Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

US Release: May 26, 1967 (Rush Release)

Capitol Records (S)MAS 2653

UK Release: June 1, 1967 (noted as the official release date)

Parlophone Records PMC 7027 (Mono) ● PCS 7027 (Stereo)

Produced by: George Martin

Side One

 

  1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

  2. With a Little Help from My Friends

  3. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

  4. Getting Better

  5. Fixing a Hole

  6. She's Leaving Home

  7. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!

Additional musicians and production

 

  • Sounds Incorporated – the saxophone sextet on “Good Morning, Good Morning”

  • Neil Aspinall – tamboura and harmonica

  • Geoff Emerick – audio engineering; tape loops and sound effects

  • Mal Evans – counting, harmonica, alarm clock and final piano E chord

  • George Martin – producer and mixer; tape loops and sound effects; harpsichord on “Fixing a Hole”, harmonium, Lowrey organ and glockenspiel on “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”, Hammond organ on “With a Little Help from My Friends”, and piano on “Getting Better” and the piano solo in “Lovely Rita”; final harmonium chord.

 

  • four French horns on “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band”: Neill Sanders, James W. Buck, John Burden, Tony Randall (arranged and conducted by Martin and McCartney)

  • string section and harp on “She's Leaving Home” (arranged by Mike Leander and conducted by Martin)

  • harmonium, tabla, sitar, dilruba, eight violins and four cellos on “Within You, Without You” (arranged and conducted by Harrison and Martin)

  • clarinet trio on “When I'm Sixty-Four”: Robert Burns, Henry MacKenzie, Frank Reidy (arranged and conducted by Martin and McCartney)

  • saxophones on “Good Morning, Good Morning”, arranged and conducted by Martin and Lennon; and forty-piece orchestra, including strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion on “A Day in the Life” (arranged by Martin, Lennon and McCartney and conducted by Martin and McCartney)

Side Two

 

  1. Within You Without You

  2. When I'm Sixty-Four

  3. Lovely Rita

  4. Good Morning Good Morning

  5. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

  6. A Day in the Life

From Wikipedia:

Sgt. Pepper is The Beatles 8th U.K. release and their 11th in the U.S. The album hit #1 in Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Germany, the U.K. selling well over 6 million copies. it is the first album to be released identically in both the U.K. and the U.S. markets.

 

 

In February 1967, after recording the track, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", McCartney suggested that the Beatles should release an entire album that would represent a performance by the fictional Sgt. Pepper band. This alter ego group would give them the freedom to experiment musically.

During the recording sessions, the band endeavoured to improve upon the production quality of their prior releases. Knowing they would not have to perform the tracks live, they adopted an experimental approach to composition, writing songs such as "With a Little Help from My Friends", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "A Day in the Life".

 

Producer George Martin's innovative recording of the album included the liberal application of sound shaping signal processing and the use of a 40-piece orchestra performing aleatoric crescendos. Recording was completed on 21 April 1967. The cover, depicting the band posing in front of a tableau of celebrities and historical figures, was designed by the British pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth.

 

"Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" were subsequently released as a double A-side in February 1967 after EMI and Epstein pressured Martin for a single. When it failed to reach number one in the UK, British press agencies speculated that the group's run of success might have ended, with headlines such as "Beatles Fail to Reach the Top", "First Time in Four Years" and "Has the Bubble Burst?"

 

After its release, at Epstein's insistence, the single tracks were not included on the LP. Martin later described the decision to drop these two songs as "the biggest mistake of my professional life".

Nonetheless, in his judgment, "Strawberry Fields Forever", which he and the band spent an unprecedented 55 hours of studio time recording, "set the agenda for the whole album".

 

He explained: "It was going to be a record ... [with songs that] couldn't be performed live: they were designed to be studio productions and that was the difference."

 

McCartney's goal was to make the best Beatles album yet, declaring: "Now our performance is that record." On 6 December 1966 the group began work on "When I'm Sixty-Four", the first track that would be included on the album.