Sgt Pepper Cover Photo Shoot

Sgt Pepper Cover Photo Shoot

Sgt Pepper Cover Photo Shoot

1967 had already been a busy year for the Beatles before March 30. As you can see below, working on Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band dominated their January days. Some recordings would not appear on Pepper's ("Penny Lane"). 

Though no MTV was around, the studio-dedicated Beatles had already gotten into going outside to do short films with some of their songs. A compromise for fans who could not see them perform. In January they did a short for "Strawberry Fields Forever" in Knole Park. Here's a piece of that short.

 There was also a proposed movie in the works. Paul and Ringo went to see some guy Jimi Hendrix.

January

  • 02: Tape copying: When I’m Sixty-Four, Strawberry Fields Forever
  • 04: Recording: Penny Lane
  • 05: Recording: Penny Lane, Carnival Of Light
  • 06: UK album release: The Family Way
  • 06: Recording: Penny Lane
  • 09: Recording, mixing: Penny Lane
  • 10: Recording: Penny Lane
  • 11: McCartney and Starr watch Jimi Hendrix in London
  • 12: Joe Orton is asked to write a film script for The Beatles
  • 12: Recording, mixing: Penny Lane
  • 15: McCartney and Harrison watch Donovan in London
  • 16: Joe Orton begins writing a script for The Beatles’ third film
  • 17: John Lennon begins writing A Day In The Life
  • 17: Recording, mixing: Penny Lane
  • 18: Television: Paul McCartney interviewed for Scene Special
  • 19: Recording: A Day In The Life
  • 20: Recording: A Day In The Life
  • 24: Paul McCartney and Brian Epstein discuss The Beatles’ third film with Joe Orton
  • 25: Mixing: Penny Lane
  • 30: Filming: Strawberry Fields Forever
  • 30: Mixing: A Day In The Life
  • 31: Filming: Strawberry Fields Forever

February

No Hendrix in February. They did go back outside to film a short for "Penny Lane" in Knole Park again as well as near Angel Lane in Stratford, London. 

 They recorded another song that would not be on Sgt Pepper's, "Only a Northern Song," .  And while we have memorized the album's song order, it would be a mistake to think that they recorded it in that order.
  • 01: Recording: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • 02: Recording, mixing: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • 03: Recording: A Day In The Life
  • 05: Filming: Penny Lane
  • 07: Filming: Penny Lane
  • 08: Recording: Good Morning Good Morning
  • 09: Recording: Fixing A Hole
  • 10: Recording: A Day In The Life
  • 13: US single release: Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever
  • 13: Recording, mixing: A Day In The Life, Only A Northern Song
  • 14: Recording, mixing: Only A Northern Song
  • 16: Recording, mixing: Good Morning Good Morning
  • 17: UK single release: Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever
  • 17: Recording, mixing: Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!
  • 20: Recording, mixing: Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!, Good Morning Good Morning
  • 21: Recording, mixing: Fixing A Hole
  • 22: Recording, mixing: A Day In The Life
  • 23: Recording, mixing, editing: A Day In The Life, Lovely Rita
  • 24: Recording: Lovely Rita
  • 28: Recording: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

March

March meant more recording and of course their new album needed a cover. And what a cover. Suffice to say that having lyrics on the back, a gatefold sleeve with their huge pictures in the middle, and an insert to cut out props would have been plenty, but the front cover. Oh that front cover!
  • 01: Recording: A Day In The Life, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  • 02: Recording, mixing: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  • 03: Recording, mixing: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  • 06: Recording, mixing: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • 07: Recording: Lovely Rita
  • 09: Recording: Getting Better
  • 10: Recording: Getting Better
  • 13: Recording: Good Morning Good Morning
  • 15: Recording: Within You Without You
  • 17: Recording: She’s Leaving Home
  • 20: Recording, mixing: She’s Leaving Home
  • 21: Recording, mixing, editing: Getting Better, Lovely Rita
  • 22: Recording, mixing: Within You Without You
  • 23: Recording, mixing: Getting Better
  • 28: Recording: Good Morning Good Morning, Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!
  • 29: Recording: Good Morning Good Morning, Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!, With A Little Help From My Friends
  • 30: Cover shoot for Sgt Pepper
  • 30: Recording: With A Little Help From My Friends
  • 31: Recording, mixing: With A Little Help From My Friends, Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!
Ironically, they had "With a Little Help From My Friends" on their evening schedule, but before that they had a late afternoon appointment at Michael Cooper's London photo studio to take that cover shot.

Sgt Pepper Cover Photo Shoot

Group effort

Once they settled on the concept of the Beatles being surround by various personages, each of them contributed a list of names. John's suggestions of Hitler and Jesus (see John Lennon Opines) were crossed off.  EMI scratched off Ghandi because it would cause problems with sales in India.

Artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth designed the cover from an ink drawing Paul had don. Robert Fraser was the art director. Blake and Haworth also designed the inside cardboard cutouts. 

The final cost for the cover art was nearly £3,000, an extravagant sum for a time when album covers would typically cost around £50. For their work on Sgt. Pepper, Blake and Haworth won the 1968 Grammy Award for Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts.
Sgt Pepper Cover Photo Shoot
So who’s who?

1.  Sri Yukteswar (Indian Guru)
2.  Aleister Crowley (black magician)
3.  Mae West
4.  Lenny Bruce
5.  Karlheinz Stockhausen (German composer)
6.  W.C. Fields
7.  Carl Jung (psychologist)
8.  Edgar Allen Poe
9.  Fred Astaire
10. Merkin (American artist)
12. Huntz Hall (Bowery Boy)
13. Simon Rodia (creater of Watts Towers)
14. Bob Dylan
15. Aubrey Beardsly (Victorian artist)
16. Sir Robert Peel (Police pioneer)
17. Aldous Huxley (philosopher)
18. Dylan Thomas (Welsh poet)
19. Terry Southern (author)
20. Dion (American pop singer)21. Tony Curtis
22. Wallace Berman (Los Angeles artist)
23. Tommy Handley (wartime comedian)
24. Marilyn Monroe
25. William Buroughs (author)
26. Mahavatar Babaji (Indian Guru)
27. Stan Laurel
28. Richard Lindner (New York artist)
29. Oliver Hardy
30. Karl Marx
31. H.G. Wells
32. Paramhansa Yogananda (Indian Guru)
33. Stuart Sutcliffe
35. Max Muller
37. Marlon Brando
38. Tom Mix (cowboy film star)
39. Oscar Wilde
40. Tyrone Power41. Larry Bell (modern painter)
42. Dr. Livingstone
43. Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan)
44. Stephen Crane (American writer)
45. Issy Bonn (comedian)
46. George Bernard Shaw
47. Albert Stubbins (Liverpool footballer)
49. Lahiri Mahasaya (Indian Guru)
50. Lewis Carol
51. Sonny Liston (boxer)
52 – 55. The Beatles (in wax)
57. Marlene Dietrich
58. Diana Dors
59. Shirley Temple
60. Bobby Breen (singing prodigy)
61. T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)

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5 thoughts on “Sgt Pepper Cover Photo Shoot”

  1. Thank you Judith Mermelstein for posting this comment on the Facebook side of things: In the spring of 1987, my son took the album to kindergarten for show & tell, explaining to his bewildered class that “It was 20 years ago today (or thereabouts)” that the album was released. Even the (very young) teacher was at sea. My son didn’t realize that not every household was as Beatle-centric as ours (kid’s middle name is “Lennon”).

  2. Thank you Blue Jay Delia Brennan for posting this comment on the Facebook side:

    I broke a date to listen .The day it was released..I listened from June of 67 until now(A few years later). I thought Hitler was left out, still have my vinyl going to look. I know the flowers represented a funeral, funeral flowers representing the death of old Beatles. Although, I knew from Rubber Soul on they were pure genius! Have to look for cut out of Hitler. Wow! Jesus and Gandhi , interesting they were not included. Trivia/ Paul was 15 when he wrote When I’m 64. I remember thinking /Oh my God!/ I’ll never be that old, now 64 /so young so young!!!

  3. Thank you Blue Jay Terry Kelly for posting on Facebook:

    My faves: Mae West, W.C.Fields, Fred Astaire, Marilyn Monroe, Laurel and Hardy, Oscar Wilde, Johnny “Tarzan” Weissmuller, Shirley Temple. I have this album framed in my hallway so I see it everyday!

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