It was 50 years ago this June when The Beatles astonished and delighted the world by ushering in the summer of love with Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – a ground-breaking masterwork that became popular music’s most universally acclaimed album.
Upon its release on June 1, 1967, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band initially spent 148 weeks in the British chart, including a total of 27 weeks at number one.
During its first US chart run, the album held the number one spot for 15 of the 88 weeks it appeared in the Top 200.
Sgt Pepper won four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, and it remains one of the most influential and best-selling albums of all time.
In 2003, the US Library of Congress selected Sgt Pepper for the National Recording Registry, recognising the album as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Sgt Pepper also tops Rolling Stone magazine’s definitive list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
To salute the occasion of the 0th anniversary of it’s release, Apple Corps Ltd and Universal Music will release a suite of lavishly presented Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition packages on May 26.
The album is newly mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell in stereo and 5.1 surround audio and expanded with early takes from the studio sessions, including no fewer than 34 previously unreleased recordings.
Paul McCartney said: “It’s crazy to think that 50 years later we are looking back on this project with such fondness and a little bit of amazement at how four guys, a great producer and his engineers could make such a lasting piece of art.”
Ringo Starr added: “Sgt Pepper seemed to capture the mood of that year, and it also allowed a lot of other people to kick off from there and to really go for it.”
For Record Store Day which is this weekend on Saturday, April 22, Apple Corps Ltd and Capitol/UMe will release an exclusive, limited edition seven-inch vinyl single of The Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane, which were among the first songs recorded during the Sgt Pepper sessions, which began in November 1966.
Rather than being held for inclusion on the album, the two songs were released as a double A-sided single in February 1967.
Amidst intense media speculation about the band’s next move, the single bridged what was then considered a long gap between the Revolver album, released in August 1966, and Sgt Pepper, which followed 10 months later.
This is the first time Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has been remixed and presented with additional session recordings.
And it is the first Beatles album to be remixed and expanded since the 2003 release of Let It Be… Naked.
To create the new stereo and 5.1 surround audio mixes for Sgt Pepper,’ producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London.