Musician Biographies » The Beatles » An End and a Beginning - The End Of Touring Life, More Popular Than Jesus?, Inventions, New Sounds, Making A Masterpiece

An End and a Beginning - Making A Masterpiece

pepper beatles band album

The Beatles went into the Abbey Road Studios for an intense six months of recording. Paul had come in with a song called “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and the group decided to build an entire record around it. “We would be Sgt. Pepper's band, and for the whole of the album we'd pretend to be someone else. It liberated you—you could do anything when you got to the mike or on your guitar, because it wasn't you,” Paul said later. The record itself was released in June of 1967. George Martin recalled that the record astonished the entire pop music world, including him. “Nothing remotely like Pepper had been heard before. It came at a time when people were thirsty for something new, but its newness still caught them by surprise. It certainly caught me on the hop!” He added: “Up until this point, the Beatles had been pretty much bubble-gum artists. With Pepper they drew a line and crossed it.”

Fun Fact!

The Beatles used a symphony orchestra for “A Day in the Life,” the closing song of their masterpiece, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. When the session began, the Beatles passed out novelties for the members of the orchestra to wear: red noses, colored glasses, and a monkey's paw for the violin player!

That crossing was demonstrated with tracks like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” with its impressionistic lyrics, and “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” with its swirling sound effects and circus appeal. “A Day in the Life,” the record's concluding song, boasted a forty-one-piece orchestra creating a massive, thundering swell at two points in the song. The album's cover also made history of a kind; it featured the Beatles in the colorful uniforms of a marching band (the Pepper band) surrounded by paper cutouts of some of their personal heroes, among them Groucho Marx, W.C. Fields, and Bob Dylan. The album also marked the first time in history that a group had printed their lyrics on an album sleeve. A simple idea, but much imitated since then. The Beatles had clearly made the right decision in choosing the studio over touring, if the quality of the work on Sgt. Pepper was any indication. In dedicating their efforts exclusively toward recording, they had committed to extending the possibilities they found there, and as a result their ideas are still heard on records by other artists being released today.

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