Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ turns 50

FILE - In this June 1967 file photo, Paul McCartney, from left, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon of The Beatles appear backstage during a break in rehearsals for the live broadcast on the "Our World" program at EMI studios in London. Half a century after the Beatles’ psychedelic landmark, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album, it stands as just one of many musical astonishments of 1967 that shaped what we listen to now. (AP Photo, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — In 1967, The Beatles album “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was released in Britain. Two days later, it was released in North America.

Paul McCartney came up with the concept for one of the greatest albums of all time because one of his associates was mumbling. McCartney says on his website he was on a plane in 1967 with roadie Mal Evans, who asked McCartney to pass the salt and pepper. McCartney thought he said, “Sergeant Pepper.” They had a laugh over it, but McCartney thought it would be intriguing for The Beatles to make an album with alter egos.

McCartney liked the idea of American bands with long rambling names, which led to “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” He also liked the idea of a lonely hearts club having a band.

McCartney has said the album was The Beatles’ response to The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” album. “Sgt. Pepper” was released 50 years ago today.

For as gaga as the world went over “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” The Beatles themselves did not think it was all that important. George Harrison said in “The Beatles Anthology” he liked “A Day in the Life” and “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” but he felt the rest of it was “just ordinary songs.”

Ringo Starr said “Sgt. Pepper” was his least favorite Beatles album and he was so bored he learned to play chess. John Lennon said he liked the songs, “Getting Better,” ”Within You, Without You” and the title track. However, he didn’t like how “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite” turned out, and “A Day in the LIfe” was not half as good as he thought when they made it.

McCartney was the driving force creatively behind “Sgt. Pepper” and generally has a positive outlook on it. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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