It Was 40 Years Ago Today

The inspiration behind Sgt Pepper's songs revealed

London, June 1 : As the hit Beatles' album 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' celebrates the 40th anniversary of its release on June 2, Sir Paul McCartney is revealing what inspired the songs of the album.

Macca reveals that he was the one who came up with the name that introduced the world to the concept album and the gatefold sleeve.

'At the time there were groups called Laughing Joe and his Medicine Band or Col Tucker's Medicinal Brew and Compound. I took the idea back to the guys and said, 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - I've got a little bit of a song cooking with this title,'' the Mirror quoted him, as saying.

The album, he revealed, was in tribute to a police officer called Sergeant Pepper when the group toured Canada in 1965.

The songs of the album also hold their own special meanings.

'With A Little Help From My Friends': The line 'I get high with a little help from my friends' was for may years thought to be a reference to marijuana, but in 1970 John Lennon revealed that it really was about the help friends give each other.

'It's really about a little help from my friends, it's a sincere message,' he said.

'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds': Everyone though that it was a reference to LSD. It was in fact inspired by Lennon's son Julian, who came returned from school one day with a painting he had done.

When Lennon asked him about the painting, Julian replied 'It's Lucy in the sky with diamonds'. Lucy O'Connell was one of his classmates.



jpn said...

It's good to stop and think about things like this. I remember when the Beatles made their first appearance on Ed Sullivan. My sister had lots of their 45s and a couple of early LPs. Being 12 in 1967, I hadn't embraced this whole LP thing. We probably didn't have the technology to enter that realm yet. Abby Road made a big impression on me. By the time that came out my friend's parents had bought one of the TV/Radio/Record Players the size of a small coffin. Being that he was the youngest and his parents were gone alot, we then got into records like Abbey Road. By then Sgt. Pepper was probably considered old stuff...unless of course you were off tuning out and turning on.

The first LP I bought was Green River by Creedence. Probably my favorite LP in Led Zepplin 1. Granted, it's probably not the best LP every made -- ditto for Sgt. Pepper -- but it burned itself into my teenage circuits and pissed off the old man. The old man remained pissed off at the music thundering from our upstairs bedroom until the day I brought home records by Benny Goodman and Bob Wills. They were in the cheap bin at Three Acre Wood in downtown St. Paul -- before the malls came to town and Hudson kids too the Greyhound to St. Paul and goof around on days off of school. When I put on the Benny Goodman record, the old man came to the bottom of the steps and yelled "Turn it up!" I would count the Goodman and Wills records as important records in my life. Later on, my old man told me that they thought Benny Goodman was for old folks and Artie Shaw was the hot cat to dig when he graduated from high school in the summer of '42.

Aging Beatle Maniac said...


In 1967 my favorite band was The Jefferson Airplane with the Doors a close second. Everyone else was listening to the Beatles, they were too popular for my taste at the time. I have changed my mind since. The Beatles were melodic geniuses and I truly believe people will listen to their music 50 years from now.
One of my fondest memories of music an my Dad was him asking me about Ravi Shankar. Remember, this was 1967. We'd seen Ravi on Ed Sullivan and despite how foreign sounding Ravi was, he recognized him as a great talent. I don't think I'll ever forget listening to Ravi Shankar with my Dad on the small portable LP player. As much as my wailing on the guitar with the vol.
@ 11 must have irritated him ,he was really pretty good about putting up with it. He'd tell me back then that when I was 50, that loud music would make me deaf. I laughed, but he was right.

jpn said...

At first, my old man used always say that the Beatles' music was just three chords and electric guitars. As the 60s moved on, he began to notice that they really did nice melodic music.

That's when some of the main stream names where starting to do Beatle covers that got play on WCCO. I'm still not convinced that my Dad wasn't convinced that WCCO was the only radio station in the universe.

He used to tell use we were all going to be deaf someday from listening to that loud rock-n-roll. My wife has accused me of being hard of hearing, but I prefer to think that I have selective hearing.

The Beatles did introduce our ears to many new sounds and instruments. They were also big fans of Buck Owens and you can hear some of that country music in certain tunes...Rocky Raccoon comes to mind.

I would go with the Doors in 1967 as one of the favorite bands. I still think that Soft Parade LP is a top notce LP.

I must also point out that the first 45 a purchased was Dead Man's Curve by Jan and Dean.

For kicks, here's a list of the top 100 singles in 1967:

1. To Sir With Love, Lulu
2. Happy Together, The Turtles
3. Windy, Association
4. Ode To Billie Joe, Bobby Gentry
5. I'm A Believer, The Monkees
6. Light My Fire, The Doors
7. Somethin' Stupid, Nancy Sinatra and Frank Sinatra
8. The Letter, Box Tops
9. Groovin', Young Rascals
10. Kind Of A Drag, Buckinghams
11. Little Bit O' Soul, Music Explosion
12. I Think We're Alone Now, Tommy James and The Shondells
13. Respect, Aretha Franklin
14. I Was Made To Love Her, Stevie Wonder
15. Come Back When You Grow Up, Bobby Vee and The Strangers
16. Sweet Soul Music, Arthur Conley
17. Can't Take My Eyes Off You, Frankie Valli
18. Never My Love, Association
19. Soul Man, Sam and Dave
20. Expressway To Your Heart, Soul Survivors
21. Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie, Jay and The Techniques
22. Come On Down To My Boat, Every Mothers' Son
23. Incense And Peppermints, Strawberry Alarm Clock
24. Ruby Tuesday, The Rolling Stones
25. It Must Be Him, Vicki Carr
27. For What It's Worth, Buffalo Springfield
28. Gimme Little Sign, Brenton Wood
28. Love Is Here And Now You're Gone, Supremes
29. The Happening, Supremes
30. All You Need Is Love, Beatles
31. Release Me (And Let Me Love Again), Engelbert Humperdinck
32. Your Precious Love, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
33. Somebody To Love, Jefferson Airplane
34. Get On Up, Esquires
35. Brown Eyed Girl, Van Morrison
36. Jimmy Mack, Martha and The Vandella
37. I Got Rhythm, Happenings
38. A Whiter Shade Of Pale, Procol Harum
39. Don't You Care, Buckinghams
40. Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye, Casinos
41. Reflections, Diana Ross and The Supremes
42. On A Carousel, Hollies
43. Please Love Me Forever, Bobby Vinton
44. Alfie, Dionne Warwick
45. San Francisco, Scott Mckenzie
46. Silence Is Golden, Tremeloes
47. My Cup Runneth Over, Ed Ames
48. Up, Up And Away, Fifth Dimension
49. The Rain, The Park And Other Things, Cowsills
50. There's A Kind Of Hush, Herman's Hermits
51. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, Buckinghams
52. This Is My Song, Petula Clark
53. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher, Jackie Wilson
54. I've Been Lonely Too Long, Young Rascals
55. Penny Lane, Beatles
56. You're My Everything, Temptations
57. Georgy Girl, Seekers
58. Western Union, Five Americans
59. Baby I Love You, Aretha Franklin
60. A Little Bit You, A Little Bit Me, The Monkees
61. California Nights, Lesley Gore
62. Dedicated To The One I Love, Mama's and The Papa's
63. How Can I Be Sure, Young Rascals
64. Carrie Ann, Hollies
65. (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet, Blue Magoos
66. Friday On My Mind, Easy Beats
67. Soul Finger, Bar-Kays
68. Gimme Some Lovin', Spencer Davis Group
69. Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out), Hombres
70. Let's Live For Today, The Grass Roots
71. Close Your Eyes, Peaches and Herb
72. Groovin', Booker T and The MG's
73. Funky Broadway, Wilson Pickett
74. Pleasant Valley Sunday, The Monkees
75. I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You), Aretha Franklin
76. Tell It Like It Is, Aaron Neville
77. Cold Sweat, James Brown and The Famous Flames
78. She'd Rather Be With Me, The Turtles
79. 98.6, Keith
80. Here We Go Again, Ray Charles
81. White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane
82. Here Comes My Baby, Tremeloes
83. The Beat Goes On, Sonny and Cher
84. Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron, Royal Guardsmen
85. Society's Child, Janis Ian
86. Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon, Neil Diamond
87. I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night, Electric Prunes
88. Mirage, Tommy James and The Shondells
89. Bernadette, Four Tops
90. Everlasting Love, Robert Knight
91. I Dig Rock And Roll Music, Peter, Paul and Mary
92. Litle Ole Man (Uptight-Everything's Alright), Bill Cosby
93. Ain't No Mountain High Enough, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
94. Daydream Believer, The Monkees
95. Thank The Lord For The Night Time, Neil Diamond
96. I Take It Back, Sandy Posey
97. Green, Green Grass Of Home, Tom Jones
98. I Can See For Miles, The Who
99. Don't Sleep In The Subway, Petula Clark
100. Baby I Need Your Lovin', Johnny Rivers

jpn said...

Here's a list of the classic LPs from 1967.

1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by Beatles, The

2. Are You Experienced by Hendrix, Jimi

3. Disraeli Gears by Cream

4. The Doors by Doors, The

5. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd

6. Surrealistic Pillow by Jefferson Airplane

7. I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You/Including Respect by Franklin, Aretha

8. Procol Harum by Procol Harum

9. Magical Mystery Tour by Beatles, The

10. The Grateful Dead by Grateful Dead

11. Big Brother And The Holding Company by Joplin, Janis

12. Vanilla Fudge by Vanilla Fudge

13. Mr. Fantasy by Traffic

14. Between The Buttons by Rolling Stones, The

15. Younger Than Yesterday by Byrds, The

16. Buffalo Springfield Again by Buffalo Springfield

17. Something Else by the Kinks by Kinks, The

18. John Wesley Harding by Dylan, Bob

19. Moby Grape by Moby Grape

20. Days of Future Passed by Moody Blues, The

aging beatle maniac said...


Why can't it be 1968 again. Now you're making me really nostalgic.
Of course, I wouldn't want Vietnam back but I'd take the music anyday.
Did you notice in the BBC article that Pink Floyd was recording
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn in the next studio when the Beatle were doing Sgt. Pepper. Strange bit of trivia.

Ah yes and the Turtles. My best memory of them was when I saw them as the lead singers for Frank Zappa
as Flo and Eddie.

jpn said...

Rolling Stone had an interesting cover article about Pink Floyd a month of so ago. They didn't really surface as a popular band until Dark Side of The Moon. But LPs of theirs like Obscured by Clouds and Meddle were in my collection well before the Dark Side band wagon showed up. That would be the "acid rock" era.

Freak Out was the first Zappa LP I bought. Believe me, the old man was requesting me to turn up the volume on that LP. I saw Zappa a number of times in St. Paul in the 1970s and have always been impressed by the quality of the music and amused by the words.

Aging Beatle Maniac said...


Don't forget Floyd's Umaguma and Atom Heart Mother. Two more great Floyd albums.
I saw them do Atom Heart live. The first and only time I saw a concert in Quad sound. I even have Syd Barrett's solo albums. He was one wacked out guy. Really to bad. His life really did reflect the Dark side
of the era. Pun intended.

I think Dark Side was a hit in part because it was possibly one of the best technically produced albums of all time.