As much as we’d love to say “it was 50 years ago today” that Sgt. Pepper caused a musical revolution, the half-century anniversary of the Beatles’ beloved, revered and eternally-played “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album is technically June 2, a week after its rush-release in the band’s native U.K.
But commemorating what is often considered the quartet’s most musically radical and compelling release, the definitive work that signaled newfound maturity hinted at a year earlier on “Revolver,” is a multi-day staging. And so the celebration begins.
Here are a few tidbits that casual fans might not know about the 13-song album:
- In 1968, it became the first rock album to win the album of the year Grammy, one of four the Beatles earned that year.
- Although “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” were two of the first songs the band recorded for the “Sgt. Pepper” sessions, they did not make the final album cut and were instead released as a double A-side single.
- According to the Recording Industry Association of America, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” has sold more than 11 million copies.
- The famous final chord on “A Day in the Life” is an E major. David Crosby happened to be at Abbey Road studios during the recording of the song and told Filter magazine, “I was high as a kite…by the time it got to the end of that piano chord, man, my brains were on the floor.”
On May 26, a reissue of “Sgt. Pepper” arrived in four configurations: a six-disc “super deluxe” edition; a two-CD set; a two-LP set; and a single disc.
The “super deluxe” version retails for $149.98 and contains 100 minutes of outtakes, many previously unheard or unreleased, as well as a special mono mix with extra tracks. A DVD of a “Sgt. Pepper” documentary is also included, along with a 114-page booklet, posters and a replica insert from the original album release.
The project was overseen by Giles Martin, son of famed Beatles sound maestro George Martin. Giles has plenty of Beatles cred, as he was heavily involved in the band’s Cirque du Soleil masterpiece, “Love”; remastered the 2016 “Live at the Hollywood Bowl,” which was tied to Ron Howard’s documentary, “Eight Days a Week”; and worked on Paul McCartney’s 2013 album, “New.”