people surrounding the four Beatles in day-glo military outfits. It was the first LP to print the lyrics on the back cover. The album art also generated a number of parodies, including ones by Frank Zappa, the Simpsons and the Beatles album parody by the Rutles.

In 1988, the British magazine, New Musical Express, released "Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father", a benefit album with covers of all the original songs by groups such as Sonic Youth, Michelle Shocked and The Triffids.

For more on the Beatles and their artistry, check out some of the 40-odd books owned by the Fairfax County Public Library. Recent titles include:

The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz

Meet the Beatles: A Cultural History by Steven Stark

Yellow Submarine by Charlie Gardner

The Beatles Come To America by Martin Goldsmith

Magic Circles: The Beatles in Dream and History by Devin McKinney

And for Beatles trivia experts, can you name the two figures removed from “Sgt. Pepper’s” cover art -– the first because he required a fee and the second because his appearance on the cover might offend record buyers in the U.S.?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was hoping to see the answer to the two questions about the cover at the end of the article. I'm old enough to remember, but I guess, also old enough to have forgotten.