Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

During the Sgt Pepper sessions Ringo Starr was aware that The Beatles were doing their best work to date, although he learned to live with the sporadic nature of the recording sessions.

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Sgt Pepper was our grandest endeavour. It gave everybody - including me - a lot of leeway to come up with ideas and to try different material. John and Paul would write songs at home, usually - or wherever they were - and bring them in and say, 'I've got this.' The actual writing process was getting to be separate by now, but they'd come in with bits and help each other, and we'd all help. The great thing about the band was that whoever had the best idea (it didn't matter who), that would be the one we'd use. No one was standing on their ego, saying, 'Well, it's mine,' and getting possessive. Always, the best was used. That's why the standard of the songs always remained high. Anything could happen, and that was an exciting process. I got to hang out and listen to it unfolding, although I wasn't there every day.

As we got up to Sgt Pepper, George Martin had really become an integral part of it all. We were putting in strings, brass, pianos, etc, and George was the only one who could write it all down. He was also brilliant. One of them would mention: 'Oh, I'd like the violin to go "de de diddle",' or whatever, and George would catch it and put it down. He became part of the band.

John, Paul and George - the writers - were putting whatever they wanted on the tracks, and we were spending a long time in the studio. We were still recording the basic tracks as we always did, but it would take weeks to do the overdubs for the strings or whatever, and then the percussion would be overdubbed later and later. Sgt Pepper was great for me, because it's a fine album - but I did learn to play chess while we were recording it.

Ringo Starr

An early version of the tracklisting had the songs on side one in a slightly different order, possibly in an attempt to prolong the idea of the stage show. In early April 1967 the album had the songs in this order: Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; With A Little Help From My Friends; Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!; Fixing A Hole; Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds; Getting Better; She's Leaving Home.

The final Sgt Pepper recording session took place on 21 April 1967. Creative to the last, The Beatles decided that there should be no silence at the end of the album. Instead, they recorded a burst of nonsensical gibberish which was pressed in the album's run-out groove - following a brief high-pitched 15 kHz tone intended for dogs.

They were all there discussing how to end the LP but the decision to throw in a bit of nonsense gibberish came together in about 10 minutes. They ran down to the studio floor and we recorded them twice - on each track of a two-track tape. They made funny noises, said random things; just nonsense. We chopped up the tape, put it back together, played it backwards and threw it in.

It took Harry [Moss, disc cutter] about eight attempts to get it right because the slightest incorrect placing of a stylus at the very beginning of the LP side can put the concentric groove out. We had to enquire if putting musical content in the run-out groove would tear the metal when the records are stamped out at the factory.

Geoff Emerick
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

The cover artwork

Although the music of Sgt Pepper was a major step forward for popular music, the cover concept was also a considerable innovation. It nearly didn't happen, however. The Beatles had to be talked out of using an illustration by The Fool, the design group that painted the mural on the side of the Apple shop in London.

The whole mood of that was quite interesting, because the original part of the commission was based on the fact that Robert [Fraser, art director] absolutely hated the original of the cover by this group called The Fool. He thought it looked like psychedelic Disneyland, which it did. It was a mountain with all these little creatures on it, slightly cartoony. Robert said to The Beatles, ‘You just cannot have this cover, it's not good enough. You should get Peter and Jann to do it.'
Jann Haworth
Groovy Bob, Harriet Vyner

Alternative cover artwork for Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, designed by The Fool

Peter Blake and Jann Haworth were married at the time, and had exhibited separately at the Robert Fraser Gallery in Duke Street, Mayfair. Fraser was a key figure in Swinging London's art scene, and had an unerring knack for spotting important artistic talent at an early stage.

98 responses on “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

  1. Julio

    If you think about it, Pepper is the beginning of the end. They are not playing or working together as group. Paul’s solo album, although the minimal contributions from John are what give the album weight and soul. George contributes very little to this album except for of course his masterpiece “within and within out you.” Paul plays most of the led guitar. Let it be ,which is always seen as the band falling apart actually has them playing as a unit.It is nice to seem them play on the roof.

      1. Julio

        Yes, Paul’s solo album. He wrote the majority of the songs and contributed greatly to Jonn’s 4 songs. It was Paul who came up with the great intro melody to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, instructed John on the vocal phrasing, wrote half of the lyrics, plays great the melodic base throughout. WIthout Paul, Lucy just does not work. His contributions to Day in the Life are well documented, conducted orchestra, plays the ever essential piano and base part, not to mention the middle eight, and instructed Ringo’s great drum fills. He plays all of the lead guitar solos with exception of fixing a hole. Pepper was Paul’s dream, that is why the others hate it so much. John was jealous for the attention it got, George was never really involved (his heart was in India) and Ringo was bore out of his mind (learned how to play chess).

          1. Julio

            For starters read Emmerick’s book, and Barry Miles’ book. If you are not a reader just watch anthology and listen to how john, george, ringo do not speak very fondly about pepper but paul loves it.

            1. Mbook

              I think if anything Julio’s comments are unflattering toward Paul more than toward the others. They’re also accurate according to everything I’ve read about this album, inluding the above article on this site.

            2. alex

              it really is ridiculous and stupid to call an album where Ringo has his best vocal and drum performances, George has a great song and John has more than 2 of the most revolutionary classics, a Paul solo album. they didn’t speak very fondly of making the White Album either and Paul still loves that one and that’s not a solo album by any means. I see what you’re doing you’re trying to be controversial but the fact is your little dumb theory doesn’t hold up against the facts .you have to exclude a bunch of real things that happened to make your little idea hold up. Sorry buddy

              1. Joseph Scott

                “they didn’t speak very fondly of making the White Album either” That’s kind of a myth that going in the Beatles books over the years, more than what they actually said.

        1. chucky

          You forget to precise that Ringo said concerning Sgt.Pepper’s : ” We done a great album”

          (he never said: it’s a great album of Paul)

          Because one day Ringo said, he learned how to play chess, some people tries to pretend to be experts. So, they said : “Hey, i’m a specialist, I discovered something. Sgt.Pepper’s, it’s not an album of The Beatles, it’s an album of Paul McCartney. Do you want a evidence? Ringo said he learned how to play chess.
          So it’s the evidence that he didn’t participate to the sessions of Sgt.Pepper’s”

        2. EltonJohnLennon

          I think you’re wrong. Yes, Paul wrote the majority of the song but John also contributed something to his songs (“Getting Better” and “She’s Leaving Home”). And who wrote the intro of Lucy in the Sky? It was John. Doesn’t matter if Paul played it. I don’t think he has anything to do with this song. He is the only one who says that he wrote it together with John.

          1. sebastian mora

            Lennon sais this in his Rolling stone interview 1970:

            Jann WENNER (journalist):
            “There are no “newspaper taxis.”
            Actually, that’s Paul’s line.


            So Mccartney was telling the truth.

            In fact, lucy in the sky authorship was one the reasons why McCartney decided to release the book many years from now:


            I think Paul’s opinion about who wrote lucy in the sky is as important as lennon´s, and more important than anybody else opinions. He was there, he was half of the writing team, not you or any “beatles expert”.

            Ps: Paul helped in mr kite and co wrote A day in the life.

              1. Sebastian Mora

                Playboy interview 1984


                PLAYBOY: “‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!’?

                Paul: “That was taken directly off a poster John had. A circus poster.WE stretched it a bit.”

                Taken from the book Paul McCartney Many years from no:

                PAUL: ‘Mr Kite’ was a poster that John had in his house in Weybridge. I arrived there for a session one day and he had it up on the wall in his living room. It was all there, the trampoline, the somersets, the hoops, the garters, the horse. It was Pablo Fanque’s fair, and it said ‘being for the benefit of Mr Kite’; almost the whole song was written right off this poster. We just sat down and wrote it. We pretty much took it down word for word and then just made up some little bits and pieces to glue it together. It was more John’s because it was his poster so he ended up singing it, but it was quite a co-written song. We were both sitting there to write it at his house, just looking at it on the wall in the living room. But that was nice, it wrote itself very easily. Later George Martin put a fairground sound on it.


                Some extra, info about paul´s contribution to Lucy… :

                Confusion over Paul’s work in the Beatles sometimes extends to the Inner Circle. Paul even had to assure George Martin that he had co-written ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. ‘I remember going to John’s house and him showing me Julian’s drawing [from school], and John saying: “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Good title, eh?” And we wrote it: it’s John and me doing something like a Lewis Carroll. Now, John will have told George Martin that he had this great new song. He won’t have told him: “Hey, yesterday Paul came to my house and we wrote it together.” You don’t. You just say: “I’ve got this new one.” George would say: “Super, John, it’s lovely.” And he would assume it’s John’s song. In a recent book by George [Martin] it very nearly went down as one of John’s solo compositions. So I find myself these days trying to fight for some of the credit, particularly because John’s died in such crazy circumstances.’

                Taken from the book Paul McCartney Yesterday and Today by Ray Coleman.


                Taken from the book Paul McCartney Many years from now:

                PAUL: I went up to John’s house in Weybridge. When I arrived we were having a cup of tea, and he said, ‘Look at this great drawing Julian’s done. Look at the title!’ He showed me a drawing on school paper, a five-by-seven-inch piece of paper, of a little girl with lots of stars, and right across the top there was written, in very neat child handwriting, I think in pencil, ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. So I said, ‘What’s that mean?’, thinking, Wow, fantastic title! John said, ‘It’s Lucy, a friend of his from school. And she’s in the sky.’ Julian had drawn stars, and then he thought they were diamonds. They were child’s stars, there’s a way to draw them with two triangles, but he said diamonds because they can be interpreted as diamonds or stars. And we loved it and she was in the sky and it was very trippy to us. So we went upstairs and started writing it. People later thought ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ was LSD. I swear we didn’t notice that when it came out, in actual fact, if you want to be pedantic you’d have to say it is LITSWD, but of course LSD is a better story.

                PAUL: John had the title and he had the first verse. It started off very Alice in Wonderland: ‘Picture yourself in a boat, on a river …’ It’s very Alice. Both of us had read the Alice books and always referred to them, we were always talking about ‘Jabber-wocky’ and we knew those more than any other books really. And when psychedelics came in, the heady quality of them was perfect. So we just went along with it. I sat there and wrote it with him: I offered ‘cellophane flowers’ and ‘newspaper taxis’ and John replied with ‘kaleidoscope eyes’. I remember which was which because we traded words off each other, as we always did … And in our mind it was an Alice thing, which both of us loved.

              2. Sebastian Mora

                “It seems as though Paul waited until after December 8, 1980 to “set the record straight”.”

                Well, only after december 8 1980, “beatles experts” began to write thousands books about “who wrote what” in The beatles, and spread the word that lennon was god, and paul just a lucky guy who met him. They didnt ask Paul about his version, so he released his semi autobiography Many years from now, after eighteen years of taking shit from people like you that dont believe him, because dont want to hear something that is obvious: Mccartney contributed to Lennon´s beatles stuff, just as john contributed paul´s.
                In the 70´s, Paul didnt need to set the record straigth, the lennon myth didnt exist, and paul was by far the most successful and popular ex beatle, even if he wasnt the critics ´s fave.
                If you need to hear again paul´s explanation why he need to set the record straight after Lennon´s dead, go again to to

        3. Don

          Since there are references in this trail to Anthology as the source that Ringo, John, and George hated Pepper I would point out that that is not correct. If you really examine Anthology what you find is that each Paul, George, and Ringo specifically expressed “favorite” Beatles albums. To wit; Ringo – “I loved the White Album”. George – “Rubber soul and Revolver were very happy records and could have been 1”, Paul was clearly deferrent to Pepper, and interestingly John seemed to be partial to the good points in all of the albums…

        4. the real sgt pepper

          Although it isnt a personel favourite of mine. i do feel that it was a passing phase of the beatles. the other beatles seem quite compliant toward the album, as if on musical Auto was like handing the keys to paul and seeing what he could do. but still keeping him in check.

    1. Joseph Brush

      Sgt. Pepper was a time of cooperation from everyone in the group.
      There were no walkouts, or bickering for Pepper as there was in the Get Back/Let It Be sessions.
      Paul’s quantity of songs doesn’t equal John (and George’s) quality of songs.
      As for Paul playing most of the lead guitar, according to you, check each guitar track for each song on this site!

    2. chucky

      1 – ” They are not playing or working together as group.”


      Totally wrong : Every days together (except Sundays) for 4 consecutive months!

      George contributes very little to this album except for of course his masterpiece “within and within out you.”



      1 – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band : Vocals, Guitar

      2- With A Little Help From My Friends : Lead Guitar

      3 – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds : Backing Vocals, Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Tambura

      4 – Getting Better : Backing Vocals, Lead Guitar, Tambura

      5 – Fixing A Hole : Backing Vocals, Lead Guitar

      6 – Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite! : Harmonica

      7 – Within You Without You : Vocals, Sitar, Acoustic Guitar, Tambura

      8 – When I’m Sixty-Four : Backing Vocals

      9 – Lovely Rita : Backing Vocals, Electric Slide Guitar, Acoustic Rhythm Guitar, Comb and Paper

      10 – Good Morning Good Morning : Backing Vocals, Lead Guitar

      11 – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) : Vocals, Lead guitar

      12 – A Day In The Life : Maracas

      Like you see, George played on 11 songs and he sing on 9 songs

      He composed only one songs?

      If you listen Led Zeppelin, all the songs was credited ” Jimmy Page/Robert Plant”

      So, if you consider ” George contributes very little to this album ” because he composed one song, so we can say that John Bonham and John Paul Jones was absent on albums of Led Zeppelin.

      Like “Led Zeppelin IV” is an album of Led Zeppelin (and not an album of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant), Sgt.Pepper’s is an album of The Beatles ( and not an album of Lennon/McCartney)

      Sgt.Pepper’s is an album of The Beatles.

        1. alex

          first of all you said Paul solo album not Paul dominant I like how youre changing your story it’s very pathetic I also like how you play out the smallest example of georges contributions. By the way those maracas are actually kind of iconic in the song. so you can keep sliding down your little mountain pathetically 😉

    3. LOMAN

      I’ve heard people say that same bull about Abbey Road…”Paul’s album”. I would remind you that these are both Beatles albums! Just because Paul cared more towards the end and put forth greater effort in the recording and production of said albums does not make them his albums. To state that as fact you downplay the importance of songs like “Lucy in the Sky…” and “For the Benefit..” on Sgt. Pepper’s and songs like “Come Together” and “I Wany You (She’s So Heavy)” on Abbey Road. I know that that second side of Abbey Road was Paul’s conception and really was his creation, but it would not have been worth s#!t without the “Sun King”/Mr.Mustard”/”Pam” section…all songs by Lennon.
      p.s. I do think they should have included “Only a Northern Song” on Sgt. Pepper!

      1. George Demake

        Are you kidding me?
        Only a Northern song is perhaps the most unimaginative song George ever wrote. Why do you think it was relegated to the Yellow Submarine Soundtrack, along with “Its All too Much”?

    4. Frank

      Paul’s solo album. Except ringo sings lead on With a little help from my friends, one of the best song of pepper. John sings lead and wrote Lucy in the sky, mr kite, good morning good morning and is the centrepiece of a day in the life, the greatest song of all time. Not to mention Within You Without You, which Paul doesn’t even play on. It can’t be a Paul solo album if there’s a song without Paul now can it Julio.

  2. Elsewhere Man

    When did it become fashionable to downplay Sgt. Pepper? I agree with the common belief these days that Revolver is a better group effort and their best album overall but that doesn’t take away from the greatness of Pepper. It’s still a stunning masterpiece…

    1. Julio

      I love the album too. I just think that it is interesting to view it as such a pinnacle for the group when it is more of a Mccartney solo album. I prefer the white album, Revolver, Rubber Soul, Abbey Road over Pepper. But don’t get me wrong I love em all, I am a Beatle nut!

  3. Joseph Brush

    Barry Miles has been close to Paul since mid-1960’s.
    Many Years From Now gives Paul credit for every innovation by the Beatles.
    This McCartney-acolyte labels John as a “manoeuvring swine”.
    It reads more like a press kit than an objective book.

    1. paulsbass

      How can you call Pepper “John’s album”??
      According to people working with the Beatles in the studio Lennon was extremely little interested in working on the songs, even his own!

      Paul’s bass lines in all of Lennon’s (few) songs are amazing, as is his guitar solo in “Good morning”, as is the intro to “Lucy”, as is his incredible piano part in “A day in the life”. Many great aspects about John’s song were accomplished by the arrangements of George Martin (animals, Mr. Kite’s crazy organ, orchestra on “A day in the life, supported by Paul etc.)

      He was the driving force behind the album. I still wouldn’t call it his “solo” album, since it was the four of them that made The Beatles so legendary. And of course the others contributed greatly. Imagine George Harrison NOT bringing up his sworde-mandel or the tambura! Imagine Ringo NOT doing “With a little help” and all this wonderful drums. Imagine John doing NOT those fantastic vocals on “A day in the life” or the greece choir part on “She’s leaving home”. It was still an excellent group effort.

      But it should be still obvious that Paul was the major force, writing most of the songs, playing all those essential musical parts, being involved and interested in the production the most.

      1. EltonJohnLennon

        The animal sounds on “Good Morning” were Johns idea. And the orchestral arrangement on “A Day in the Life” was created collaboratively by George Martin, John Lennon and Paul McCarntey.

      2. GniknuS

        You McCartney fans are nuts, yes we get it, Paul is a musical god and without him the Beatles would have been less successful than a Ringo-less Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Paul’s album? If you believe that the intro and reprise, Fixing a Hole, Getting Better and Lovely Rita “make” this album great, then so be it, but I’ve never seen those songs as more than filler. Great and inventive filler, but still not exactly great songs. She’s Leaving Home is jaw droppingly beautiful but the best songs, to me at least, are Lucy in the Sky and A Day in the Life, and while A Day in the Life was obviously a collaborative effort, there’s no question as to who’s part is more monumental and awe inspiring. I don’t think anyone’s trying to take anything away from Paul, but saying this is a solo McCartney album is laughable.

        1. paulsbass

          So who called it Paul’s “solo album”???
          I surely didn’t!
          Please re-read my posting where I explicitly said the excact opposite.
          Also re-read the parts where I described Macca’s influence on your favourite songs.

  4. Matt Elwood

    Probably the most overrated album in history!

    Sgt Pepper/Reprise
    Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
    A Day In The Life
    Shes Leaving Home
    Lovely Rita

    Are the best songs on that album, Is it better than Rubber Soul/Revolver/The White Album for Me it isn’t, It made a large impact because of the feel of it within the physchedelic era of the 60’s plus it soothes alot of ego’s for the McCartney fanbase (By the way Im a fan of Paul its just some people try to take away credit from the John, George, Ringo on this album even though A Day In The Life is probably the greatest Beatle’s song of all time and its mainly a Lennon composition)

  5. EltonJohnLennon

    This is a really good album. But it’s not the best Beatles album. There are a lot of good songs on it but there is just one real masterpiece: “A Day in the Life”.

    Paul may have written the majority of the songs but the most famous songs on this album are “A Day in the Life” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. And both are generally seen as Lennon compositions.

  6. Joseph Brush

    Yes indeed, Pepper is not the best Beatles album!
    My favourite feature of Pepper are the backing vocals and/or the responses (Greek chorus if you will).
    As well as the two tracks mentioned above I still enjoy:
    Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite, She’s Leaving Home, Good Morning, Good Morning and Within You, Without You.
    The rest I skip over most of the time I play Pepper.

  7. beatleKen

    It was John and Paul’s album mainly, George wasnt very interested in it,nor Ringo. AND Paul did play most of the lead guitar parts. BUT ITS STILL THE BEATLES

  8. Whatever

    In my opinion, it is Paul’s album because he dominates it. His ideas were made for this album. John’s songs could have gone to any other album and the same happens to George.

    However, I don’t see it as a flawless album because Paul successfully fails. Paul was incredibly influenced by Pet Sounds and it is obvious in certain songs but I don’t see him winning. Furthermore, I see that Paul’s songs were an attempt to be better than John’s but he also loses. For example, “Penny Lane” is not even close to “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “She’s Leaving Home” was a nice try but “A Day In The Life” also wins. They both have the same origins and, when it is put in that way, Lennon’s mind wins without a doubt.

    PS: I love The Beatles and I love Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band since they both were an icon of society’s ideas and beliefs. In this post, I just made negative observations towards Paul since he is getting too much feedback for this album here (there and everywhere).

    Also, this idea of John hating the album kind of makes sense because, really, he always seems a little disappointed that the band went there in the psychedelic area. He is always so cold about that album and it’s understandable since he is really into Rock’n’Roll. Not to mention how George and Ringo were there physically but, mentally, they were somewhere else.

    “People had this dream about Pepper and it was good for them.” (John Lennon)

    1. GniknuS

      Let’s be honest about it, if John had a few more songs on the album, he probably would have liked it a bit more. Maybe Pepper is a myth, who knows? I was told growing up that it was the best Beatles album and I’m still told it now by Rolling Stone and others, but I don’t personally believe that and I don’t think many others consider it better than Revolver.

    2. paulsbass

      I can’t know for sure, but I guess John “hated” it (IF he did) because he didn’t take part in it as much as Paul – he was high most of the time and frustrated with his private life: while Paul was taking part actively in Swinging London John buried himself in suburbia in front of the TV (Good morning). As you said, he was mentally somewhere else.
      Personally I think Penny Lane is as good as Strawberry Fields, under different aspects. Funny how you claim John disliked psychedelic music while SF is one of their most psychedelic songs…
      It’s not fair to compare She’s leaving home and A day in the life. Completely different cups of tea.
      And don’t forget Paul contributed sooooo much to ADITL, that without him it would have remained a haunting folky-kind-song.

      Did Paul succeed with taking The Beatles to another level of creative energy and artistical achievement? Yes, obviously.
      If the album is lacking something, it’s because John didn’t contribute as much as he used to, so Paul had to do many things alone.
      Maybe that’s why parts of the album may sound too sweet.

      It’s still a masterpiece, working best as a unit.

      1. GniknuS

        I don’t think anyone really believes that John didn’t like psychadelic music, maybe he claimed in 1970 that he didn’t, but in ’67 he was as psychadelic as anyone with SFF and Walrus. Also, look at #9 Dream from the album Walls and Bridges that he recorded on his lost weekend. Now, who is the key factor missing from both of those times?
        John also never said he hated the album, in fact he called it their “peak” in his Rolling Stone interview. Pepper was Paul’s album, but I just can’t stand it when people claim that Paul helped John’s music more than John helped Paul’s. Let’s compare the music each made directly after the breakup, John certainly had no issue with his writing as his most revealing and honest songs were on the Plastic Ono Band album. Paul, on the other hand, was writing about, what, the backseat of his car? How profound.
        Granted, Paul is a better bass player than John is guitar player and Paul may help shape the music better, but it really doesn’t matter how the music sounds if the lyrics and inspiration aren’t too great. So Paul helped make the music better, but John was more pivotal in the inspiration and creative spirit of the Beatles, does that sound like a fair assesment? Neither was necessarily “more important” because they played different roles.

  9. mr. Sun king coming together

    Consider the following
    Pepper Was the dream of Paul’s which John and George vastly improved with their contributions. Is A Hard Day’s Night a Lennon Solo album
    He majority-wrote 10 songs on that album, But it is a Beatles album
    Pepper is a beatles album
    Live with it

  10. Whatever

    Not that John didn’t like Psychedelic Music. He actually loved it.

    I think he kind of regreted it. He said drugs made him psychedelic as a lot of other people from his generation so we can say that this is not the John we knew, it’s an altered John. The original John is a Rock’n’Roll head.

    Also, I think he regreted it because it was the door for Paul’s empire. So Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band was the album who made Paul a second (for some people, the only) leader.

    So, John had this bad feelings about Pepper and whatnot but he loved it because it was a period. A ”peak” of contribution on the ideas, the instrumentals, the harmonies, everything. And of course, it gave a lot of money to them so there’s no reason to be sad about it.

    PS: A Hard Day’s Night is a John album, yes.
    Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (and I guess Abbey Road) are Paul’s.

    Not because they are the ones who matter in the album, but because they were predominant not only in the ideas but also in the production.

    Magical Mystery Tour is a nice album for me, I like the crazyness and stuff but Paul is so defensive when he talks about this album. He had Pepper and he probably tried to push it further with Magical Mystery Tour but, at that time, a lot of people hated it. So, yeah, just pointing that out for you all.

    1. Cal

      They should’ve taken the songs from pepper and mmt and turned them into a double album. That would’ve been something. ADITL, Strawberry fields, penny lane, lucy in the sky, i am the walrus.

  11. George Demake

    Perhaps Paul’s energy played a greater role for the impetus of Sgt. Pepper, But I think this album needs to be appreciated as a whole and not simply by it’s individual parts. Sure, there may be better songs on other albums, but what was your impression when you saw that album cover when it first came out, or when you opened the gatefold and saw the beatles in those colorful costumes, not to mention the lyrics on the back. I know these don’t make for a great album on their own, but the songs are very good. I believe the album’s success is a result of the production, engineering and the willingness to take musical chances during a fairly primitive musical time in the British recording studio, where they were forced to be inventive and creative. To me the beatles have always been more than the four musicians themselves. Sure, John and Paul were the strong musical forces for most of the band’s tenure, but they were blessed with a classically trained producer who was able to translate their musical ideas into a cohesive musical form and engineers who were not afraid to push the musical envelope and work outside of the box. And on Pepper, the musical team really made it work. There was a definite magic that was created in the production of Pepper which give it it’s cohesiveness and continuity. That being said, they all contributed their musical ideas and input into the record, Paul’s guitar solos really punctuated the songs on which he added to, both his and John’s.John’s ” A Day in the Life” is one of the all-time greats of any musical genre, and George finally became the composer he is now known as with the creation of Within You Without You. Oh Yeah, Ringo ain’t so bad on the drums on this album either.

  12. Inner Light

    I just finished reading all the posts regarding this album and cannot believe how many posts there are claiming this is McCartney’s album. They were all very talented in their own way. Without all four of them participating during the Sgt. Pepper recording sessions this album would not sounded as good as it turned out.

    I am so tired of hearing Paul this and Paul that. They are all great songwriters and musicians. the Beatles are the Beatles and that is why their solo efforts will never measure up to the group efforts.

  13. Matheus Luque

    Guys, of course Paul´s contribuition on Sgt. Pepper´s is bigger than John´s, that is very clear. But John´s contribuition is great too, camon, A Day in the Life, the best song of the album, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, like John said to Rolling Stone magazine: “Paul and I were definitely working together”. That´s why Sgt. Pepper´s is the best album of all time, because it is the best of Lennon/McCartney, both great genius

  14. Victor

    Very good album…not the best though.
    and i think we have to make justice to “their satanic majesties request” from the stones…which is at least as good as sgt pepper’s…and very underrated

    1. George Demake

      “We” don’t have to make justice to “Their Satanic Majesties Request”, which is largely rubbish, the exceptions being “Shes a Rainbow”, 2000 Light Years and “Citadel”. A sad attempt from the “Stones” to cop their own Sgt. Pepper. I love “The Stones”, but even they wouldn’t agree with you on this one.

      1. Victor

        i didn’t want to start a fight here, because i know this is a kind of beatlemaniac website..and beatlemaniacs can be a little arrogant and ignorant.
        i love the beatles very much, but i’m not a deluded betlemaniac…and i don’t thing everyone else’s albuns are rubbish.
        in fact, the beatles did a lot of bad stuff too…even john would agree…read some of his interviews.
        i respect the beatles…and sgt peppers…i just said that some people overlook their satanic majesties just because of its cover…which is a mistake..

        1. Joe Post author

          OK, thanks for your comments. I don’t really want this page to be a Beatles v Stones discussion, just as I don’t want it to be swamped by ‘Paul’s album/group effort’ comments. Let’s keep this to Sgt Pepper chat. Feel free to use the Fab Forum to discuss further though.

  15. michael

    Sgt Pepper should have been a double album, with 4 songs on 4 sides, by adding the 2 songs that should have never been left off in the first place, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever. Then I would have called it the 2nd greatest rock album ever made… George Martin has even said that not leaving those 2 songs on the album was “the biggest mistake of my life”

    The Revolver album,should have had both Rain And Paperback Writer included.And perhaps And Your Bird Can Sing Taken off…Then, no other rock album would touch it…

    1. RainWriter

      The Beatles, like other groups, were expected to put out singles as well as albums. Sure, Rain and Paperback Writer would have been nice additions to Revolver, but the band had to release a single before the album came out, and so these two songs were chosen for it. By the time January 1967 came around, it was time for a new single. So, Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane were chosen – and it’s widely considered to be their best single, and maybe the best pop single ever released. One could say that SFF/PL is the Sgt. Pepper of singles. They’re a perfect pairing, both connected with Liverpool, but very different from each other.

      Once this single came out, it made little sense to include the two songs in Sgt. Pepper. People were expecting a fresh batch of songs on the upcoming album. The other option was not to release the single and keep the two tracks for Pepper. Two problems with that: EMI insisted on a new single, given that the Beatles hadn’t released their customary end-of-the-year album in 1966. Fans were eager for some new music from the group. But also, if SFF and PL had been kept for Pepper, it would have probably meant omitting a couple of the songs planned for the album, given the album length limitations of the time. Ask five Beatle fans which two songs they’d have left out, you’re likely to get five different answers. I hate to think that a Pepper song I like might have been left out.

      Besides, if SFF and PL had been included in Pepper, it would have been hard to put together the Magical Mystery Tour LP, combining the original EP with songs from the singles released in 1967. So I think the way it worked out was just fine. All the Beatles’ songs from 1967 ended up neatly on two albums. As for Revolver, I think Paperback Writer and Rain should have been added to the 2009 remastered album as bonus tracks, and similarly Day Tripper and We Can Work It Out should have been added to Rubber Soul.

  16. apple_jam

    Sgt. Pepper is one of the Beatles most collaborative albums. Sure, from Please Please Me to Rubber Soul they were laying down the basic tracks as a complete, 4-piece band on almost every track; however, those 1963-65 songs had less room for suggestions — i.e. they were simpler, more straight forward. On Sgt. Pepper they were all contributing their thoughts and ideas (yes, even Ringo — and Mal). As any musician – amateur or otherwise – knows, thoughts and ideas play a HUGE part in the creation of music. And thoughts and ideas are usually not documented.

  17. John without Paul

    Sgt. Peppers was Paul’s baby. Face it. Paul was the most comfortable being a 9am-5pm Beatle. Ringo was hardly involved because the percussion tracks were done at the very end. George saw Pepper as Paul’s project and only presented one Indian song since he was so steeped in the India vibe at the time. Paul spent hour upon hour alone with George Martin redoing and practicing the bass lines. John was distant and offered only a few songs.

    It was a steady daily job. Paul LOVED it. He loved having a steady studio job and a project to work on. It was a working model that fit him to a tee. The success of Pepper gave Paul the attitude that he had SAVED the band. This is where the clash of egos started with John. The success of Pepper gave Paul a tremendous amount of influence on their next project: Magical Mystery Tour. This was also Paul’s baby. Paul directed the movie too. It is the lowest point in the Beatles success arc.

    To his credit, Paul created, constructed and directed the making of Sgt. Peppers. The zenith of the Beatles. But also, it goes on the permanent record that the worst album and film by the Beatles was also a Paul project. He had the biggest high and the biggest low, back to back.

    The real group collaborations came several albums earlier.

    Those of you grousing because you want perfect group unity to fit your beautiful Sgt. Peppers model may as well give it up. Rubber Soul and Revolver and earlier are where the true group think exist.

  18. Long John Silver

    Paul wrote more songs in this album, yes, but, are they better? In my opinion, Lucy, Good Morning and Mr Kite are better than She´s leaving home or When I´m 64… and remember too that A day in the life was basically John´s idea… and George and Ringo were very important too in the album, George guitar playing is great and Within you without you is a fantastic song… and Ringo sings perfectly in With a little help… and his drumming in A day in the life are awesome. It´s true that Paul was the driving force in this album but if not for the other Beatles the album wouldn´t have been the same at all

  19. eddy

    Where is the great McCartney ballad? Revolver had “Here There and Everywhere”
    Rubber Soul had “Michelle” This album has nothing on that level, in fact there is no attempt at a ballad. I think in 1966 the Beatles were the most covered artists of the year, who covered these songs, Joe Cocker?

    1. George Demake

      How about “She’s Leaving Home”. Even if you don’t think that this one rates, the co-op vocal in between verses from John and Paul is still quite moving.
      Would have love to have heard Joe Cocker attempt “Eleanor Rigby” LOL.

    2. James

      She’s Leaving Home is pretty great…what I think is interesting is the dynamic between Lennon and McCartney from this period, where on the one hand you have John who, according to Cynthia, would spend his days zonked out watching TV or tripping on LSD, and you have Paul who had all of these ideas but still some of his songs weren’t necessarily great. I’m curious as to how this effort would have gone had they waited a bit longer to get it going, much like the White Album where there was that huge gap of time and so all of these songs were ready to go. But once John got back from filming How I Won the War and had Strawberry Fields ready to roll it must’ve been tough for the group not to go full steam ahead.
      Still I wonder if John would’ve had more time to get some stuff together if the album could’ve been a bit better from a songs perspective rather than being great more from a production perspective as I believe it is. I still believe John was the better songwriter at this time so that’s why I’m wondering what could have happened.

  20. GeorgeTSimpson

    On this album there are some really good songs (she’s leaving home, when i’m sixty four, lovely rita, getting better, fixing a hole, within you without you and lucy in the sky with diamonds) but I don’t like the other songs. It’s my 7th favourite album, i prefer the later albums (but yellow submarine) and the two albums before (abbey road is my favourite beatles album)

  21. Joe Cogan

    I’ve always read that Sgt. Pepper took 700 hours to record, as opposed to the 400 mentioned in the article. Also, shouldn’t Mal Evans also be credited with “Alarm Clock” on “A Day in the Life”?

  22. youcomoldflattop

    sgt. pepper is a good album. tracks that stand out are of course a day in the life, she’s leaving home. it’s getting better, lucy in the sky with diamonds and lovely rita. great effort by four men. the great ones are always the collaborations.

  23. Scott

    OK everyone, here’s a funny little story about Sgt Pepper: I was 8 years old sitting on the couch, and my big sister came home, sat next to me and showed me Sgt Pepper, which she’d just bought. I saw 4 dark haried guys with mustaches. They didn’t look like the Beatles I knew at all. I said, “those are Mexicans!” Those of you from anywhere but the Americas probably can’t relate to that, but at that time, the Mexican men loved to wear facial hair (actually still do), and many caucasions didn’t, so to me, at 8 years old, they were Mexicans!

  24. Lucas

    just wanted to drop a bit of information i just heard in the sgt. pepper’s mini doc that comes on the 2009 remastered copy. no one seems to have mentioned it. people keep saying sgt. pepper’s was paul’s idea, and i’m sure there’s a great deal of truth to that, but ringo says that this idea of having an alter ego-band was his. not sure of the truth in that, but it sounds reasonable. sure, paul most likely fleshed it out from there, but ringo seems to have sparked the interest in the initial concept. feel free to double check my reference to verify. all i want is the truth…

  25. Bill

    Just finished playing my original ‘ 67 mono
    US pressing of Pepper. Haven’t played it in years, been satisfying myself with the stereo version. God, the mono sounds so much better. No wonder this & Pet Sounds (another HUGE favorite of mine) always seem to be on the lists of the top albums ever made. As much as I hate Indian music (I always found it irritating-& I’m a guitarist!), “Within You, Without You” (especially the mono version) actually fits in this album. When I was in the Army, I used to play “Good Morning, Good Morning” in the barracks to wake everybody up…loved it. If you haven’t heard this in mono, get it now, it’s worth it…

  26. BB

    I think this masterpiece of an album is smudged by “She’s Leaving Home” and “When I’m Sixty-Four”. I just don’t care for SLH and ’64 a silly waste I think. The rest are all beyond mere words!

  27. BB

    I’m struck by what some call “filler” on this album, namely “Fixing A Hole” and “Getting Better” which are precisely the one’s I like. George’s guitar playing is just great on those and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” is so freaking good (again good guitar playing)!
    “Within You Without You” was so mysterious to me way back then and I still love it. “Lucy” is of course a classic (to me anyway)and an all-time favorite of mine of course.


    Sgt Pepper was good in general, but the songs, the melodies do not connect musically with eachother as other albums. Each song is good individually in general, but not as good as the White Album. “A day in the life” has an interesting beginning, a very good part sang by Paul but I don’t like the Carnival of Sounds in the middle the full orchestra. It’s rather noisy and it was a good attempt, but it does not make it in the list of my favorites. In general I think even it is a brilliant song for most of us, it lacks of that Beatle quality because they tried to “over do it.” A good experiment but not a brilliant song for such talented composers in comparison with their previous work. This lack of connection between all songs in the album makes it in my opinion the worst album ever produced by the Beatles. I know lots of you are going to get upset because of this comment, but I am trully a Beatle fan. The Sgt. Pepper reprise with all animals it’s just a stupid, noisy and unnecessary idea. I think Getting Better it’s probably the best song in the album. The Sgt. Pepper song is brilliant, as A little help from my friends. For the Benefit of Mr. Kite, is really a poor and silly song that leads to nowhere. Lovely Rita is very catchy and a fair song. Blue Jay Way one of the worst songs written by George. My rating is a B minus for the whole album.

    1. robert

      Before anyone else jumps all over you, let me just say that Blue Jay Way is not on Sgt Pepper – it’s on Magical Mystery Tour. I don’t agree with your analysis – it doesn’t bother me – but hey, it is what it is.

  29. Montecristo1976

    For anyone who has read extensively about the band, it is clearly evident that Paul was the driving force behind “Pepper.” Many comments from John and George substantiate the fact. Of course, like all of their albums, it’s a group effort and it’s still a “Beatles” record and not a “Paul” record. It would have not turned out to be the record it was it were only Paul.
    Still, this does not mean that Paul was not the main force behind the album.

  30. Kem Kemal

    Who is that fool that says it was Paul’s album and John didn’t contribute.,you need to get your facts right and for sure your not a Beatle fan and it is obvious you dislike John Lennon.The band needed John more than he needed them.The only reason Paul was great cause he was led.All the albums they have made,it is Lennon’s songs that make the album,as for a day in a life,that was Lennon’s master piece that Maccartney almost ruined,it was John’s genies that brought it back.Paul needed John.The Beatles held Lennon back,he was light years ahead of all of them.Just look at their solo careers,and please don’t tell me Paul made more money and had more hits,greatness is not necessary measured that way.

  31. v00012

    These are supposedly how the credits should be:

    1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (McCartney)

    2. With A Little Help From My Friends (McCartney-Lennon)

    3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Lennon-McCartney)

    4. Getting Better (McCartney-Lennon)

    5. Fixing A Hole (McCartney)

    6. She’s Leaving Home (McCartney-Lennon)

    7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite (Lennon)

    8. Within You Without You (Harrison)

    9. When I’m Sixty-Four (McCartney)

    10. Lovely Rita (McCartney)

    11. Good Morning Good Morning (Lennon)

    12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band (McCartney)

    13. A Day In The Life (Lennon-McCartney)

    John’s contributions to Paul’s songs were as significant as Paul’s contributions to John’s (In terms of songwriting and almost instrumentation). With A Little Help has been described by Paul as a 50-50 job, in my mind, completely discontinuing the idea that it’s a solo McCartney composition. From his contradictory replies on the hook to the third verse about his infamous history of domestic violence; John’s lyrical contributions took Getting Better to another level (along with his sweet, falsetto vocals). Part of the charm of She’s Leaving Home is certainly the dramatic greek chorus, written by Lennon and featuring one of the finest depiction’s of a couple of sad parents, grieving over the absence of their child…sung by Lennon – at times, sounding like he could cry. John also played some of his finest, jazzy guitar licks on When I’m Sixty-Four, accentuating the song’s music-hall style. He also levels out the vocal sound on a lot of things, including the title track, singing the bridge bit in such a way that it really endures the whole concept of this big band with different characters.

    Obviously it’s quite silly to try and objectively compare their individual contributions to the album, but I personally feel this is an album of great collaboration (in terms of songwriting; possibly not instrumentation) with John and Paul writing more collaboratively than they had done on Revolver, Rubber Soul or even A Hard Day’s Night.

  32. Beatle Chris

    A lot of these comments sound idiotic. You’re talking about Sgt. Pepper!!! Clearly one of the greatest albums of all time. It might not be everybody’s favorite but come on. This back and forth about McCartney’s album and Lennon did this and he did that, sounds stupid to say the least. LOMAN had a great post above, and sounds like an intelligent Beatle fan. McCartney took everything a little more seriously in those years and loved his band. If you don’t listen to every Beatle album and love everything, you’re not a Beatle aficionado and should really get a clue about who did what. Negative comments about Sgt. Pepper, you must be out of your f****** mind!!!!!!!!!

  33. Graham Paterson

    I agree with Cal.I got Sgt Pepper in 1978 for my 12th birthday, playing it for the first time was magic. It is a great album and very much of its time. All of The Beatles albums are great but Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt Pepper,The White Album and Abbey Road are classics and yet all so different. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Getting Better, Shes Leaving Home and Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite are great songs. But A Day In The Life is one of the greatest popular songs of all time. Oh how I remember playing A Day In The Life up loud on my small record player. John Lennons wonderful words and voice and then Paul McCartney comes in with his contrasting interlude . Finally back to Lennon and that finale with a little help from George Martin.

  34. Paul M

    Going back to an earlier comment. Paul was influenced by Pet Sounds. Apparently, in an interview with the Beach Boys, they were due to release Pet Sounds when they heard Sgt Pepper..A comment from one of the Beach Boys after hearing Pepper was “Oh well, back to the drawing board. Of course there are some very strong songs on the album more than other tracks but I don’t think any other Beatles album had so much comment and attention. Including the cover. Apparently, when the album was released in America it was like a Sgt Pepper day. All you heard coming from car radios and from houses was Sgt Pepper being played. I just think that Pepper was The album that sealed it for everyone on the planet that the Beatles were the biggest musical talent of all time. Never to be repeated, and I do think that Paul Mcartney was the driving force behind this album

  35. Johan cavalli

    The reason why the album became so famous is this, as I see it. The establishment and the elder generation didn´t discover The Beatles when they made their breakthrough in 1963.It was the youth. The Beatle music was too bluesy or expressive for the elder. The establishment and the elder generation preferred pop music resembling Irwing Berlin´s songs in the 1930s. But then came McCartney´s Yesterday 1965, a song without drums, and with strings. Now the establishment and the elder generation “discovered” The Beatles. They – not the youth — controled the media and got the prerogative. The establishment didn´t know that Lennon was the dominant composer 1963-1965, and judged McCartney to the “Composer in The Beatles”. After Yesterday the establishment followed the Beatles albums with more and more interest. But actually, they only understood the ballads in the albums. So it was a natural development that the establishment´s interest was very high, when the album Sgt Pepper was released 1 June 1967. And the critics or the establishment became so enthusiastic! Or, they believed they must be enthusiastic?
    But the critic Richard Goldstein in New York Times was not impressed, it´s “ a soft and messy piece of work” and “there is nothing beautiful on Sgt. Pepper”.
    I think there are too many mediocre McCartney compositions, and too few exciting or daring Lennon compositions, even though Lennon´s compositions here are the best – most of A Day In The Life, Being For Mr. Kite and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Two songs are among the worst songs Beatles have ever made: The title track, and Lovely Rita. When the work with the album was almost finished, they recorded a Harrison composition It´s All Too Much, very good. It would have been much better as the title song. The problem with McCartney´s compositions is that they cannot age, opposed to Lennon´s music that always is growing. And that despite McCartney´s and George Martin´s ever PR for the album. In the book The Mammut Book Of The Beatles, from the year 2000, Sean Egan writes about Sgt Pepper: The album has fallen down the esteem scale, in recent years.
    I think the melodies in the album A Hard Day´s Night from 1964 are both more innovative and powerful, without symphony orchestra. 10 of the 13 songs are composed by Lennon.

    1. DarrrenS

      Oh for pete’s sake. LSD was co-written, for the umpteenth time! They both said this. And John’s part of ADITL wouldn’t have the same impact without being juxtaposed with the orchestral orgasms and Paul’s middle part. And Kite is helped a great deal by George Martin’s carnival sounds.

      IMO, this is a great album. The opening song has a great riff, and a great vocal. It flows really well throughout to the final song. There is something for everyone, with multiple genres captured. Rock, pop, ballads, tin pan alley, Indian, psychedelic, etc… Lots of experimentation, lots of little things to find and appreciate after years of listening. It never gets old. There is no need to denigrate it in order to elevate something else.

      And stop elevating one of them (J, P, G, R) over the others. The Beatles don’t exist without the 4 of them (or at the very least, John, Paul and George). In all probability, John Lennon writes nothing anyone ever hears about without Paul McCartney. And vice-versa.

  36. Roland St Germain

    Sgt. Pepper is an album that achieved a level of success that just about every group would simply LOVE to duplicate, and has most likely attempted to do so (myself included), albeit unsuccessfully. This is an accomplishment which cannot be dismissed as dumb luck or a series of unexpected “happy accidents” that turned into a musical fluke. So how in the world did this become one of the most influential records in the history of popular music?

    It wasn’t a sudden change in the content of the songs: “She’s Leaving Home” can easily be compared with “Eleanor Rigby” from Revolver; “Love You To” is a precursor to “Within You, Without You”; if you play Revolver and Sgt.Pepper back to back, you can see how the direction was beginning to change from one album to the other, and if you play Rubber Soul first, you’ll see how well they distanced themselves from the “Yeah Yeah Yeah” period that conquered America only a couple of years before. These were four men who were forced to live together, travel together, do everything together – there is no way that they could be happy cranking out the same three-minute singles forever, and fortunately for all of us, they didn’t.

    It wasn’t because of new developments in recording technology: for the thousands of times I listened to Sgt.Pepper, I have never ceased to be amazed at how they could pull this off using a four-track machine. Yeah, I know that they would mix those four tracks down and place that first reduction mix onto one track, add another three parts, mix those down, and repeat this process over and over until it was completed. And yet the finished product plays so fantastic, especially when considering that the equipment at Abbey Road during this time was, for want of a better term, antiquated. Could such an album be recorded as well using the virtually unlimited number of tracks available today? While it may theoretically be possible, since no one has managed to successfully do so, it’s safe to say that it isn’t probable.

    While it’s true that there were more orchestral “bits” included in Sgt.Pepper than on previous Beatles releases, that alone isn’t enough to guarantee success. Other groups have leaned on lush orchestral arrangements as part of their concept albums, such as the Moody Blues’ “Days Of Future Passed” – while this is a pretty good album, it required a re-release to achieve the success it did and, therefore, there is no comparison to Sgt.Pepper.

    Here’s something most people don’t think about in this discussion – The Beatles released Sgt.Pepper in June 1967, and it remained on the charts for almost three years. By 21st Century standards, most groups would wait until the sales dropped off before releasing another album, because someone at the label wouldn’t want the new record to cut into the sales of its cash cow. So what did The Beatles do? Release Magical Mystery Tour six months later! Was it as good as Sgt.Pepper? Actually, no – but for those of us who impatiently awaited the release of the next Beatles album, it was still a very good one, and it gave us something more to listen to while waiting for the “White Album”. You had to be there.

    While I could go on (and honestly, I’ve gone on too long already), Sgt.Pepper is an album that we still talk about today, almost 50 years after its release. It definitely deserves its rightful place at the top of the list.

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