On this day in music history: March 30, 1967 - The album cover photos for The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” are staged and photographed in London. With the “concept of Sgt. Pepper” set, the next issue will be what to put on the album cover. The main idea will come from Paul McCartney, who will initially sketch some pictures of The Beatles in uniform receiving keys to the city by the mayor flanked by a group of famous people behind them. McCartney will discuss his ideas with his friend, art dealer Robert Fraser who will put him in touch with graphic artist Peter Blake and photographer Michael Cooper. Once the wheels are set in motion, Blake will get right to work on the project. He will ask the band what persons they would like to be in the collage behind them. They will make their choices along with Blake. The band’s roadies Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall will go to various libraries around town and find prints of the various people, which Blake will have blow ups made of and then hand tint each one. A few of the subjects including Adolf Hitler and Mahatma Gandhi will not be included in the final product. It will take Peter Blake and his wife Jann Haworth eight days to assemble the collage and other props for the actual photo shoot. The photo session will take place at Chelsea Manor Studios at 1-11 Flood Street in the Chelsea district of London. With The Beatles wearing their satin military styled band uniforms (designed by British theatrical costumers M. Berman, Ltd. of London), the photos for the cover, center spread and back cover are taken by photographer Michael Cooper. The cost of the staging and photo session will come to £3,000 (approximately $10,643.00 USD today), which in 1967 is considered an extravagant amount since EMI normally would budget album cover art at the time at around £50 (approx. $76.00). Upon its release, the album cover will become an instant pop cultural icon, and among one of the most copied and parodied of all time. In 1968, Peter Blake and Jann Haworth will win the Grammy Award for Best Album Cover Graphic Arts.
A Day In The Life - 30th March 1967: Cover shoot for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Prior to a late night recording session at Abbey Road, The Beatles visit Michael Cooper’s London photographic studio where the cover photographs for Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band are taken.
The shoot takes place at 4 Chelsea Manor Studios, 1-11 Flood Street, just off King’s Road in Chelsea. The studios opened in 1902, and Cooper established his studio from 22 July 1966.
The Beatles arrive in the late afternoon. The soon-to-be-famous collage, designed by Peter Blake and his wife Jann Haworth, had been assembled in the studio during the preceding eight days. In addition to the front cover shot, The Beatles also pose for the images used on the back cover and the gatefold sleeve.
The cover came about after Paul McCartney came up with the album title. He took some ideas to his art dealer friend Robert Fraser, who suggested they use Blake, Haworth and Cooper to realize the concept.
McCartney’s initial idea is to stage a presentation featuring a mayor and a corporation, with a floral clock and a selection of photographs of famous faces on the wall behind The Beatles.
McCartney takes the list and sketches to Peter Blake, who develops the concept further. Further names are added and others fell by the wayside.
Jesus and Hitler are among John Lennon’s choices, but they are left off the final list. Gandhi, meanwhile, is disallowed by Sir Joseph Lockwood, the head of EMI, after he tells them they would have problems having the sleeve printed in India.
I think I was tagged twice to do this, so now I’m doing it.
1) Cyndi Lauper - She’s So Unusual
2) Michael Jackson - Thriller
3) The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
4) David Bowie - ChangesOneBowie
5) Nirvana - In Utero
6) Hole - Pretty on the Inside
7) Weezer - Blue Album
8) Depeche Mode - Violator
Several Months Later …
9) Lagwagon - Trashed
10) Sublime - 40 oz. to Freedom