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Sgt. Pepper's Shout-Out

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The album cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is one of the most recognizable album covers of all time, if not the most famous. Paul McCartney wanted to change the group's image and as a result all members let their hair and moustaches grow and pretended to be a different band. On the album cover, designed by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, the Beatles pose dressed in military uniforms, surrounded by a celebrity audience chosen by the members themselves. Forty celebrities are either wax works or photo collage cut-outs. Note that originally there were supposed to be several more, but they were censored out by the Beatles' label EMI for being too controversial (including, in a bit of Values Dissonance, Gandhi and Adolf Hitler).

Thanks to its global fame and popularity, many shout-outs to the album have been made throughout the years, especially to the collage album cover. Even Blake himself made a new homage featuring new celebrity cut-outs to celebrate his 80th birthday in 2012.

The Ur-Example is the cover of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention's We're Only in It for the Money, which was released 10 months after Sgt. Pepper in March 1968.

Abbey Road Crossing is another trope based on parodies of another specific Beatles album cover. Also compare Borrowing the Beatles, which addresses parodies of the band itself.


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    Comic Books 
  • Promethea: The cover of issue #10.
  • Mike Allred (Mad Man, X-Statix) once published a miniseries called Red Rocket 7, which took place during the birth of Rock N' Roll and beyond. Because the music genre provided the backdrop, every cover spoofed a different famous album. This was one of them.
  • Gotlib, as a cover for Peter Pervers (the German edit). Appeared on some Fluide Glacial cover too.
  • The Bronze Age Of Comic Books Batman story "Dead Until Proven Alive!" is a No Celebrities Were Harmed riff on the "Paul is Dead" conspiracy. The eponymous Oliver Twists album has a cover based on the back of the Sergeant Pepper cover, complete with "Saul Cartwright" facing away from the camera.

    Comic Strips 
  • In the Star Fox comic originally printed in Nintendo Power, a flashback to Andross's Start of Darkness is capped off by General Pepper admitting that he couldn't do anything about the situation because he was only a sergeant at the time. Cue picture of him and his associates...
  • One Pearls Before Swine treasury is called "Sgt. Piggy's Lonely Hearts Club Comic."

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The end of the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (itself a tribute to The Beatles) features a variety of celebrities in a similar formation to the album cover singing the reprise of the album's title track.
  • Trainspotting: In one scene Renton and his friends are waiting at a railway station, with one of them facing the camera with his back, just like Paul does on the back cover of "Sergeant Peppers".

    Live-Action TV 
  • A 3-D version animated in stop-motion was created for the 1987 special It Was 20 Years Ago Today...., celebrating the 20th anniversary of the album.
  • Gilmore Girls: In the first season episode "Love and War and Snow", when Lorelai sees Lane in her band uniform, she calls her "Sgt. Pepper".

  • As noted, the Ur-Example is Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention's We're Only in It for the Money. The cover art is a less than Affectionate Parody, in that it was created in response to Zappa's feelings that the album was just made to cash in on the whole "flower power" movement. Zappa did call up The Beatles to ask their permission, but Executive Meddling forced him to hide the image inside the gatefold, instead of on the front cover as was intended.
    • Funny enough: Paul McCartney claims that Zappa's debut album, Freak Out, was a major inspiration for "Sgt. Pepper's".
  • Jan Fukumachi's electronic cover of the album is a backwards version.
  • Sgt. Rutter's Only Darts Club Band by The Rutles. (which is the original with only the flower lettering, the bass drum, and the faces of the Beatles changed)
  • Sgt. Pepper's by the band Big Daddy, a re-recording of the whole album as if it was made in the 1950s (i.e. "Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds" In the Style of Jerry Lee Lewis).
  • The album "K" by Kula Shaker features a collage of celebrities whose names start with the letter "K".
  • Brazilian artist Zé Ramalho made one with people from the Brazilian Northeast. Ramalho's Beatles Cover Album went for With the Beatles instead.
  • Some examples can be found here
  • A Belgian compilation album from 1990 featuring several Belgian artists covering songs by other artists also parodied "Sgt. Peppers". The various celebrities portrayed on the album cover were all photographs of well known Flemish celebrities'.
  • Maine-based rapper Spose parodied the Sgt. Pepper cover for his rarities compilation "The Yard Sale," released through Kickstarter.
  • A budget compilation called The Monster Mash Rock'N'Roll Party had four headless "New Beatles" types standing in front of a staggered grouping of headstones and behind a drum with the record's title on it. Underneath the drum, flowers are arranged to spell "MONSTER," and the sky behind is orange with streaks of lightning. Image here
  • The Def Leppard album Songs From The Sparkle Lounge combines older and more recent pictures of the band members with celebrities as different as Abraham Lincoln and the Mona Lisa.
  • Macabre's Sinister Slaughter album cover features various serial killers and mass murderers in homage to Sgt. Pepper.
  • Even the Beatles did this in their solo careers. Check out the cover to Ringo Starr's 1973 album Ringo, which revitalized his career, featuring a colorful painting depicting the famous musicians who participated on the album. George Harrison's Dark Horse, which used a fanciful tinted version of one of his old school group photos inside a painted lotus blossom, wasn't specifically intended as one (it was meant as a Shout-Out to Terry Gilliam's animation) but it certainly recalls Pepper.
  • Princess Leia's Stolen Death Star Plans features the cast of Star Wars on the cover in a similar matter. (Justified, as the album is composed of Filk Songs based on the original album.)
  • Cab City Combo has this for the cover of their album "Cabbie Road".
  • Subverted by the Beatles themselves in the music video for "Free as a Bird", released as part of the Anthology project. The video pays homage to and includes easter eggs to numerous Beatles songs and significant moments in their career, but at one point the camera tracks through a room full of diverse people having a drink and chatting amongst themselves, until the camera quickly pans past the famous "Sgt. Pepper" drum and set-up. The implication is that these people are the notables who appeared on the cover having gathered for a little party after the photograph was taken.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The cover to the Attitude Era DVD includes everyone from "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to the clown from the "This is Your Life" segment.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The page image is a poster advertising the 2011 Sesame Street DVD Singing With the Stars, with Muppet characters from throughout Sesame Street's history, including the original orange Oscar and dopey Big Bird in the place of the early Beatles. The bust is replaced by one of Sesame Street composer Joe Raposo, with Big Bird's drawing of Mr. Hooper next to it.
  • In the Tony Bennett episode of Muppets Tonight, Johnny Fiama has a copy of Sergeant Tony's Lonely Hearts Club Gang, which apparently came out a week before those other guys did it. Apart from changing the lettering, the cover is identical, including the Beatles.
  • In The Muppet Show, and subsequent Muppet stuff, Floyd, the bassist for the Electric Mayhem, is usually wearing a Sergeant Pepper uniform. His full name is sometimes given as Sgt. Floyd Pepper.

    Web Comics 
  • Kevin & Kell has a cast picture like this. Note that the "classic Beatles" are replaced by the "human Dewclaws".
  • Erfworld has the mage Jojo, who wears a coat similar to George Harrison's and whose nickname is a Shout-Out to a song from a different Beatles album ("Get Back").
  • Webcomics site Webcomic Underdogs had members collaborating in this shoutout featuring characters of their webcomics for the yearly anniversary of the site.
  • This unused cover for a trade paperback collection of Ozy and Millie.

    Web Original 
  • Viewer Garrison made one for The Funday Pawpet Show to honor the show's 100th episode. The crowd was made up of RealPlayer images of past guests and the band members changed to Mutt, Arthur, Poink and Yappy.
  • A "20 best hip hop albums of all time" list earned this treatment.
  • Uncyclopedia has an article on The Batles, including the cover art for their album Sgt. Dark Knight's Lonely Batcave Band Returns.

    Western Animation