BBC show to mark 50th anniversary of Sgt Pepper album

The Beatles' critically acclaimed Sgt Pepper album was released on June 1, 1967.
The Beatles' critically acclaimed Sgt Pepper album was released on June 1, 1967.PHOTO: THE BEATLES’

LONDON • With A Little Help From My Friends at the BBC, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band will continue to march on.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of the best-selling and critically acclaimed Beatles album, the BBC will broadcast a new documentary film that features new footage of the Fab Four, including songs, out-takes and studio chats by the band, according to a report in the Evening Standard newspaper.

The album, which was released on June 1, 1967, contains tracks such as With A Little Help From My Friends, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and When I'm Sixty-Four.

Composer and music broadcaster Howard Goodall, who is involved in the BBC tribute, told Prolific North: "Whatever music you like to listen to, if it was written after June 1, 1967, then more likely than not it will have been influenced, one way or another, by Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

"The record's sheer ambition in its conception, composition, arrangements and ground-breaking recording techniques sets it apart from others of the time. It's a landmark in 20th-century music and I've hugely enjoyed exploring the story behind the music."

The artwork on the album cover was also a breakthrough in how music was packaged, according to Agence France-Presse.

Paul McCartney had spearheaded the design of the Sgt Pepper cover with the input of his bandmates in what was a landmark of album artwork which, until then, tended to be straightforward photos.

The Beatles are depicted as a brass band with a motley assortment of historical and contemporary characters around them.

The collage on the album cover depicts more than 70 famous people - including writers, musicians and film stars - such as Marlene Dietrich, Bob Dylan, Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde and Laurel and Hardy.

Record label EMI apparently vetoed the inclusion of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of India's independence movement, fearing it would provoke a backlash from his followers.

John Lennon's controversial request, it seems, to include Jesus Christ and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, was also turned down.

New and older fans of Sgt Pepper can also look forward to a reissue of the album on May 26, with remixed recordings from the Sgt Pepper recording sessions.

Over in Liverpool, where the Fab Four began their career, a three-week Sgt Pepper arts festival will be held from May 25.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2017, with the headline 'BBC show to mark 50th anniversary of Sgt Pepper album'. Print Edition | Subscribe