Music: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
We hope you will enjoy the show.Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
is the eighth studio album by The Beatles
, released in 1967. It is a loose Concept Album
, that sees The Beatles performing as the fictitious band of the album's title
During the "summer of love" in 1967 the album was such a colossal international success that one can practically speak of a cultural phenomenon. It became a benchmark for Concept Albums
and Psychedelic Rock
, and an influence on Progressive Rock
. Many claim it to be one of The Beatles
best albums, if not their Magnum Opus
. Even people who favor other Beatles albums can't deny the historical and cultural importance of this album that has basically become a byword for "ambitious album masterpiece." It's often at or near the top spot in "Best Albums of All Time" lists, and sold over 32 million copies worldwide. The title track, "With A Little Help From My Friends", "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" and "A Day In The Life" all became hits, while fan favourites like the title track, "She's Leaving Home" and "When I'm Sixty-Four" have also become iconic.
It inspired many Sgt. Peppers Shout Outs
over the years, as well as a cinematic flop
starring The Bee Gees
and Peter Frampton
. The very first episode of the music album documentary series Classic Albums
was devoted to this album. In 2003 it was included in the National Recording Registry
for its "historical, cultural and aesthetical importance." Time Magazine
included the record in their 2006 list of 100 timeless and essential albums.
Tracklist: Side One
- "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (2:02)
- "With A Little Help From My Friends" (2:44)
- "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" (3:28)
- "Getting Better" (2:48)
- "Fixing A Hole" (2:36)
- "She's Leaving Home" (3:35)
- "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!" (2:37)
- "Within You Without You" (5:04)
- "When I'm Sixty-Four" (2:37)
- "Lovely Rita" (2:42)
- "Good Morning Good Morning" (2:41)
- "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)" (1:19)
- "A Day In The Life" (5:39)
- George Harrison - guitar, backing and lead vocals, sitar, tamboura, harmonica, kazoo, maracas
- John Lennon - lead vocals, guitar, piano, organ, harmonica, percussion, tambourine, maracas, sound effects
- Paul McCartney - lead vocals, bass, guitar, piano, organ, percussion, sound effects
- Ringo Starr - drums, backing and lead vocals, harmonica, piano, congas, tambourine, maracas, chimes
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the Trope Namer for:
"We're Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Trope Band, we hope you will enjoy the show":
- Aborted Arc: Apart from the Intro, the introduction of Ringo Starr in the persona of "Billy Shears" at the beginning of "With A Little Help From My Friends", and the Reprise, the album largely ignores the "concept" of the Sergeant and his band.
- Album Filler: John only composed "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" (which basically transcribed a circus poster he had purchased at an auction) because he didn't have enough songs.
- Alter Ego Acting: Paul devised a concept of the Beatles recording the album as if they were the fictional Sgt. Pepper's band, in an attempt to get the Beatles to rethink how they were going to work in the studio, and to escape the expectations of Beatlemania and start anew. The facade was somewhat abandoned as the songs took shape — aside from the title song, its reprise, and "With A Little Help From My Friends" — but the album was still shaped by the idea of abandoning their pop-star personae and doing things in the studio that The Beatles wouldn't be expected to do.
- Book Ends: The title track and its reprise (with "A Day in the Life" being an encore)
- Boring but Practical: The line about "4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire" was inspired by a newspaper article. Lennon was really flabbergasted that someone would spent his time to count the amount of holes he could find in a city. The boring activity did inspire one of the best songs on the album, though.
- But Now I Must Go:
- "She's Leaving Home'', where a girl runs away from home.
- The reprise of the title track
We're Sgt. Peppers' Lonely Hearts Club Band/ we're sorry, but it's time to go.
- Call-and-Response Song: "With a Little Help from My Friends" and "Getting Better".
- Captain Obvious: "Sgt.Peppers"
That the singer's going to sing a song...
- Comedic Sociopathy: From "A Day In The Life"
And though the news was rather sad/ I just had to laugh/ I saw the photograph.
- Concept Album: Besides the title tracks, it attempts to be like a concert. The concept was that The Beatles were pretending to be another band and doing the kind of songs that that band would do instead of just making an album as themselves. Although there is intense debate over whether it actually is a concept album proper, since apart from the two title songs and "With a Little Help from My Friends" the concept of 'the fictional band's concert' doesn't really develop much further; Lennon himself said that he wasn't working to this idea and that his songs, at least, could have easily gone on any other album.
- Contemplative Boss: On the back cover Paul stands with his back to the viewer.
- Corpsing: A stock sound effect of people laughing can be heard at the end of "Within, Without You".
- Creator Cameo: Wax statues of The Beatles themselves (in their mop top outfits) can be seen on the left side of the album cover.
- Day In The Life: "A Day in the Life"
- Design Student's Orgasm: The album cover, so full of details that you never get tired from looking at it. It was designed by pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth from an ink drawing by Paul. Robert Fraser did the art-direction and Michael Cooper the photography.
- Domestic Abuser: "Getting Better".
I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved!
- Epic Rocking: "A Day in the Life", which has parts by both John and Paul.
- Epic raga-rocking in "Within You Without You".
- Face on the Cover: A group shot of the band, although as noted, they have a lot of company.
- Fading into the Next Song: Both the title track and the reprise do this to the song that follows.
- Fake Band: This is supposedly an album by "Sergeant Peppers' Lonely Hearts Club Band". The Beatles even changed their image to look like another band with their old selves as part of the crowd on the cover to boot.
- Falling Bass: "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".
- Fleeting Demographic Rule: Variation. Before this album, The Beatles had been putting out albums and touring almost unendingly, and they were feeling burned out. So, from this album onward, they decided to stop touring and take their time working on the album instead of working as hectically as they had been. However, since that meant the album took much longer to be completed and the band wasn't making any official public appearances during the process, the perceived decreased productivity of the band in the public's eye led critics to declare that the band was officially dead. These people were proven to be very wrong.
- The Future Will Be Better: "Getting Better".
I have to admit it's getting better, a little better all the time
It can't get no worse.
- Genre Roulette: Music hall, jazz, rock and roll, classical music, Indian music...
- Gratuitous German: At the end of "Good Morning Good Morning".
- Grow Old with Me: "When I'm Sixty-Four" (and now consider the fact that Paul McCartney got divorced shortly before his 64th birthday).
- Hell Is That Noise: "A Day In The Life". Twice. Especially noticeable in Mono, because it's impossible to tell exactly when it starts - iit just emerges from the background.
- Hermit Guru: "Within Without You", which has philosopical lyrics that, due to the sitar arrangement, come across as the wise teachings of an Indian guru.
- Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure: The lyrics to "A Day in the Life" are the reason why some people use the Albert Hall as a measure of comparative volume.
- Iconic Outfit: The marching band outfits from the cover.
- Intercourse with You: At the end of "Lovely Rita".
- I Will Find You: The protagonist in "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" searches for the girl with caleidoscope eyes and finds her in the end.
- Kaleidoscope Eyes: "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is the Trope Namer.
- Last Note Nightmare: "Within You Without You" ends with laughter coming out of nowhere. "A Day in the Life" ends with an orchestra exploding, a long note fading out and a loop of one line repeated forever.
- Line-of-Sight Name: The name "Sgt. Pepper" came from salt and pepper recipients.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Getting Better", and the opening of "Good Morning, Good Morning"
- Match Cut: The rooster crowing in "Good Morning, Good Morning" to the guitar of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)".
- Mind Screw:
I'm fixing a hole, when the rain gets in/ to stop my mind from wandering/ where it will go?
- Mundane Made Awesome:
- "A Day In The Life", in which someone reads the news and another person gets up in the morning to catch the bus to school.
- "Fixing A Hole", about fixing a hole in the ceiling because of the rain.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: All the celebrities on the album cover are photographic cardboard cut-outs or wax statues borrowed from Madame Tussauds. EMI took the precaution of asking every living celebrity on the cover for permission to use their image. Only one person complained and asked a fee, actor Leo Gorcey, who was then painted out of the cover.
- Non-Appearing Title: "A Day in the Life". The whole phrase "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" too.
- One Woman Song: "Lovely Rita", "She's Leaving Home"
- Pep Talk Song: "With A Little Help From My Friends", "Getting Better".
- The Power of Friendship: "With A Little Help From My Friends".
- Pun: "She's Leaving Home": The last word in the chant "we gave her anything money could buy" is repeated again after Paul sings the line "she's leaving home after living alone", sounding like the farewell word "bye bye".
- Real Life Writes the Plot: "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite'' was based on the text of an old circus poster. John Lennon had a Creator Backlash about it later and felt it was the laziest and worst thing he'd ever written.
- Ripped from the Headlines: "She's Leaving Home" was based on a story Paul read in the paper about a girl who ran away from her home. "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" was based on a really old headline...specifically, a poster for one Pablo Fanque's fair that John saw in an antique shop. His verses in "A Day in the Life" are similarly based on various newspaper articles.
- More specifically, the first verse is about the death of London socialite Tara Browne in a drug-fuelled car crash note . The second verse is an allusion to the movie How I Won The War (in which Lennon himself appears). The final verse is referencing a story about potholes in the roads of Blackburn.
- Scenery Porn: The cover.
- Shout-Out: The cover, which got plenty of shout-outs later. See Sgt. Pepper's Shout-Out.
- The doll on the far right of the cover "salutes The Rolling Stones". The Stones returned the nod with a shout-out to The Beatles on Their Satanic Majesties Request.
- Lewis Carroll can be seen on the cover. He inspired Lennon to write "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds".
- Marlon Brando is visible in his The Wild One outfit. The group name "The Beetles" was taken from this movie. Former Beatle member Stu Sutcliffe (who died at a young age) is also present.
- Though, despite these meaningful references, some celebrities featured on the cover are only there for their "groovy sounding names", according to Paul McCartney.
- Paul sings I'm taking the time for a number of things that weren't important yesterday in "Fixing A Hole", which sounds like a subtle Call Back to his hit "Yesterday".
- The line "it's time for tea and "Meet the Wife"" in "Good Morning, Good Morning" refers to the British sitcom "Meet the Wife" (1963-66).
- The Beastie Boys sampled "Sgt. Peppers" and "When I'm 64" during "The Sounds Of Science" from Paul's Boutique.
- Spiritual Successor: Several Sgt. Pepper's Shout-Out albums have been made over the decades.
- Stock Sound Effects:
- Laughter, applause and rumor during the title track.
- Laughter at the end of "Within You, Without You".
- Animal sounds during "Good Morning, Good Morning".
- Subliminal Seduction: This album, more than any other, has been the source of countless Urban Legend stories about hidden messages that appear in the album art work, the lyrics and/or the music. For instance, take the inner groove. Specifically, when it's played backwards it sounds remarkably like "I'll fuck you like Superman!" In Many Years from Now Paul McCartney insists that this was accidental. Listen here. The most famous Fan Dumb theory is the idea that clues to Paul's supposed death in a car accident are hidden in the album art work and the music. Though some of it is far fetched it cannot be denied that some stuff must have been deliberately put in by the band members themselves.
- Throw It In: Almost literally invoked in "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!", when after several attempts to devise a suitably circus-sounding bridge by adding tape loops of calliope music, a frustrated George Martin told engineer Geoff Emerick to cut them up into small strips, throw them up in the air and splice them back together at random.
- Some of the celebrities on the cover were only added because their names "sounded groovy". For instance, soccer player Albert Stubbins was thrown in because Paul remembered that his father used to talk about him when he was younger.
- Title Only Chorus: "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
- Title Track:
We're Sergeant Peppers' Lonely Hearts Club Band
We hope you will enjoy the show.
- Triumphant Reprise: "Sgt. Pepper's... (reprise)"
- Trope Codifier: For Concept Albums.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Sgt. Pepper's... (reprise)"
- Uncommon Time: "Good Morning, Good Morning" is a subversion. John syncopates the verses in a weird way, but they're actually in straight 4/4.
- "Within You Without You" plays it quite straight, being based on Indian ragas in cycles of 10 and 16 beats. The uptempo middle section works out to be in about 5/4, usually.
- Urban Legend: A lot of imagery on the cover and in the lyrics made fans speculate whether these were clues to Paul McCartney's supposed death, or not?
- Wanderlust Song: "She's Leaving Home"
- What Beautiful Eyes: "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" describes a "girl with caleidoscope eyes".
- World Music: George Harrison plays sitar during "Within, Without You", an instrument he learned to master thanks to Ravi Shankar. He played it earlier during "Norwegian Wood" on Rubber Soul (1965) and "Love You To" from Revolver (1966).
- World of Chaos: "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" even provides the quote for that page.
People appearing on the famous cover who have their separate TV Tropes article:
"We're Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
We hope you have enjoyed the show
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
We´re sorry but it's time to go"