JUDGE AN ALBUM BY ITS COVER?
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Today marks the 50th anniversary of the UK release of one of the most famous, best-selling albums of all time – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles.
It won awards, was at number one for 27 weeks and its critical acclaim hasn’t diminished in the intervening decades.
But whether or not you could name a single song from the album, it’s very likely that you recognise its iconic album cover, designed by pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth (along with much help from photographers, art directors and so on – talk about a little help from my friends!).
As well as featuring the fab four dressed as the fictional Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, it has a montage of famous figures ranging from musical and movie stars through to political and religious faces. Many of them provide a great insight into what the band – and undoubtedly their fans – would have held dear, while other characters were added to inject a bit of controversy to the cover. Some famous names – including Jesus, Ghandi and Hitler – were originally intended to feature on the cover but were left off for various understandable reasons.
As an album its influence can’t be overstated. But the influence of its front cover – which has since been copied or parodied countless times, as well as appearing in memorabilia in its original form – is perhaps even greater.
So here’s to you, Sgt Pepper. Great album, brilliant cover.