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Sgt Pepper (2009)

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Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band


0946 3 82429 2 8


“The first thing I remember was flying back from America with our road manager Mal Evans. Over our meal we were talking about salt and pepper which was misheard as Sgt. Pepper. I then had the idea for the song ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and thought it would be interesting for us to pretend, during the making of the album, that we were members of this band rather than The Beatles, in order to give us a fresh slant.


With this in mind, I suggested to the guys that we each create an alter ego for ourselves and have uniforms made by a costumier. To help this process, we would all make a list of the people that our newly created characters might have admired. Everyone seemed to like the idea and with this in mind, we made the album.


Our attitude now was that of a completely different set of individuals and not the attitude that we would normally have had as The Beatles. The making of the record became a wild, colourful fairground ride where all things were possible.


I remember clearly a music critic surmising that because no one had heard from us for a while, The Beatles had dried up! We worked on happily in the knowledge that this one gentleman was about to be proved well and truly wrong!


I could go on and on about that period and the fun we had but I think it’s better for now to say no more and simply let the album speak for itself.”


Paul McCartney


Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band didn’t start out life as a “concept album” but it very soon developed a life of its own. I remember it warmly, as both a tremendous challenge and a highly rewarding experience. For me, it was the most innovative, imaginative and trend-setting record of its time.


George Martin


(The following Liner Notes are essentially the same as the 1987 CD release. Most notably on the Mark Lewisohn and Peter Blake sections. There are some recording date changes and the complete omission of Second Engineer Keith Slaughter on the session notation. Additionally, there are slight wording changes to the Cover legend, however the Historical and Recording Notes are new to this release. - AlbumLinerNotes.com)

“The Beatles definitely had an eternal curiosity for doing something different,” remarks the group’s producer George Martin. Certainly this album was entirely different to anything that had gone before, and although it has been much imitated since, it remains a giant recording, one that revolutionized the music industry and caused such repercussions that its influence will be felt for all time.

The Beatles’ music progressed in a most tangible way with each record they made. Even so, when it came to the time invested in the making of Sgt. Pepper – all the way from November, 1966 to April, 1967 – it seemed a ridiculously long period in which to make an album. “What on earth are they up to?”, people wondered. But not a session was wasted.

“The Beatles insisted that everything on Sgt. Pepper had to be different,” says Geoff Emerick – the recording engineer who, with George Martin, formed the imaginative team that translated The Beatles’ Pepper requirements onto tape. “Sounds were either distorted, limited, heavily compressed or treated with excessive equalization. We had microphones right down the bells of the brass instruments and headphones turned into microphones attached to violins. We plastered vast amounts of echo onto vocals, and sent them through the entirety of the revolving Leslie speaker. We used giant primitive oscillators to vary the speed of instruments and vocals, and we had tapes running backward as well as forward.”

But the sounds are only one aspect of Sgt. Pepper. The songs hold the key and they are bold, imaginative, confident, vivid, witty. Here is a band at ease with itself, unshackled by schedules – they had just given up live concerts, a band oblivious to the words “no” and “can’t”, a band stretching out but exercising still an unerring sense of what would work and what would not. Paul’s very idea of a “concept” band, populated by such characters as Billy Shears, was in itself untried by anyone before. It could have backfired, been misunderstood, gone unappreciated, but, of course, it was not. Sgt. Pepper worked from every conceivable angle.

The end of the album typifies the inventiveness and assuredness that runs through Sgt. Pepper. After the last droplets of the crashing piano chord of “A Day In The Life” have evaporated there are a few seconds of 15 kilocycle tone, inaudible to the human ear but put there – especially to amuse your dog – at the request of The Beatles. Then, as the coup de grace, the album concludes with a few seconds of nonsense Beatles chatter – the tape of which was cut into several pieces and stuck back together at random. In this way the words became unintelligible but, with the sound laced into the vinyl disc’s concentric run-out groove, purchasers without an auto-return on their record player inevitably wondered “What the hell’s that?” as the curious noise went on and on ad infinitum.

gt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was issued on June 1st, 1967. Nothing was ever the same again.

Mark Lewisohn

The recording of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band spanned 129 days, perhaps the most creative 129 days in the history of rock music. Here, in the order in which the recording were tackled, is a guide to the way the album was made.

Orchestrations by George Martin (Except where noted).

“When I’m Sixty-Four” – Recording commenced in studio two at Abbey Road on December 6, 1966. Album version mixed from take four. Writer: Paul. Lead Vocal: Paul. Producer: George Martin. Recording Engineer: Geoff Emerick. Second Engineer: Phillip McDonald.

“A Day In The Life” – Recording commenced in studio two at Abbey Road on January 19, 1967. Working title “In The Life Of…” Album version mixed from takes six and seven. Writers: John with Paul. Lead vocal: John, with Paul. Producer: George Martin. Recording Engineer: Geoff Emerick. Second Engineers: Richard Lush, Phillip McDonald.

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” – Recording commenced in studio two at Abbey Road on February 1, 1967. Album version mixed from take ten. Writer: Paul. Lead vocal: Paul. Producer: George Martin. Recording Engineer: Geoff Emerick. Second Engineers: Richard Lush.

“Good Morning, Good Morning” – Recording commenced in studio two at Abbey Road on February 8, 1967. Album version mixed from take eleven. Writer: John. Lead vocal: John. Producer: George Martin. Recording Engineer: Geoff Emerick. Second Engineers: Richard Lush.

“Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!” – Recording commenced in studio two at Abbey Road on February 17, 1967. Album version mixed from take nine. Writer: John. Lead vocal: John. Producer: George Martin. Recording Engineer: Geoff Emerick. Second Engineers: Richard Lush.

“Fixing a Hole” – Recording commenced at Regent Sound Studio, Tottenham Court Road, London, on February 9, 1967, and later completed at Abbey Road. Album version mixed from take three. Writer: Paul. Lead vocal: Paul. Producer: George Martin. Recording Engineers: Adrian Ibbetson (Regent Sound), Geoff Emerick (Abbey Road). Second Engineer: Richard Lush.

“Lovely Rita” – Recording commenced in studio two at Abbey Road on February 23, 1967. Album version mixed from take eleven. Writer: Paul. Lead vocal: Paul. Producer: George Martin. Recording Engineer: Geoff Emerick. Second Engineer: Richard Lush.

“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” – Recording commenced in studio two at Abbey Road on March 1, 1967. Album version mixed from take eight. Writer: John. Lead vocal: John. Producer: George Martin. Recording Engineer: Geoff Emerick. Second Engineer: Richard Lush.

“Getting Better” – Recording commenced in studio two at Abbey Road on March 9, 1967. Album version mixed from take fifteen. Writer: Paul. Lead Vocal: Paul. Producer: George Martin. Recording Engineers: Malcolm Addey, Ken Townsend, Geoff Emerick, Peter Vince. Second Engineers: Graham Kirkby, Richard Lush, Ken Scott.

“She’s Leaving Home” – Recording commenced in studio two at Abbey Road on March 17, 1967. Album version mixed from take nine. Writer: Paul with John. Lead vocal: Paul. Producer: George Martin. Orchestration: Mike Leander. Recording Engineer: Geoff Emerick. Second Engineers: Richard Lush, Ken Scott.

“Within You Without You” – Recording commenced in studio two at Abbey Road on March 22, 1967. Album version mixed from take two. Writer: George. Lead vocal: George. Producer: George Martin. Recording Engineer: Geoff Emerick. Second Engineer: Richard Lush.

“With A Little Help From My Friends” – Recording commenced in studio two at Abbey Road on March 29, 1967. Working title “Bad Finger Boogie”. Album version mixed from take eleven. Writers: John and Paul. Lead Vocal: Ringo. Producer: George Martin. Recording Engineer: Geoff Emerick. Second Engineer: Richard Lush.

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” – Recording commenced in studio one at Abbey Road on April 1, 1967. Album version mixed from take nine. Writer: Paul. Lead vocal: John, Paul and George. Producer: George Martin. Recording Engineer: Geoff Emerick. Second Engineer: Richard Lush.

Three other songs were recorded during the sessions: “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Penny Lane” and “It’s Only A Northern Song”. The first two were taken for release as a single, the third didn’t surface until the Yellow Submarine film soundtrack album.

“Strawberry Fields Forever” – Recording commenced in studio two at Abbey Road on November 24, 1966. “Penny Lane” – Recording commenced in studio two at Abbey Road on December 29, 1966. “It’s Only A Northern Song” – Recording commenced in studio two in Abbey Road on February 13, 1967.

The sequence of songs on Pepper is famous in itself, being – on the vinyl version – two continuous sides of music, without pauses between songs, or ‘banding’, to use recording parlance. But the lineup of side one, as first conceived, was different to how it finally evolved, and was as follows: ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”; “With A Little Help From My Friends”; “Being For the Benefit Of Mr. Kite”; “Fixing A Hole”; “Lucy In The Sky With Diamond”; “Getting Better”; “She’s Leaving Home.”

By suitably programming your compact disc hardware you’ll be able to hear the album as it was originally intended.

Mark Lewisohn


The Beatles already had a cover designed by a Dutch group called the Fool, but my gallery dealer, Robert Fraser, said to Paul, “Why don’t you use a ‘fine artist’, a professional, to do the cover instead?” Paul rather liked the idea and I was asked to do it. The concept of the album had already evolved: it would be as though the Beatles were another band, performing a concert. Paul and John said I should imagine that the band had just finished the concert, perhaps in a park. I then thought that we could have a crowd standing behind them, and this developed into the collage idea.

They made lists of the people they’d most like to have in the audience at this imaginary concert. John’s was interesting because it included Jesus and Ghandi and, more cynically, Hitler. But this was just a few months after the US furor about his “Jesus” statement, so they were left out. George’s list was all gurus. Ringo said, “Whatever the others say is fine by me,” because he really didn’t want to be bothered. Robert Fraser and I also made lists. We then got all the photographs together and had life-sized cut-outs made onto hardboard.

EMI realized that because many of the people we were depicting were still alive, we might be sued for not seeking their permission. So the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, who was very wary of all the complications in the first place, had his assistant write to everyone. Mae West replied, “No, I won’t be on it. What would I be doing in a lonely hearts club?” So the Beatles wrote her a personal letter and she changed her mind.

Robert Fraser was a business partner of Michael Cooper, an excellent photographer, so he was commissioned to do the shoot. I worked in his studio for a fortnight constructing the collage, fixing the top row to the back wall and putting the next about six inches in front and so on, so that we got a tiered effect. Then we put in the palm tree and the other little objects. I wanted to have the waxworks of the Beatles because I thought that they might be looking at Sgt. Pepper’s band too. The boy who delivered the floral display asked if he could contribute by making a guitar out of hyacinths, and the little girl wearing the ‘Welcome the Rolling Stones, Good Guys’ sweatshirt was a cloth figure of Shirley Temple, the shirt coming from Michael Cooper’s young son, Adam. The Beatles arrived during the evening of March 30, 1967. We had a drink, they got dressed and we did the session. It took about three hours in all, including the shots for the centre-fold and back cover.

The album sleeve was the first to feature printed lyrics, and it was one of the first to have a gatefold sleeve. It was also the first to have anything other than a plain inner bag too, the first pressing coming in a slightly psychedelic sleeve designed by Simon and Marijke of The Fool. And we also had a card with cut-outs, which I had originally intended to be a small packet with badges and pencils and such like. That was stopped because it would have caused EMI big marketing problems.

I’m not sure how much it all cost. One reads exaggerated figures. I think Robert Fraser was paid 1500 pounds by EMI, and I got about 200. People say to me, “You must have made a lot of money on it,” but I didn’t because Robert signed away the copyright. But it has never mattered too much because it was such a wonderful thing to have done.

Peter Blake   

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
istorical Notes

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was The Beatles’ eighth album in just over four years. The frequency of their releases seems startling now but as the ten months between Revolver and this LP passed by, there was much speculation about the perceived long delay. In fact, the group had abandoned concerts and were dedicating themselves solely to songwriting and prolongs work in the studio. Released on 1st June, 1967, the immediate artistic and commercial success of Sgt. Pepper vindicated this new approach adopted by The Beatles. It was the LP that provided the ubiquitous soundtrack to ‘the summer of love’ but its appeal is timeless.

The previous summer The Beatles had raced to finish recording Revolver – completing the last song just three days before the start of the tour that visited West Germany, Japan and the Philippines. Some tense encounters in Asia – and also on summer tour of the USA and Canada – rocked their already shaky commitment to touring. Besides, their concerts were musically out of sync with their recent innovative records – not one song from the current LP Revolver was played onstage during the North American tour.

The frustration of repeating their old repertoire to screaming fans, who could not hear them anyway, when added to the other pressures on the road in the summer of 1966, led the group to decide that the concert on 29th August at Candlestick Park, San Francisco would be their last. They now became a studio group with no concern about how to replicate their records in concert. In their first session for five months, The Beatles began recording ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. Its evolution showed the musical imagination and technical experimentation of the previous album would be continued. Things were not always complex, of course, because the other new recording at this time was the much more straightforward ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’. In the last days of the year, work began on ‘Penny Lane’. To stop the long wait since August for new material, ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ were released in February, 1967 on a double A-sided single.

In the UK, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band became the fourth Beatles album from which no singles were taken during the 1960s. remarkably, this was also the case in the USA where – also for the first time – the LP’s track listing was exactly the same as in the UK. The only American alteration was the removal of the high pitch tone and garbled speech embedded in the run-out groove. An initial run of 148 weeks in the British album chart included a total of 27 weeks at number one between June, 1967 and February, 1968 (it was interrupted occasionally by The Sound Of Music soundtrack album and Val Doonican Rocks But Gently). In the USA it remained at number one for fifteen of its initial run of 88 weeks in the Top 200.

Even before Sgt. Pepper was released, The Beatles had started work on the title track of their next project, the TV film Magical Mystery Tour.

The Cover
(see below for legend)
The Location: Chelsea Manor Studios, Flood Street, London The Date: Thursday, March 30, 1967

The Crowd Assembled…
1. Sri Yukteswar Giri (Guru)
2. Aleister Crowley (dabbler in black magic)
3. Mae West (Actress)
4. Lenny Bruce (Comic)
5. Karlheinz Stockhausen (Composer)
6. W.C. (William Claude) Fields (Comic)
7. Carl Gustav Jung (Psychologist)
8. Edgar Allen Poe (Writer)
9. Fred Astaire (Dancer/Actor)
10. Richard Merkin (Artist)
11. The Varga Girl (By artist Alberto Vargas)
12. Leo Gorcey (Actor) – Painted out because he requested a fee
13. Huntz Hall (Actor, with Leo Gorcey, One of the Bowery Boys)
14. Simon Rodia (Creator of Watts Towers)
15. Bob Dylan (Musician)
16. Aubrey Beardsley (Illustrator)
17. Sir Robert Peel (Politician)
18. Aldous Huxley (Writer)
19. Dylan Thomas (Poet)
20. Terry Southern (Writer)
21. Dion (di Mucci) (Singer)
22. Tony Curtis (Actor)
23. Wallace Berman (Artist)
24. Tommy Handley (Comic)
25. Marilyn Monroe (Actress)
26. William Burroughs (Writer)
27. Sri Mahavatara Babaji (Guru)
28. Stan Laurel (Comic)
29. Richard Lindner (Artist)
30. Oliver Hardy (Comic)
31. Karl Marx (Philosopher/Socialist)
32. H. G. (Herbert George) Wells (Writer)
33. Sri Paramahansa Yagananda (Guru)
34. Anonymous (Hairdressers’ Wax Dummy)
35. Stuart Sutcliffe (Artist/Former Beatle)
36. Anonymous (Hairdressers’ WaxDummy)
37. Max Miller (Comic)
38. The Petty Girl (By artist George Petty)
39. Marlon Brando (Actor)
40. Tom Mix (Actor)
41. Oscar Wilde (Writer)
42. Tyrone Power (Actor)
43. Larry Bell (Artist)
44. Dr. David Livingstone (Missionary/Explorer)
45. Johnny Weismuller (Swimmer/Actor)
46. Stephen Crane (Writer)
47. Issy Bonn (Comic)
48. George Bernard Shaw (Writer)
49. H.C. (Horace Clifford) Westermann (Sculptor)
50. Albert Stubbins (Soccer Player)
51. Sri Lahiri Mahasaya (Guru)
52. Lewis Carroll (Writer)
53. T.E. (Thomas Edward) Lawrence (Soldier, a/k/a Lawrence
of Arabia)
54. Sonny Liston (Boxer)
55. The Petty Girl (By artist George Petty)
56. Wax Model of George Harrison
57. Wax Model of John Lennon
58. Shirley Temple (Child Actress)
59. Wax Model of Ringo Starr
60. Wax Model of Paul McCartney
61. Albert Einstein (Physicist)
62. John Lennon, holding a French Horn
63. Ringo Starr, holding a Trumpet
64. Paul McCartney, holding a Cor Anglais
65. George Harrison, holding a flute
66. Bobby Breen (Singer)
67. Marlene Dietrich (Actress)
68. Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi (Indian Leader) - Painted
Out At The Request of EMI
69. Legionnaire from the Order of The Buffalos
70. Diana Dors (Actress)
71. Shirley Temple (Child Actress)
72. Cloth Grandmother-Figure by Jann Haworth
73. Cloth Figure of Shirley Temple (Child Actress) by Jann
74. Mexican Candlestick
75. Television Set
76. Stone Figure of Girl
77. Stone Figure
78. Statue from John Lennon’s House (also used by Peter
Blake as the basis for the cut-out of Sgt. Pepper)
79. Trophy
80. Four-Armed Indian Doll
81. Drum-Skin, designed by Joe Ephgrave
82. Hookah (water tobacco-pipe)
83. Velvet Snake
84. Japanese Stone Figure
85. Stone Figure of Snow White
86. Garden Gnome
87. Tuba 

Recording Notes

Produced by George Martin

Orchestrations by George Martin

Principal Engineer: Geoff Emerick


The Beatles’ recording grew more adventurous and innovative with every album release. Built on the experience and knowledge gained while making the ground-breaking Revolver, the inspirational work by The Beatles and George Martin on the next album showed the world what could be achieved in a recording studio.


More often than not, the imaginative arrangements required more tracks than were available on one four-track tape. The solution was to create extra tracks by copying the first four tracks to a second blank tape and simultaneously combining some of them to leave free as many tracks as were needed for additional overdubs. The need for more tracks reached a peak on Sgt. Pepper with ‘Getting Better’ requiring ‘bouncing down’ no less than three times.


The Beatles began work on ‘Getting Better’ on 9th March, 1967. First, the rhythm section of bass, drums, guitar and ‘Pianet’ electric piano was recorded on all four tracks. These were mixed together onto one track of a new tape, which left three tracks available for overdubs. Additional drums and bass were recorded on track two and double-tracked on track three; the final free track was used for a tamboura drone and piano. When copying to a third tape, the two bass and drum tracks were combined to one track and the tamboura and piano track was mixed in with the rhythm section. This left two tracks to record a double-tracked lead vocal, harmonies and handclaps. This third tape was then copied to a fourth tape to allow the two vocal tracks to be combined into one, creating a track for a guitar overdub. At the end of this protracted process, ten unique tracks had been used to complete the song.


Revolver had seen the introduction of Artificial/Automatic Double Tracking and this was also used throughout Sgt. Pepper. The sessions for the album also marked the first use of DI (Direct Injection) boxes. For example, on ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ Paul’s bass guitar was connected directly to the mixing desk rather than being recorded by a microphone in front of a speaker cabinet. There was also the speeding up and slowing down of tapes during recording and mixing, which altered the tempo and pitch of a voice, instrument or whole song. This is particularly evident in the sound of Paul’s voice on ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’.


The Beatles had worked during the night on several occasions when making Revolver but nocturnal recordings became the norm for Sgt. Pepper. No session ever began before 7:00pm and could sometimes finish as late – or early – as 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning. Their experimental and painstaking approach meant that it took nearly 400 hours to complete the LP – an astonishing amount of work for an album at that time.


This remastered album has been created from the original stereo analogue master tapes.


Remastered by Guy Massey and Steve Rooke.

Project Co-ordinator: Allan Rouse

Thanks to Simon Gibson

Historical Notes: Kevin Howlett and Mike Heatley

Recording Notes: Allan Rouse and Kevin Howlett

Project Management for EMI Records Ltd: Wendy Day and Guy Hayden


All songs published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, LLC.


Digital Remaster © 2009 The copyright in the sound recording is owned by EMI Records Ltd. © 2009 EMI Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.


Artwork © 2009 Apple Corps Ltd. All photographs © Apple Corps Ltd.

All photographs taken at Chelsea Manor Studios, London, March, 1967, except where otherwise stated.


Album Redesign: Drew Lorimer

Photo Retouching: Gavin O’Neill

Photo editing and research: Aaron Bremner and Dorcas Lynn

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