"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fun with Acronyms: "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" seems to stand for LSD, yet the group always denied it.
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.
Hidden Track: Actually the first ever example of this and thus the Trope Namer. After the final song, "A Day In The Life" a short little tapeloop can be heard: "Never could be any other way", repeated until a Fade Out comes in.
The above is actually an attempt to reconstruct what happens on the vinyl album. By The Sixties most record players had an autoreturn mechanism on the stylus arm, but cheap or old models would not return when they went into the runoff region of the disc. Instead they'd circulate forever in a catch groove in the middle of the record, making an annoying distinctive click-kaclick-kaclick-kaclick noise as the record turned. One of the Beatles wondered if it was possible to press an actual short loop of sound into the catch groove. The result was if you played "Sgt Peppers" on a cheap 60s vintage record player, you'd hear it repeat that short weird message forever instead of the ka-click noise. Also, the moment of "silence" between the end of "A Day In The Life" and the catch groove actually contains a noise pitched higher than humans could hear. The idea was it was supposed to set dogs off barking!
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.
"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.
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".
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 at least for Lennon, who was friends with Browne; in the Wikipedia article, McCartney claims to have been thinking of a generic politician when he and Lennon co-wrote that verse. 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.
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" (1963-1966).
In the The Simpsons episode Last Exit To Springfield Lisa goes into a surreal dream sequence while under narcosis, with imagery from Yellow Submarine. As she flies through the sky The Beatles pass by and say: "Look it's Lisa in the sky", while one of them adds: "Yes, no diamonds, though."
In Lisa The Vegatarian Lisa runs away from home. When Paul McCartney (special guest voice in this episode) hears of this he asks: She's leaving home?
Laughter, applause and rumor during the title track.
Laughter at the end of "Within, Without You".
Animal sounds during "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 NowPaul 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, like for instance Paul on the back cover standing with his back to the camera for no particular reason and a lot of references to car accidents that started off with he blew his mind out in a car in A Day In The Life.
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.