Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 1 April 1967
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

Released: 1 June 1967 (UK), 2 June 1967 (US)

Paul McCartney: vocals, bass guitar
John Lennon: vocals, rhythm guitar
George Harrison: vocals, lead guitar
Ringo Starr: vocals, drums, tambourine, maracas
George Martin: organ

Available on:
Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Anthology 2

The idea for a reprise of Sgt Pepper's title track was suggested by The Beatles' assistant Neil Aspinall, who thought the album should be bookended with words from the imaginary compère.

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I said to Paul, 'Why don't you have Sgt Pepper as the compère of the album? He comes on at the beginning of the show and introduces the band, and at the end he closes it. A bit later, Paul told John about it in the studio, and John came up to me and said, 'Nobody likes a smart-arse, Neil'... That was when I knew that John liked it and that it would happen.
Neil Aspinall

Sgt Pepper (Reprise) was the final music recorded for the album, apart from the strings overdub for Within You Without You. Taped in a single day, it was the perfect rousing performance to introduce the grand finale, A Day In The Life.

The reprise was faster than the previously-recorded title track, and with different lyrics. Opening with McCartney's 1-2-3-4 count-in and Lennon's cheeky "bye", it featured all four Beatles on vocals and was one of the more straightforward rock songs on the Sgt Pepper album.

Take five of the song, with a guide vocal by McCartney, was released on Anthology 2. A remix of the more familiar version, meanwhile, was used between Hey Jude and All You Need Is Love on the Love album.

In the studio

Sgt Pepper (Reprise) was recorded on Saturday 1 April 1967 in Abbey Road's vast studio one. Between 7pm and 6am The Beatles firstly recorded nine takes of the rhythm track, with McCartney singing a guide vocal. They then overdubbed vocals to take nine, along with extra instrumentation.

Although Sgt Pepper's songs were recorded with Abbey Road's four-track recording technology, the reprise was the only one not to have reduction mixes to free up extra tracks. It was a straightforward recording, but one of the most exciting in The Beatles' catalogue.

The segue into A Day In The Life, a crossfade using three tape machines, was carried out on 6 April.

23 responses on “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)

  1. richard calvert

    There are moments in our lives we never forget, nor should we,…Sgt. Peppers was one of those moments! My twin brother, Ron and I literally ran all the way home, album tucked under our arms, to listen to musical history on vinal. When our music teacher listened to the album the next day; the look on her face was of total astonishment! She knew The Beatles’ we’re ‘The Masters of Modern Music’…. she was right! Every group since, at their peak has what is termed their, ‘Sgt. Pepper’ moment, yet there’s only ‘ one’, and I’m still smiling to this day!

  2. BeatleMark

    The mono version of this song is quite interesting. First off, at the beginning, you hear a tape cue effect, like the tape drags a moment before the song starts. After a couple extra tap beats you hear John in the background saying “Bye” or “Goodbye”. The crowd noises are cued up differently and arrive at different times.
    At the end, you can hear Paul scream, “We are the greatest!” among other things. “Thank you very much you’re fabulous!”

    1. RunForYourLife

      It’s being played in unison with the rhythm guitar from 12 seconds onward.
      It’s a bit distorted, so the sounds blend, but you can pick it out if you listen carefully.

  3. cthielman

    According to Geoff Emerick, the FINAL music recorded was the “gobbedygook” which comes after “Day In The Life”. This was included in the remastered Sgt. Peppers CD. The final touches of George’s song “Within You Without You” was completed after the “gobbledygook”.

  4. Sam

    One of the few songs (maybe the only) on Sgt Pepper to actually be better in the stereo mix. I never realized Ringo had backing vocals in this; I totally can’t hear his voice in there anywhere

  5. James Ferrell

    Great song. Neil Young used this opener/reprise concept a few times to great effect (rust never sleeps, rocking in the free world). To me the Sgt. Pepper reprise is much better than the opener–it sounds loose and happy. Nice job lads!

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