Saturday, September 05, 2009

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the eighth studio album by the British rock band The Beatles. Recorded over a 129-day period beginning on 6 December 1966, the album was released on 1 June 1967 in the United Kingdom and the following day in the United States. Sgt. Pepper is often described as The Beatles' magnum opus and recognized as one of the most influential albums of all time by prominent critics and publications. It was ranked the greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone in 2003.


The album project had originally been titled Dr. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but after it was discovered that Dr. Pepper was a trademarked name for an American soft drink, The Beatles changed the title to Sgt. Pepper's.

When Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was being recorded, "Beatlemania" was waning. The Beatles had grown tired of touring and had quit the road in August 1966. After one particular concert, while being driven away in the back of a small van, the four of them—even Paul McCartney, who was perhaps the most in favor of continuing to tour—decided that enough was enough. From that point on the Beatles became an entirely studio-based band. For the first time in their careers, the band had more than ample time with which to prepare their next record. As EMI's premier act and Britain's most successful pop group they had almost unlimited access to the state of the art technology of Abbey Road Studios. All four band members had already developed a preference for long, late night sessions, although they were still extremely efficient and highly disciplined in their studio habits.

George Harrison, the lead guitarist of the Beatles, went on a trip to India to learn to play the sitar, an Indian instrument, with Ravi Shankar, a renowned sitarist. Harrison brought back with him Indian culture and music.

Recording for the album began in late 1966 and early 1967 with two songs that were ultimately dropped from Sgt. Pepper, "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane." When Beatles manager Brian Epstein decided that a new single was needed, the two songs were issued as a double-A-sided single in February 1967. In keeping with the group's usual practice, the single tracks were not included on the LP (a decision George Martin maintains he regrets to this day). They were released only as a single in the UK at the time, but were included as part of the American LP version of Magical Mystery Tour (which was issued as a 6-track EP in Britain). The Harrison composition "Only a Northern Song" was also recorded during the Pepper sessions but did not see release until January 1969 when the soundtrack album for the animated feature Yellow Submarine was issued.


With Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles wanted to create a record that could, in effect, tour for them — an idea they had already explored with the promotional film-clips made over the previous years, intended to promote them in the United States when they were not touring there.

McCartney decided that he should create fictitious characters for each band member and record an album that would be a performance by that fictitious band. This "alter-ego group" gave the Beatles the freedom to experiment with songs.

The Beatles' fame motivated them to grow moustaches and beards and even longer hair, and was an inspiration for the disguise of their flamboyant Sgt. Pepper costumes. McCartney was well known for going out in public in disguise and all four had used aliases for travel bookings and hotel reservations.

Thus, the album starts with the title song, which introduces Sgt. Pepper's band itself; this song segues seamlessly into a sung introduction for bandleader "Billy Shears" (Starr), who performs "With a Little Help from My Friends". A reprise version of the title song was also recorded, and appears on side 2 of the original album (just prior to the climactic "A Day in the Life"), creating a "bookending" effect.

However, the Beatles effectively abandoned the concept after recording the first two songs and the reprise. Lennon was unequivocal in stating that the songs he wrote for the album had nothing to do with the Sgt. Pepper concept. Since the other songs on the album are actually unrelated, one might be tempted to conclude that the album does not express an overarching theme. However, the cohesive structure and careful sequencing of and transitioning between songs on the album, as well as the use of the Sgt. Pepper framing device, have led the album to be widely acknowledged as an early and ground-breaking example of the concept album.

Before beginning work on Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles had begun to work on a series of songs that were to form an album thematically linked to childhood and everyday life. The first fruits of this exercise - "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" were released as a double-A single after EMI and Epstein pressured George Martin for a released single. Once the singles were released the concept was abandoned in favor of 'Pepper.' However, traces of this initial idea survive in the lyrics to several songs on the album ("A Day in the Life", "Lovely Rita", "Good Morning, Good Morning", "She's Leaving Home", "Getting Better", and "When I'm Sixty-Four") and it could be argued provide more of a unifying theme for the album than that of the Pepper concept itself.


Since the introduction of magnetic recording tape in 1949, multitrack recording had been developed. By 1967 all of the Sgt. Pepper tracks could be recorded at Abbey Road using mono, stereo and 4-track recorders. Although 8-track tape recorders were already available in the U.S., the first 8-tracks were not operational in commercial studios in London until late 1967, shortly after Sgt. Pepper was released. In retrospect, the limitations of EMI's studio technology most likely pushed the Beatles and their production staff to be more inventive and resourceful than they otherwise would have been.

Like its predecessors, the recording made extensive use of the technique known as bouncing down (also called multing), in which a number of tracks were recorded across the four tracks of one recorder, which were then mixed and dubbed down onto one track of the master 4-track machine. This enabled the Abbey Road engineers to give the Beatles a virtual multi-track studio.

Magnetic tape had also led to innovative use of instruments and production effects, notably the tape-based keyboard sampler, the Mellotron, effects like flanging and phasing, as well as a greatly improved system for creating echo and reverberation.

The Beatles also used new modular effects units like the wah-wah pedal and fuzzbox, which they augmented with their own experimental ideas, such as running voices and instruments through a Leslie speaker. Another important sonic innovation was McCartney's discovery of the direct input (DI) technique, in which he could record his bass by plugging it directly into an amplifying circuit in the recording console. While the still often-used technique of recording through an amplifier with a microphone sounds more natural, this setup provided a radically different presence in bass guitar sound versus the old method. But the most frequently used method was to record the bass last, after all the other recording was done, by placing the amplifier in the centre of the studio and placing the microphone six feet from the source.

Several then-new production effects feature extensively on the recordings. One of the most important was automatic double tracking (ADT), a system that used tape recorders to create an instant and simultaneous doubling of a sound. Although it had long been recognised that using multitrack tape to record 'doubled' lead vocals produced a greatly enhanced sound (especially with weaker singers), it had always been necessary to record such vocal tracks twice, a task which was both tedious and exacting.

ADT was invented specially for the Beatles by EMI engineer Ken Townsend in 1966, mainly at the behest of Lennon, who hated tracking sessions and regularly expressed a desire for a technical solution to the problem. ADT quickly became a near-universal recording practice in popular music. Producer George Martin, having a bit of fun at John Lennon's expense, described the new technique to an inquisitive Lennon as a "double-bifurcated sploshing flange." The anecdote explains one variation of how the term "flanging" came to be for this recording effect.

Also important was varispeeding, the technique of recording various tracks on a multi-track tape at slightly different tape speeds. The Beatles use this effect extensively on their vocals in this period. The speeding up of vocals (also known as 'tweaking') also became a widespread technique in pop production. The Beatles also used the effect on portions of their backing tracks (as on "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds") to give them a 'thicker' and more diffuse sound.

In another innovation, non-US pressings of the album (in its original LP form that was later released on CD) end in an unusual way, beginning with a 15-kilohertz high-frequency tone (put on the album at Lennon's suggestion and said to be "especially intended to annoy your dog"), followed by an endless loop of laughter and gibberish made by the runout groove looping back into itself. The loop (but not the tone) made its U.S. debut on the 1980 Rarities compilation, titled "Sgt. Pepper Inner Groove". However, it is only featured as a 2-second fragment at the end of side 2 rather than an actual loop in the run out groove. The CD version of Sgt. Pepper's Inner Groove is actually a bit shorter than that one found on the original UK vinyl pressing.

The sound in the loop is also the subject of much controversy, being widely interpreted as some kind of secret message. McCartney later told his biographer Barry Miles that in the summer of 1967 a group of kids came up to him complaining about a lewd message hidden in it when played backwards. He told them, "You're wrong, it's actually just 'It really couldn't be any other.'" He took them to his house to play the record backwards to them, and it turned out that the passage sounded very much like "We'll fuck you like Superman." McCartney recounted to Miles that his immediate reaction had been, "Oh my God!"

However, it seems that in reality it is nothing more than a few random samples and tape edits played backwards. The loop is re-created on the CD version which plays for a few seconds, then fades out. Although most of the content of the runout groove is impossible to decipher, it is possible to distinguish a sped-up voice (possibly McCartney's) actually reciting the phrase "never could be any other way". Played backwards, the last element of the original LP loop that is Sgt. Pepper's Inner Groove appears to be George Harrison saying "Epstein" (obviously missing from the CD version).

Some tension and discord took place during the recording sessions. One instance involved "She's Leaving Home", when an impatient McCartney, frustrated by Martin's unavailability, hired freelance arranger Mike Leander to arrange the string section — the first of only two occasions during the group's entire career that he worked with another arranger (the other was in connection with some backing orchestration used in the Magical Mystery Tour film (12 October 1967 session; see Lewisohn), which were also arranged by Leander. Harrison also became alienated by McCartney's growing dominance in the studio, particularly when McCartney re-recorded the guitar solos for the album's title track.

The Beatles were present during the mixing of the album in mono and the LP was originally released as such alongside a stereo mix prepared by Abbey Road engineers led by Geoff Emerick; the Beatles themselves did not attend the mixing of the stereo version. (The mono version is now out of print on vinyl and was not officially released on CD.) The two mixes are fundamentally different. For example, the stereo mix of "She's Leaving Home" was mixed at a slower speed than the original recording and therefore plays at a slower tempo and at a lower pitch than the original recording. Conversely, the mono version of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is considerably slower than the stereo version and features much heavier gating and reverb effects. McCartney's yelling voice in the coda section of "Sgt. Pepper (Reprise)" (just before the segue into "A Day in the Life") can plainly be heard in the mono version, but is nearly inaudible in the stereo version. The mono version of the song also features drums that open with much more presence and force, as they are turned well up in the mix. Also in the stereo mix, the famous segue at the end of "Good Morning Good Morning" (the chicken-clucking sound which becomes a guitar noise) is timed differently and a crowd noise tape comes in later during the intro to "Sgt. Pepper (Reprise)".

Other variations between the two mixes include louder laughter at the end of the mono mix of "Within You Without You", as well as a gush of laughter between the coda of the title track and the beginning of "With a Little Help From My Friends", and a colder, echoless ending on the mono version of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!"


Sgt. Pepper features elaborate arrangements — for example, the clarinet ensemble on "When I'm Sixty-Four" — and extensive use of studio effects including echo, reverberation and reverse tape effects. Many of these effects were devised in collaboration with producer George Martin and his team of engineers.

By the time the Beatles recorded the album their musical interests had grown from their simple R&B, pop, and rock and roll beginnings to incorporate a variety of new influences. They had become familiar with a wide range of instruments such as the Hammond organ and electric piano; their instrumentation now covered a wider range including strings, brass, woodwind, percussion, and even some exotic instruments such as the sitar. McCartney, although unable to read music, had scored a recent British film The Family Way (see The Family Way soundtrack) with the assistance of producer/arranger George Martin, which earned him a prestigious Ivor Novello award. McCartney came to be greatly influenced by the avant garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, whom he wanted to include on the cover.

Another example of the album's unusual production is John Lennon's song "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!", which closes side 1 of the album. The lyrics were adapted almost word for word from an old circus poster which Lennon had bought at an antique shop in Kent the day the Beatles had been filming the promotional clip for Strawberry Fields Forever there. The flowing sound collage that gives the song its distinctive character was created by Martin and his engineers, who collected recordings of calliopes and fairground organs, which were then cut into strips of various lengths, thrown into a box, mixed up and edited together in random order, creating a long loop which was mixed in during final production.

The opening track of side two, "Within You Without You", is unusually long for a 'pop' recording of the day, and features only George Harrison, on vocals, sitar and acoustic guitar, with all other instruments being played by a group of London-based Indian musicians. These deviations from the traditional rock and roll band formula were facilitated by the Beatles' decision not to tour, by their ability to hire top-rate session musicians, and by Harrison's burgeoning interest in India and Indian music, which led him to take lessons from sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. Harrison's fascination with Indian music is further evidenced by the use of a tamboura on several tracks, including "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" as well as "Getting Better".

This album also makes heavy use of keyboard instruments. Grand piano is used on tracks such as "A Day in the Life," along with Lowrey organ on "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." A harpsichord can be heard on "Fixing a Hole," and a harmonium was played by George Martin on "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite". Electric piano, upright piano, Hammond organ, glockenspiel and Mellotron are all heard on the record.

The thunderous piano chord that dramatically concludes "A Day in the Life", and the album, was produced by assembling three grand pianos in the studio and playing an E chord on each simultaneously. Together on cue Lennon, Starr, George Martin and assistant Mal Evans hammered the keys on the assembled pianos and held the chord. The sound from the pianos was then mixed up with compression and increasing gain on the volume to draw out the sound to maximum sustain.

Possible drug references

Concerns that lyrics in Sgt. Pepper referred to recreational drug use led to several songs from the album being banned by the BBC and criticized in other quarters.

The album's closing track, "A Day in the Life," includes the phrase "I'd love to turn you on". The BBC banned the song from airplay on the basis of this line, claiming it could "encourage a permissive attitude toward drug-taking." Both Lennon and McCartney denied any drug-related interpretation of the song.

The song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" also became the subject of speculation regarding its meaning, as many believed that the words of the chorus were code for LSD. The BBC used this as their basis for banning the song from British radio. Again, John Lennon consistently denied this interpretation of the song, maintaining that the song describes a surreal dream scape inspired by a picture drawn by his son Julian. However, during a newspaper interview in 2004, McCartney was quoted as saying:
“'Lucy in the Sky', that's pretty obvious. There's others that make subtle hints about drugs, but, you know, it's easy to overestimate the influence of drugs on the Beatles' music. Just about everyone was doing drugs in one form or another and we were no different, but the writing was too important for us to mess it up by getting off our heads all the time.”

Other songs recorded during that period

Four other tracks were recorded during the time span of the Sgt. Pepper recording sessions but not incorporated on the album:

* "Strawberry Fields Forever" – The first song recorded for the album, written by Lennon with the title referring to a Salvation Army orphanage near where he lived during his childhood in Liverpool.
* "Penny Lane" – A McCartney song written as a counterpoint to Lennon's "Strawberry Fields" - it was McCartney's own nostalgic take on the Liverpool of his youth.

Though "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" had originally been intended for the new album, in January 1967 producer George Martin responded to EMI Records' pressure for a new single (the Beatles had not released a single since August 1966) and called the two tracks for issue in February 1967. In common with UK music industry practice at that time, which did not duplicate recent singles on new albums, both tracks were subsequently left off the Sgt. Pepper album. The tracks were issued on the US Magical Mystery Tour album in late 1967 and on a UK compilation album in 1973. Martin later described the decision to extract the two songs from the album as the biggest mistake of his career.

* "Only a Northern Song" – A George Harrison song that offered a sarcastic commentary on his music publishing contract with the Beatles' publishing company "Northern Songs". Harrison presented it as a possibility for inclusion on the album to George Martin, who rejected it. Harrison then decided to write another track for the album, "Within You Without You", and that song about spirituality was deemed a more suitable choice for the album. "Only a Northern Song" was shelved and then given to the makers of the animated feature film Yellow Submarine. It was used in the 1968 film and then incorporated on the soundtrack album released the following year.
* "Carnival of Light" – A McCartney sound collage reportedly lasting ten to fifteen minutes, the piece was commissioned and recorded for use at a psychedelic London event in early 1967—the "Carnival of Light Rave"—and expanded on the use of tape loops that the Beatles had explored on "Tomorrow Never Knows". "Carnival of Light" has not yet appeared on any release, be it official or a bootleg recording. However, a minute-long track claimed to be an excerpt from the song containing backwards, sped up electric guitar noises has appeared on various file-sharing networks. In November 2008 McCartney confirmed its existence, and he believes the time has come to let it be released.

Album cover

The Grammy Award-winning album packaging was created by art director Robert Fraser, mostly in collaboration with McCartney, designed by Peter Blake, his wife Jann Haworth, and photographed by Michael Cooper. It featured a colorful collage of life-sized cardboard models of famous people on the front of the album cover and lyrics printed on the back cover, the first time this had been done on an English pop LP. The Beatles themselves, in the guise of the Sgt. Pepper band, were dressed in custom-made military-style outfits made of satin dyed in day-glo colors. The suits were designed by Manuel Cuevas. Among the insignia on their uniforms are:

* MBE medals on McCartney's and Harrison's jackets. MBEs had been awarded to all four Beatles.
* The Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom, on Lennon's right sleeve
* Ontario Provincial Police flash on McCartney's sleeve

Art director Robert Fraser was a prominent London art dealer who ran his own gallery and sponsored exhibitions at the Indica Gallery, through which he had become a close friend of McCartney, and it was at his strong urging that the group abandoned their original cover design, a psychedelic painting by The Fool. The Fool's design for the inner sleeve was, however, used for the first few pressings.

Fraser was one of the leading champions of modern art in Britain in the 1960s and after. He argued strongly that the Fool artwork was not well-executed and that the design would soon be dated. He convinced McCartney to abandon it, and offered to art-direct the cover; it was Fraser's suggestion to use an established fine artist and he introduced the band to a client, noted British 'pop' artist Peter Blake, who, in collaboration with his wife, created the famous cover collage, known as "People We Like".

According to Blake, the original concept was to create a scene that showed the Sgt. Pepper band performing in a park; this gradually evolved into its final form, which shows the Beatles, as the Sgt. Pepper band, surrounded by a large group of their heroes, rendered as life-sized cut-out figures. Also included were wax-work figures of the Beatles as they appeared in the early '60s, borrowed from Madame Tussauds. The wax figures appear to be looking down on the word "Beatles" spelled out in flowers as if it were a grave, and it has been speculated that this symbolizes that the innocent mop-tops of yesteryear were now dead and gone. At their feet were several affectations from the Beatles' homes including small statues belonging to Lennon and Harrison, a small portable TV set and a trophy. A young delivery boy who provided the flowers for the photo session was allowed to contribute a guitar made of yellow hyacinths. Although it has long been rumored that some of the plants in the arrangement were cannabis plants, this is untrue. Also included is a Shirley Temple doll wearing a sweater in homage to the Rolling Stones (who would return the tribute by having the Beatles hidden in the cover of their own Their Satanic Majesties Request LP later that year).

The collage depicted more than 70 famous people, including writers, musicians, film stars and (at Harrison's request) a number of Indian gurus. Starr reportedly made no contribution to the design. The final grouping included Marlene Dietrich, Carl Gustav Jung, W.C. Fields, Diana Dors, Bob Dylan, Marilyn Monroe, Aldous Huxley, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sigmund Freud, Aleister Crowley, Edgar Allan Poe, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, William S. Burroughs, Marlon Brando, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, and controversial comedian Lenny Bruce. Also included was the image of the original Beatles bass player, the late Stuart Sutcliffe. Pete Best said in a later NPR interview that Lennon borrowed family medals from his mother Mona for the shoot, on condition he not lose them. Adolf Hitler and Jesus Christ were requested by Lennon, but ultimately they were left out.

A photo also exists of a rejected cardboard printout with a cloth draped over its head; its identity is unknown, but may possibly be Elvis Presley. Even now, co-creator Jann Haworth regrets that so few women were included. The entire list of people on the cover can be found at List of images on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The package was a 'gatefold' album cover, that is, the album could be opened like a book to reveal a large picture of the Fab Four in costume against a yellow background. The reason for the gate fold was that the Beatles originally planned to fill two LPs for the release. The designs had already been approved and sent to be printed when they realized they would only have enough material for one LP.

Originally the group wanted the album to include a package with pins, pencils and other small Sgt. Pepper goodies but this proved far too cost-prohibitive. Instead, the album came with a page of cut-outs, with a description in the top left corner:


* Mustache
* Picture card of Sgt. Pepper
* Stripes
* Badges
* Stand-up of the band

The special inner sleeve, included in the early pressings of the LP, featured a multi-coloured psychedelic pattern designed by the Fool.
The inner sleeve

The collage created legal worries for EMI's legal department, which had to contact the people who were still living to obtain their permission. Mae West initially refused — famously asking "What would I be doing in a lonely hearts club?" — but she relented after the Beatles sent her a personal letter. Actor Leo Gorcey requested payment for inclusion on the cover, so his image was removed. An image of Mohandas Gandhi was also removed at the request of EMI (it was airbrushed out), who had a branch in India and were fearful that it might cause offence there. Lennon had, perhaps facetiously, asked to include images of Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler, but these were rejected because they would almost certainly have generated enormous controversy. Most of the suggestions for names to be included came from McCartney, Lennon and Harrison, with additional suggestions from Blake and Fraser (Starr demurred and let the others choose). Beatles manager Brian Epstein had serious misgivings, stemming from the scandalous U.S. Butcher Cover controversy the previous year, going so far as to give a note reading "Brown paper bags for Sgt. Pepper" to Nat Weiss as his last wish.

The collage was assembled by Blake and his wife during the last two weeks of March 1967 at the London studio of photographer Michael Cooper, who took the cover shots on March 30, 1967 in a three-hour evening session. The final bill for the cover was £2,868 5s/3d, a staggering sum for the time — it has been estimated that this was 100 times the average cost for an album cover in those days.

There were also variations of the cover for different countries. On the Soviet Union pirate edition cover, the writing on the bass drum was translated into cyrillic, Karl Marx was replaced by Rasputin and a photo of the director of the record company was added in the back row between Edgar Allan Poe and Fred Astaire. Some countries had colored vinyl such as a yellow LP in The Netherlands and a red one in Japan.

Release and reception

Upon release, Sgt. Pepper received both popular and critical acclaim. Various reviews appearing in the mainstream press and trade publications throughout June 1967, immediately after the album's release, were generally positive. In The Times prominent critic Kenneth Tynan described Sgt. Pepper as "a decisive moment in the history of Western civilization." Others including Richard Poirier, and Geoffrey Stokes were similarly expansive in their praise, Stokes noting, "listening to the Sgt. Pepper album one thinks not simply of the history of popular music but the history of this century."

One notable critic who did not like the album was Richard Goldstein, a critic for The New York Times, who wrote, "Like an over-attended child, "Sergeant Pepper" is spoiled. It reeks of horns and harps, harmonica quartets, assorted animal noises, and a 41-piece orchestra," and added that it was an "album of special effects, dazzling but ultimately fraudulent." On the other hand, Goldstein called "A Day in the Life" "a deadly earnest excursion in emotive music with a chilling lyric," and that "it stands as one of the most important Lennon-McCartney compositions, and it is a historic Pop event."

One rock musician who apparently did not like the album was Frank Zappa, who accused the Beatles of co-opting the flower power aesthetic for monetary gain, saying in a Rolling Stone article that he felt "they were only in it for the money." That criticism later became the title of the Mothers of Invention album (We're Only in It for the Money), which mocked Sgt. Pepper with a similar album cover. Ironically, when recording of Sgt. Pepper was completed, McCartney said, "This is going to be our Freak Out!", referring to Zappa's 1966 debut album, which is considered by many as the first rock concept album.

Within days of its release, Jimi Hendrix was performing the title track in concert, first for an audience that included Harrison and McCartney, who were greatly impressed by his unique version of their song and his ability to learn it so quickly. Also, Australian band The Twilights — who had obtained an advance copy of the LP in London — wowed audiences in Australia with note-perfect live renditions of the entire album, weeks before it was even released there.

The chart performance of the album was even stronger than critical reception. In the UK it debuted at #8 before the album was even released (on June 1, 1967) and the next week peaked at #1 where it stayed for 23 consecutive weeks. Then it was knocked off the top for The Sound of Music on the week ending November 18, 1967. Eventually it spent more weeks at the top, including the competitive Christmas week. When the CD edition was released on June 1, 1987, it made #3. In June 1992, the CD was re-promoted to commemorate its 25th Anniversary, and charted at #6. In 2007, commemorating 40 years of its release, Sgt. Pepper again re-entered the charts at #47 in the UK. In all, the album spent a total of 201 weeks on the UK charts. The album won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, the first rock album to do so, and Best Contemporary Album in 1968. U.S. sales for the album totalled 11 million units, with 30 million worldwide.

The album won Best British Album at the first Brit Awards in 1977.

Planned TV movie

On 10 February 1967, during the orchestral recording sessions for "A Day in the Life," six cameramen filmed the chaotic events with the purpose of using the footage for a planned but unfinished Sgt. Pepper television special. The TV special was to have been written by Ian Dallas and directed by Keith Green. If the project had proceeded, it would have been the first full-length video album (that claim would later go to Blondie's Eat to the Beat in 1979). The shooting schedule included all the songs from the album set to music video style scenes: for example; "Within You Without You" scenes would have been set throughout offices, factories and elevators. There were even production numbers planned involving "meter maids" and "rockers". Although production was canceled, the "A Day in the Life" footage was edited down with stock footage into a finished clip. This clip was not released to the public until the John Lennon documentary Imagine: John Lennon was released in 1988. A more complete version was later aired on The Beatles Anthology series.


It has been on many lists of the best rock albums, including Rolling Stone, Bill Shapiro, Alternative Melbourne, Rod Underhill and VH1. In 1987 Rolling Stone named Sgt. Pepper the greatest album of the last twenty years (1967-1987). In 1997 Sgt. Pepper was named the number 1 greatest album of all time in a 'Music of the Millennium' poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 1998 Q magazine readers placed it at number 7, while in 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 10; In 2003, the album was ranked number 1 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2006, the album was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time. In 2002, Q magazine placed it at number 13 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, it was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.


Year / Chart / Position
1967 / US Billboard 200 / 1
1967 / UK Albums Chart / 1
1967 / Australian ARIA Albums Chart / 1
1967 / Norwegian Album Chart / 1

The album entered the UK Albums Chart on 3 June 1967 and has remained there for a total of 201 weeks as at 1 July 2007. In the USA the album stayed in the Billboard 200 chart for 175 weeks.

Grammy Awards

The album project was nominated for an impressive seven Grammy Awards on the 1968 ceremony, receiving four of them, including the prestigious Album of the Year, becoming the first rock/pop album to receive the prize.
Year Winner Award
1968 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Album of the Year
1968 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts
1968 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical
1968 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Contemporary Album

Grammy Award nominations
Year Nominee Award
1968 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Group Vocal Performance
1968 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Contemporary Vocal Group
1968 "A Day in the Life" Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)

Track listing

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was the first Beatles album to be released with identical track listings in the United Kingdom and the United States (although the American release did not originally contain the side two runout groove and inner groove sound effects that were restored for worldwide CD issue). The projected track listing for side one was 'Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'; 'With a Little Help From My Friends'; 'Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite!'; 'Fixing a Hole'; 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'; 'Getting Better'; 'She's Leaving Home'.

All songs written and composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney except where noted.
Side One
# Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" McCartney 2:02
2. "With a Little Help from My Friends" Starr 2:44
3. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" Lennon 3:28
4. "Getting Better" McCartney 2:47
5. "Fixing a Hole" McCartney 2:36
6. "She's Leaving Home" McCartney and Lennon 3:35
7. "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" Lennon 2:37
Side two
# Title Lead vocals Length
8. "Within You Without You" (George Harrison) Harrison 5:05
9. "When I'm Sixty Four" McCartney 2:37
10. "Lovely Rita" McCartney 2:42
11. "Good Morning Good Morning" Lennon 2:41
12. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)" McCartney, with Harrison and Lennon 1:18
13. "A Day in the Life" Lennon and McCartney 5:33

Inner groove

Following the last track on the album is an extremely high-pitched tone (15 kHz), too high-pitched for many adults to hear, but audible to dogs, other animals, and most younger listeners. The high tone was inserted, as was John Lennon’s intention, to irritate the listener’s dog. The tone was only inserted on the first 5000 copies of the LP (save for the American Capitol Records pressing), but was included on all copies of the later CD release.

The 15 kHz tone is followed by a loop of incomprehensible Beatles studio chatter, spliced together apparently at random and with sections playing both normally and in reverse. This lasts for two seconds and the final three syllables were mastered into the final "run-out" groove of vinyl LP record, creating a loop of gibberish that is repeated ‘endlessly’ on manual turntables until the listener lifts the tonearm. This coda to the Sgt. Pepper LP was included in British pressings but not originally in American pressings; it was included on the 1980 "Rarities" compilation LP, as "Sgt. Pepper Inner Groove." The 1987 CD re-release simulates this effect, though since an infinite loop cannot be created on compact discs, the Beatle chatter is looped eleven times before fading out.


The Beatles

* George Harrison – lead, rhythm, acoustic and bass guitars; sitar; lead, harmony and background vocals; tamboura; harmonica and kazoo; handclaps; maracas
* John Lennon – lead, harmony and background vocals; lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars; Hammond organ and piano; bass guitar; handclaps, harmonica, tape loops, sound effects and kazoo; tambourine and maracas
* Paul McCartney – lead, harmony and background vocals; lead electric and acoustic guitars; bass guitar; piano and Hammond organ; handclaps, vocalizations, tape loops, sound effects and kazoo
* Ringo Starr – drums, congas, tambourine, maracas, handclaps and tubular bells; lead vocals; harmonica and kazoo; final piano E chord

Additional musicians and production

* Neil Aspinall – tamboura and harmonica
* Geoff Emerick – recording and mixing engineer; tape loops and sound effects
* Mal Evans – counting, alarm clock and final piano E chord
* Matthew Deyell – tambourine
* George Martin – producer and mixer; tape loops and sound effects; harpsichord, Hammond organ and piano strings; final harmonium chord.
* Session musicians – four French horns on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", arranged and conducted by Martin and McCartney; string section and harp on "She's Leaving Home", arranged by Mike Leander and conducted by Martin; harmonium, tabla, sitar, dilruba, eight violins and four cellos on "Within You, Without You", arranged and conducted by Harrison and Martin; clarinet trio on "When I'm Sixty Four", as arranged and conducted by Martin and McCartney; saxophone sextet on "Good Morning, Good Morning", arranged and conducted by Martin and Lennon; and forty-piece orchestra (strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion) on "A Day in the Life", arranged by Martin, Lennon and McCartney and conducted by Martin and McCartney

Released: 1 June 1967
Recorded: 6 December 1966 – 21 April 1967 at Abbey Road Studios, London, England
Genre: Psychedelic rock
Length: 39:42
Language: English
Label: Parlophone/Capitol
Producer: George Martin


"I'll Get You" Lyrics

by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

As Released by the Beatles (1963)

Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah.

Imagine I'm in love with you
It's easy 'cos I know
I've imagined I'm in love with you
Many, many, many times before.

It's not like me to pretend
But I'll get you, I'll get you in the end
Yes I will I'll get you in the end, oh yeah, oh yeah.

I think about you night and day
I need you and it's true
When I think about you, I can say
I'm never, never, never, never blue.

So I'm telling you, my friend
That I'll get you, I'll get you in the end
Yes I will, I'll get you in the end, oh yeah, oh yeah.

Well, there's gonna be a time
When I'm gonna change/make your mind
So you might as well resign yourself to me, oh yeah.

Imagine I'm in love with you
It's easy 'cos I know
I've imagined I'm in love with you
Many, many, many times before.

It's not like me to pretend
But I'll get you, I'll get you in the end
Yes I will, I'll get you in the end, oh yeah, oh yeah
Oh yeah, oh yeah, whoa - yeah.

Beatle People: Denny Laine

Denny Laine (born Brian Frederick Arthur Hines, 29 October 1944, Holcombe Road Tyseley, Birmingham) is an English songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his roles as former guitarist and lead singer of The Moody Blues and, later, co-founder (with Paul McCartney) of Wings. Laine was the only musician in Wings who did not quit. Laine joined Wings in 1971 for the album Wild Life and stayed until 1980, when Wings broke up.


Denny Laine is of Romani descent, was educated at Yardley Grammar School in Birmingham, and took up the guitar as a boy under the influence of Gypsy jazz legend Django Reinhardt; he had his first solo performance as a musician at the age of twelve and began his career as a professional musician fronting Denny & The Diplomats, which also included future The Move and Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan.

In 1964, Laine left The Diplomats to join Mike Pinder in The Moody Blues and sang their first big hit, "Go Now"; other early highlights included "From The Bottom Of My Heart", "Can't Nobody Love You" and the harmonica-ripping "Bye Bye Bird". However, Denny's tenure with the MB's was short-lived and, after a number of comparative failures, Laine quit the band in late 1966 (the last record issued by The Moody Blues that featured Laine was "Life's Not Life"/"He Can Win" in 1967, but the 1966 "Boulevard De La Madeleine" looked ahead to the fancier sounds that the MB's would later become famous for).

After leaving The Moody Blues, he formed The Electric String Band, which featured Denny (guitar, vocals), Trevor Burton (guitar, another former member of The Move) and Viv Prince (drums), also featuring electrified strings in a format not dissimilar to what Electric Light Orchestra would later attempt. They made two singles, "Say You Don't Mind / Ask The People" (Apr 1967, Deram) and "Too Much In Love / Catherine's Wheel" (Jan 1968, Deram); and, in June 1967, they shared a bill with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Procol Harum at the Saville Theatre in London. However, national attention was not to be, and the pioneering Electric String Band broke up. (There was apparently a third single recorded called "Why Did You Come?". Why it never released is unknown, but there have been rumours that the finished track - and probably the B side as well - was sent by post to Decca and was lost.) Laine and Burton then went on to the band Balls from 1969 until the band's breakup in 1971, with both also taking time to play in Ginger Baker's Air Force in 1970. (Only one single was issued by Balls; "Fight For My Country" / "Janie, Slow Down" on UK Wizard Records. Strangely, the top side was re-edited and reissued on UK Wizard and issued in the US on Epic under the name of Trevor Burton, which was odd since Laine and Burton shared lead vocals on the B side. The single was reissued again as B.L.W. as "Live In The Mountains" for a small Pye distributed label. There was supposed to have been a Balls album recorded, but it has never seen the light of day). Laine's 1967 song "Say You Don't Mind" was a hit when recorded in 1972 by ex-Zombie, Colin Blunstone.

In 1971, Denny joined Paul McCartney to found the group known as Wings, and would stay with them for a full ten years until they officially disbanded in 1981; Denny provided lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals, keyboards, bass, writing and co-writing skills, as well as being a solid solo performer. Together with Paul and his wife, the late Linda, they formed the nucleus of the band, being called that "strange, 3-winged beast". It was with Wings that Denny enjoyed the biggest commercial and critical successes of his career, including co-writing the smash hit "Mull of Kintyre".

In January 1980, McCartney was arrested for possession of marijuana upon arrival at an airport for a tour in Japan. The tour was cancelled. Wings recorded through the year on new tracks as well as tracks still in the vaults, but a press release by Paul in early 1981 officially announced that Wings had broken up. The new tracks ended up on Paul's next two solo albums, and Laine's relationship with McCartney soured (speculation also has it that financial matters were close to the heart of this dissolution, similar to the McCartney/Jackson partnership).

The title track of Denny's first solo album after Wings, called "Japanese Tears", appeared to be a visible attack on McCartney much like John Lennon's "How Do You Sleep?" in 1971; however, closer inspection to the lyrics shows that it more likely tells the tongue-in-cheek story of a Japanese fan's disappointment after Wings' tour got cancelled (or possibly even tears of excitement at Wings' arrival in Japan in the first place).

Denny filed for bankruptcy in the mid-80's after selling his lucrative co-publishing rights to "Mull of Kintyre" to co-author McCartney. However, he has continued to record music at a prolific rate and has appeared at Beatles conventions and on tributes to both The Beatles and Wings. He is currently working on an autobiography.

He was briefly married to Jo Jo Laine (born 13 July 1953 — died 29 October 2006), with whom he had a son, Laine Hines, and a daughter, Heidi Hines. He has three other children from other relationships: Luciannne Grant, Damian James, and Ainsley Laine-Adams. His current wife is Rosha.


The Moody Blues

* The Magnificent Moodies (1965)

non-album singles:

* Steal Your Heart Away b/w Lose Your Money
* It's Easy, Child
* I Don't Want To Go On Without You b/w Time On My Side
* From The Bottom Of My Heart b/w And My Baby's Gone
* Ev'ryday b/w You Don't(All The Time)
* Boulevard De La Madeleine b/w This Is My House (But Nobody Calls)
* People Gotta Go (issued on a French EP only),
* Life's Not Life b/w He Can Win.


* Say You Don't Mind/Ask The People (1967)
* Too Much In Love/Catherine's Wheel (1968)
* Why Did You Come?/unknown (never released) (1968)


* Fight For My Country/Janie, Slow Down (1969)

This single was reissued twice:

Trevor Burton

* Fight For My Country (edited)/Janie, Slow Down" (1970)


* Live In The Mountains/Janie, Slow Down (issued in 1972? on UK Paladin)

Ginger Baker's Airforce

* Ginger Baker's Air Force (1970)


* Wild Life (1971)
* Red Rose Speedway (1973)
* Band On The Run (1973)
* Venus and Mars (1975)
* Wings at the Speed of Sound (1976)
* Wings Over America (1976 triple live album)
* London Town (1978)
* Back to the Egg (1979)

Solo albums

* Ahh...Laine (1973 Wizard, but recorded sometime earlier)
* Holly Days (1976 EMI/Capitol)
* Japanese Tears (1981 Polydor)
* Anyone Can Fly (1982 polydor)
* In Flight (1984 Breakway)
* Weep For Love (1985 President)
* Hometown Girls (1985 President)
* Wings On My Feet (1986 President)
* Lonely Road (1988 President)
* Master Suite (1988 Magnum Force)
* All I Want Is Freedom (1990 JAWS)
* Blue Nights (1994 President)
* Rock Survivor (1995 WCP)
* Go Now (1995 Prime Cuts)
* Reborn (1996 Griffin)
* Wings At The Sound Of Denny Laine (1996 Scratch)
* Arctic Song (1998)

Guest appearances

* Ginger Baker's Air Force 2 (two tracks: 'Man Of Constant Sorrow' & 'I Don't Want To Go On Without You', 1970)
* McGear (1974)
* The Reluctant Dog (1980)
* Somewhere in England (one track, 'All Those Years Ago', 1981)
* Tug of War (1982)
* Pipes of Peace (1983)
* Wind In The Willows (one track: 'The Life We Left Behind', 1985)
* Metal Christmas (one track: 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday', released in 1996 but sounds like it was recorded earlier)
* Wide Prairie (1998)
* Old Friends In New Places (one track: 'And The Thunder Rolls...', 1999)


* Memory Laine (1972)
* Rock & Roll Jam Sessions (aka: 'Lympne Castle Sessions', aka: 'Wings: In A Jam', 1978-79)
* 2 Buddies On Holly Days (excerpts from 'Holly Days' and live performances during Buddy Holly Week, 1979)
* Hot Hits & Cold Cuts (1979)
* Birmingham Boy (1982)

Live albums

* Ginger Baker's Air Force (one track: 'Man Of Constant Sorrow(live)', 1970)
* Wings Over America (1976)
* Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea (1981)

Compilation albums

* Wings Greatest (1978)
* In Flight (1984)
* Weep For Love (1985)
* Blue Nights (1994)
* Rock Survivor (1995)
* Danger Zone (1995)
* Go Now (1995)
* The Masters (1998)
* Wingspan: Hits and History (2001)
* Spreading My Wings: The Ultimate Denny Laine Collection (2002)
* The Collection (3 albums: Blue Nights/The Masters/Reborn) (2003)
* An Introduction to The Moody Blues (2004)
* Send Me The Heart (2004)


Have We All Forgotten What Vibes Are?

By John Lennon / April 16, 1970

When Yoko and I were first contacted about the peace festival by Ritchie Yorke and John Brower - as usual with anything to do with peace - we said yes and hoped it would work itself out after. We did make it clear that we didn't want - and didn't have the ability - to handle any organization - but we did want complete control - if our names were to be used to hustle the thing together.

In the early stages we weren't sure whether the show would be free or not. There was a lot of talk about the "Stones' disaster" and we were swayed into thinking maybe if it's free, people would have less respect or some such bullshit. However, Brower and Yorke persuaded us to come to Canada and "announce the peace festival," which we did in our usual way.

When the press started asking about is it free or not, I said things like, "Maybe it would be better to pay the artists, but nothing had been finalized and we were going to have further discussions with Brower," etc.

When they asked me if the Beatles were coming, I answered that of course I would ask them - in fact, I would ask "everyone who was anyone," which I intended to - but only when I had a complete rundown on the show: How much? Where? How? Why? In fact, I wasn't going to ask anyone I knew, even vaguely, to commit themselves until we knew what was happening.

We never found out! They talked about foundations and what they could do with all the "millions" we were told would be earned. All the time in Canada and after we were getting pressure to corner Dylan/Beatles/Presley, but we still didn't have any idea how Brower intended to arrange things.

Later, when we were in retreat in Denmark, we began thinking, "Why shouldn't it all be free? Surely they can hustle some big firms or something to put up money." And, anyway, it looked like the national and local government were interested. Wouldn't it be a great plug for "Young Canada" - and the tourist trade?

In Denmark, we'd had no phone for a few weeks, being in a far-out farm house. When we finally got one, all hell let loose (also, we had been fasting - meditating, energy exchange, telepathy - for days). We got the horrors when our personal assistant, A. Fawcett, rang, saying, "Disaster, disaster. Klein is frightening Brower off! - and the Canadian government doesn't like it and Brower won't touch the festival if Klein is involved!" And a lot more Aquarian paranoia.

We fell for it. I rang Allen and insulted him no end with the biggest, loudest verbal ammunition I could muster, screaming about what he had done to Brower at their meeting at Allen's office. Allen was hurt - but I even suspected that. (You can't imagine the shit about him we've had laid on us for the past few years, plus we were so sensitive and "clear" at just having had no contact outside the small group of us.)

Anyway, I shellacked him and told him we had tape recordings of his meeting with Brower (Brower told us he had tapes of conversations with Allen, etc., which proved this and that - this is before I rang Allen). And they had lots of "dirt" on Klein, connecting him with the Mafia and God knows what else. So I said, "Stop just telling me about it (having heard it all before). Show me some proof."

The situation seemed so desperate that we allowed Brower/Yorke to come to Denmark with their "proof." They arrived with a cassette player which had on it a fairly straight conversation between Brower and Klein about the festival. Yoko, me, Tony and Melinda all thought that the way Brower was phrasing his questions to Allen was more peculiar than Allen's answers, which were noncommittal. In fact, all Klein said was, "Come and see me and we'll talk in the office, not on the phone."

The so-called "dossier of dirt" on Klein - some supposedly from Canadian-government sources, including something about him ringing the Danish king and queen - turned out to be a typewritten page of shit from people who obviously disliked Klein for many different and personal reasons - but all of it was opinion.

We both felt so ashamed of what effect this hearsay crap - all of this information had been gathered by them ringing people and saying, "What do you think of Allen Klein?" - had on Brower/Yorke and Fawcett. (I forgot to mention the look on Brower's face when we told him we definitely wanted to do the festival free! He asked for "time to think," etc., said he'd committed acts previous to contacting us - surprise! surprise!)

Then we asked Klein to come over so we could put them all together in one room and sort it all out. The meeting was tense at first but then relaxed a little. We talked and pointed out what their or anyone's paranoia had done or could do to them and sent them back to their hotel in Aalborg in what we thought was a better state of mind.

It didn't work. They spent the night prowling the corridors - Brower with a knife! Waiting for the Mafia to get them!

(A friend of ours who was also staying at the hotel, Dr. Don Hamrick - or Zee, to his Martian friends - sent them a love note which they interpreted as the Mafia death sentence! So you can imagine where their heads were at.)

We had decided to do the show free before they arrived - and were even more convinced after seeing them. We blamed the "bad vibes" on the fact that so much money was being talked about that people had lost their heads. It was resolved that Brower would go home to Canada and produce a proper plan of campaign: How we could do it free or why not.

We did mention one or two things had been said and done without our knowledge, e.g., Jerry Wexler, of Atlantic, was on the Peace Committee. And why hadn't we been informed - and why was he on it, in fact? This was put down to us having no phone for three weeks - which seemed reasonable. Another was an ad in Billboard, which was asking radio stations to join the Peace Campaign. We didn't like the style of the ad, so we drew out what we wanted. It never did happen the way Yoko and I wanted it. We were told it was "too late." Too late for what?

After they had all gone home, we decided we needed someone in Canada with Brower to keep his "vibes" steady. We still hoped that the larger concept of the peace festival and its karmic effects on the world had lifted him out of the bread hang-up scene and he would turn on to being a peace promoter.

Tony said he had a friend who had been at Harbinger with Zee and many others and who could probably go to Toronto and help. I don't know what happened, but two guys turned up at our Denmark farm - one said he'd had the peace-festival idea a long time ago and had all the plans and logos. So we listened, made music together and they went back to the hotel in Aalborg. We decided not to use them as they looked like they would confuse the issue even more. (The spokesman was a magician who was going to turn anyone who messed up the festival into a frog or something.)

They went back to Canada - with no instructions from us and moved in on Brower's scene to "straighten him out." The results we've been reading about in Rolling Stone, i.e., going to California and blabbing off about who was to be invited and who was not, etc.

(All this without any words to John and Yoko who had "complete control." That reminds me. On the tape between Klein and Brower, Brower kept saying he would give us "artistic control." Klein answered no to that. We all know that "artistic control" means very little and in fact we haven't even had that! They also had taped phone calls from Yoko which we inadvertently heard at the beginning of the cassette - just testing, I suppose!)

Since then, various whispers have reached us about the "impossibility of doing it free - the government won't let us, etc." Brower and Klein met again in New York, Klein telling him that John and Yoko wouldn't do it any other way but free. Meanwhile, Ritchie Yorke was doing some nice things 'round the world with Ronnie Hawkins (who, by the way, ended up paying for all the phone bills that had accumulated during our stay in Toronto, which was arranged by Brower. We'll look into it Ronnie, don't worry!).

Ritchie got to London sometime in late February and told us about his trip: How he had been hearing strange things about the festival, and Brower in particular. We said, "Yes we heard it, too, what shall we do?" We discussed many times after Denmark. The pressure and the tale-telling was bringing me down but Yoko kept waking me up again, reminding me of our original intentions. Ritchie then went to Toronto to find out what was happening.

The latest news we got was that Brower was again in New York and so was Rabbi Abraham L. Feinberg - who sent us a telegram saying his name was at stake (don't worry, Rabbi. God will save you!). I'm not sure whether Klein saw Brower or not but one or two things came out from New York - Village Voice, New York Times, Rolling Stone - which, I suppose, were meant to make our position clear. But obviously they didn't because here we are - as a result of Jann Wenner's telegram! We've had only one call from John Brower over the past one-and-half months (we've been editing the Montreal bed-in film) and it came, surprisingly enough, after the articles mentioned above. Brower spoke to Yoko (I wonder if he taped it?). He said he was sending his plans to us. One and a half weeks has gone and still nothing. I rang Allen and he said he was still waiting for the plans, too!

In spite of everything - and you haven't heard half - Yoko and I would still like to be part of a peace festival in Canada or anywhere else. Our latest idea was to have everyone at the festival singing only Hare Krishna - including all those famous stars I'm supposed to be getting in touch with whom I'm sure will run a mile if I call them them now, after all the shit of the last few months - anyway there wouldn't be any money involved in that! No chance! People would have to come for the right reasons whatever they are.

One thing in the Rolling Stone article which struck us: Someone said, "Do we need a festival?" Yoko and I still think we need it - not just to show that we can gather peacefully and groove to rock bands, but to change the balance of energy power. On earth and, therefore, in the universe.

Have we all forgotten what vibes are? Can you imagine what we could do together in the one spot - thinking, singing and praying for peace - one million souls apart from any TV link-ups, etc. to the rest of the planet. If we came together for one reason, we could make it together!

We need help! It is out of our control. Brower does not represent us any more than you do. All we have is our name. (Klein will help any way we want, but he won't let us be hyped.) We are sorry for the confusion, it's bigger than both of us. We are doing our best for all our sakes - we still believe. Pray for us.

Love and Peace
John and Yoko

Friday, September 04, 2009

John Lennon Talks About Drugs

BBC interview: December 6, 1980
Lennon: I've never denied having been involved with drugs.

Playboy interview: October 1980
Lennon: ...I took millions of (LSD) trips in the Sixties.

"I Found Out" by John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, 1970
Don't let them fool you with dope and cocaine. No one can harm you. Feel your own pain...

The Beatles Third Christmas Record
Fan Club flexi-disc recorded Oct. 19, 1965

Lennon (singing amid joint passing and overt deep inhaling): "Down in the gym with the old black door, we've got some! We've got some...

Lennon: Christmas comes but once a year. But when it does you know it's here because we've got a (inhaling) hm hm hmmmmmaaaaaaaaaaaw...

Ringo: For Christmas.

Lennon: ...Take. Take bugs.

The Beatles Tapes from the David Wigg Interviews
Interviewed in London, June 1969

Lennon: I don't regret taking drugs, because they helped me. I don't advocate them for everybody because I don't think I should. But for me, it was good. And India was good for me... Meditation, I still believe in, and occasionally I use it.

David Wigg: And what is your attitude to drugs now since the charge. [Lennon's Montagu Square flat in London was searched on October 18, 1968 and police charged him with possession of a small amount of marijuana.] Do you still take drugs?

Lennon: I don't possess drugs, you know. I don't really bother with them much at all these days, actually, you know. But if somebody offered me some at a party, I wouldn't -- it would depend how I felt. The same as it felt for me whiskey now. I don't drink either. But depending on the situation, I might take pot, you know. But I would never carry it again. A, because I don't want to go through that. B, because I don't really want it, you know. The stuff was stuff I'd had previously. I'd already dropped it in India. And I'd taken it occasionally. I take a drink occasionally, you know. That bit.

Lennon as guest DJ improvising off an advertisement script at a New York City radio station, September 1974

Lennon: ...coming next Wenday, huh, Wednesday, October 2nd, to the 'Joint in the Woods.' Nothing like a joint in the woods, he says losing his green card possibilities in one blow. T-Rex on Friday. Now that's a good band...

Interview by David Sheff, October 1980
Published in Playboy magazine, January 1981.

Playboy: What were you depressed about during the "Help!" period?

Lennon: The Beatles thing had just gone beyond comprehension. We were smoking marijuana for breakfast. We were well into marijuana and nobody could communicate with us, because we were just all glazed eyes, giggling all the time. In our own world. That was the song, "Help!"

Playboy: How about "Cold Turkey?"

Lennon: The song is self-explanatory. The song got banned, even though it's anti-drug. They're so stupid about drugs, you know. They're not looking at the cause of the drug problem: Why do people take drugs? To escape from what? Is life so terrible? Are we living in such a terrible situation that we can't do anything without reinforcement of alcohol, tobacco? Aspirins, sleeping pills, uppers, downers, never mind the heroin and cocaine -- they're just the outer fringes of Librium and speed.

Playboy: Do you use any drugs now?

Lennon: Not really. If somebody gives me a joint, I might smoke it, but I don't go after it.

Playboy: Cocaine?

Lennon: I've had cocaine, but I don't like it. The Beatles had lots of it in their day, but it's a dumb drug, because you have to have another one 20 minutes later. Your whole concentration goes on getting the next fix. Really, I find caffeine is easier to deal with.

Playboy: Acid?

Lennon: Not in years. A little mushroom or peyote is not beyond my scope, you know, maybe twice a year or something. You don't hear about it anymore, but people are still visiting the cosmos. We must always remember to thank the CIA and the army for LSD. That's what people forget... They invented LSD to control people and what they did was give us freedom. Sometimes it works in mysterious ways its wonders to perform. If you look in the government reports on acid, the ones who jumped out the window or killed themselves because of it, I think even with Art Linkletter's daughter, it happened to her years later. So, let's face it, she wasn't really on acid when she jumped out the window. And I've never met anybody who's had a flashback on acid. I've never had a flashback in my life and I took millions of trips in the Sixties.

Interview by Andy Peoples, December 6, 1980
Syndicated broadcast by British Broadcasting Corporation December 1980

AP: November 1969, Cold Turkey which was top 20 in the UK and got to number 30 in America, I think.

Lennon: Yeah, It was banned here, as well. They thought it was a pro-drug song.

AP: What was it to you John. Was it something that was very important?

Lennon: Yeah, because I've always expressed what I've been feeling or thinking at the time. However badly or not, from early Beatle records on. It became more conscious later. So I was just writing the experience I'd had of withdrawing from heroin and saying this is what I thought when I was withdrawing. It was banned because it referred to drugs. To me, it was a rock and roll version of "The Man With the Golden Arm." It's like banning The Man With the Golden Arm because it showed Frank Sinatra suffering from drug withdrawal. To ban the record is the same thing. It's like banning the movie because it shows reality.

Yoko: It's just like a trip that we went through, but at the same time, now it's clean up time. And we're really sort of, like, cleaning our bodies. It's very important.

Cold Turkey, by John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band 1969

Temperature's rising. Fever is high.
Can't see no future. Can't see no sky.
My feet are so heavy. So is my head.
I wish I was a baby. I wish I was dead.
Cold turkey has got me on the run.

My body is aching. Goose pimple bone.
Can't see nobody. Leave me alone.
My eyes are wide open. Can't get to sleep.
One thing I'm sure of. I'm in at the deep freeze.
Cold turkey has got me on the run.

Cold turkey has got me on the run.

Thirty-six hours rolling in pain.
Praying to someone free me again.
Oh, I'll be a good boy. Please make me well.
I promise you anything. Get me out of this hell.
Cold turkey has got me on the run.

(primal screams)

.....Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no...
Ahhhh, ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah...
ammmm mmmmm mmm ah ah ahhhhh!!!

Interview by Andy Peoples, December 6, 1980
Syndicated release by British Broadcasting Corporation, December 1980

Lennon: It's just strange when you hear people are snorting in the White House after the misery they put a lot of people through. After they busted us in England. And I have a record for life. I have problems getting in countries because this guy busts me. I've never denied having been involved with drugs. But at that particular time, there was a question raised in the house of parliament. Why did they need 40 cops to arrest John and Yoko. That thing was set up. The Daily Mail and the Daily Express were there before the cops came. He'd called the press. In fact, Don Shorter told us their coming to get you three weeks before. So, believe me, I'd cleaned the house out because Jimi Hendrix had lived there before and I'm not stupid. I went through the whole damn house. It caused me a lot of heartache and it still does... The only reason I'd pleaded guilty was because I thought they'd send Yoko away cause we weren't married. I thought, what's the word, they'd throw her out of the country. So I copped a plea. And the cop said, well we've got it now. So it's nothing personal... The picture on the back of Life with the Lions: Unfinished Music No. 2 is us being dragged out of the police station. It's from a newspaper picture.


Revolver is the seventh album by The Beatles, released on 5 August 1966. Many of the tracks on Revolver are marked by an electric guitar-rock sound, in contrast with their previous, folk rock inspired Rubber Soul. It reached #1 on the UK chart for seven weeks and #1 on the U.S. chart for six weeks.

It was released before the Beatles' last tour in August 1966, but they did not perform songs from the album live. Their reasoning for this was that many of the tracks on the album, for example "Tomorrow Never Knows", were too complex to perform with live instruments.

Melodic diversity and innovation in the studio

A key production technique used for the first time on this album was automatic double tracking (ADT), invented by EMI engineer Ken Townsend on 6 April 1966. This technique used two linked tape recorders to automatically create a doubled vocal track. The standard method was to double the vocal by singing the same piece twice onto a multitrack tape, a task Lennon particularly disliked. The Beatles were reportedly delighted with the invention, and used it extensively on Revolver. ADT quickly became a standard pop production technique, and led to related developments, including the artificial chorus effect.

"Eleanor Rigby"

"Eleanor Rigby", one of Paul McCartney's songs on the album, was released as a single (in a double A-side with "Yellow Submarine") concurrently with the album. The song contains McCartney's lyrical imagery and a string arrangement (scored by George Martin under McCartney's direction). George Martin used to claim that his composition was inspired by the Bernard Herrmann score for François Truffaut's film Fahrenheit 451, however this is not possible because the film had not yet been released. The writers of the book Recording The Beatles theorized that Martin was probably referring to the score from Psycho, which was also scored by Herrmann. Martin has since altered his telling of the story and agrees that he was probably thinking of the score to Psycho. The strings were recorded without reverberation, and compressed, giving a stark, urgent sound. The song is perhaps unique amongst Beatles' songs for having a lyric idea contributed by each Beatle. Ringo Starr contributed the line "Father Mackenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no-one will hear." It was originally written as "Father McCartney" but was changed as it was thought that listeners would assume that it referred to Paul's father. So, after looking through a local phone book, he found the name McKenzie. Lennon laid claim to "40 percent" of the lyrics, including "Wearing a face that she keeps in the jar by the door" (though the other Beatles and those present at the writing of the song dispute this and argue Lennon's contributions were minor). Harrison contributed the line "Ah, look at all the lonely people" used in the opening and as a bridge. The song's quirky subject matter and stark, elegiac tone marks a departure from The Beatles' prior output.

"I'm Only Sleeping"

Lennon was the main writer of "I'm Only Sleeping". He and Harrison played the notes for the lead guitar (and for the second guitar in the solo) in reverse order, then reversed the tape and mixed it in. The backwards guitar sound builds the sleepy and ominous tone of the song.

"Tomorrow Never Knows"

The Beatles' unfolding innovation in the recording studio reaches its apex with the album's final track. Lennon's "Tomorrow Never Knows" was one of the first songs in the emerging genre of psychedelic music, and included such groundbreaking techniques as reverse guitar, processed vocals and looped tape effects. Musically, it is drone-like, with a strongly syncopated, repetitive drum-beat, and is considered to be among the earliest precursors of electronica. The lyrics were inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, although the title itself came from one of Starr's inadvertently amusing turns of phrase, playfully called "Ringoisms" (another being "A Hard Day's Night").

Much of the backing track consists of a series of prepared tape loops, stemming from Lennon's and McCartney's interest in and experiments with magnetic tape and musique concrète techniques at that time. According to Beatles session chronicler Mark Lewisohn, Lennon and McCartney prepared a series of loops at home, and these then were added to the pre-recorded backing track. This was reportedly done live in a single take, with multiple tape recorders running simultaneously, some of the longer loops extending out of the control room and down the corridor.

Lennon's processed lead vocal was another innovation. Always in search of ways to enhance or alter the sound of his voice, he gave a directive to EMI engineer Geoff Emerick that he wanted to sound like he was singing from the top of a high mountain. Emerick solved the problem by splicing a line from the recording console into the studio's Leslie speaker, giving Lennon's vocal its ethereal, filtered quality (he was later reprimanded by the studio's management for doing this).

Contributions and inspirations

Lennon's other contributions included "And Your Bird Can Sing", "She Said She Said", and "Dr. Robert" each of which are guitar-laden tracks with swirling melodies.

According to Lennon, some of the lyrics of "She Said She Said" were taken almost verbatim from a conversation he had with actor Peter Fonda in August 1965, while he (Lennon), Harrison and Starr were under the influence of LSD at their rented house in Benedict Canyon (in Beverly Hills, California). During a conversation, Fonda said "I know what it's like to be dead," because as a boy he had almost died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

McCartney's "Got to Get You into My Life" was influenced by the Motown Sound and used brass instrumentation extensively. Although cast in the form of a love song, McCartney described the song as an "ode to pot." It was released as a single in the US in 1976, ten years after Revolver, to promote the compilation album Rock 'n' Roll Music on which it appeared.

McCartney also contributed "For No One" a melancholy song featuring him playing clavichord and a horn solo played by Alan Civil, "Here, There, and Everywhere" written in the style of The Beach Boys, and "Good Day Sunshine".

Revolver was also a breakthrough album for Harrison as a songwriter, and he contributed three songs on Revolver, including the opening track, "Taxman". The guitar solo is actually played by McCartney. The "Mr. Wilson" and "Mr. Heath" referred to in the lyrics (right after the word "taxman") are Harold Wilson and Edward Heath, who were, respectively, the British Labour Prime Minister, and Conservative Leader of the Opposition at the time. In the Anthology 2 version, "Mr. Wilson and Mr Heath" were replaced with "Anybody got a little money." The song was a protest against the high marginal rates of income tax paid by high earners like the Beatles, which were sometimes as much as 95 percent of their income (hence the lyric, "There's one for you, nineteen for me"). This would lead to many top musicians becoming tax exiles in later years.

Harrison also wrote "I Want to Tell You", about his difficulty expressing himself in words. "Love You To" marked a significant expansion of his burgeoning interest in Indian music and the sitar, which started with "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" on Rubber Soul. It was the intro to "Love You To" that was playing in the background when the Harrison character first appears in Yellow Submarine, the animated Beatles movie released in 1968.

Heralding the psychedelic era

In many respects, Revolver is one of the very first psychedelic LPs — not only in its numerous shifts in mood and production texture, but in its innovative manipulation of amplification and electronics to produce new sounds on guitars and other instruments. Specific, widely heralded examples would include the backwards riffs of "I'm Only Sleeping," the sound effects of "Yellow Submarine," the sitar of "Love You To," the blurry guitars of "She Said, She Said," and above all the seagull chanting, buzzing drones, megaphone vocals, free-association philosophizing, and varispeed tape effects of "Tomorrow Never Knows."

The most lighthearted track on Revolver is the childlike "Yellow Submarine." McCartney said that he wrote "Yellow Submarine" as a children's song for Starr to sing. With the help of their EMI production team, the Beatles overdubbed stock sound effects they found in the Abbey Road studio tape library.

In 1972, Lennon offered some context for the influence of drugs on the Beatles' creativity (quoted in The Beatles Anthology):

"It's like saying, 'Did Dylan Thomas write Under Milk Wood on beer?' What does that have to do with it? The beer is to prevent the rest of the world from crowding in on you. The drugs are to prevent the rest of the world from crowding in on you. They don't make you write any better. I never wrote any better stuff because I was on acid or not on acid."

Cover art and title

The cover illustration was created by German-born bassist and artist Klaus Voormann, one of the Beatles' oldest friends from their days at the Star Club in Hamburg. Voormann's illustration, part line drawing and part collage, included photographs by Robert Whitaker, who also took the back cover photographs and many other images of the group between 1964 and 1966, such as the infamous "butcher cover" for Yesterday and Today. Voormann's own photo as well as his name (Klaus O. W. Voormann) is worked into Harrison's hair on the right-hand side of the cover. In the Revolver cover appearing in his artwork for Anthology 3, he replaced this image with a more recent photo. Harrison's Revolver image was seen again on his single release of "When We Was Fab" along with an updated version of the same image.

The title "Revolver", like "Rubber Soul" before it, is a pun, referring both to a kind of handgun as well as the "revolving" motion of the record as it is played on a turntable. The Beatles had a difficult time coming up with this title. According to Barry Miles in his book Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now, the title that the four had originally wanted was Abracadabra, until they discovered that another band had already used it. After that, opinion split: Lennon wanted to call it Four Sides of the Eternal Triangle and Starr jokingly suggested After Geography, playing on The Rolling Stones' recently released Aftermath LP. Other suggestions included Magical Circles, Beatles on Safari, Pendulum, and, finally, Revolver, whose wordplay was the one that all four agreed upon. The title was chosen while the band were on tour in Japan in June–July 1966. Due to security measures, they spent much of their time in their Tokyo Hilton hotel room; the name Revolver was selected as all four collaborated on a large psychedelic painting.

Critical reception

Revolver is often cited as one of the greatest albums in rock music history. In 1997, it was named the 3rd greatest album of all time in a Music of the Millennium poll conducted in the United Kingdom by HMV Group, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 2006, Q magazine readers placed it at number 4, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 1 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2001 the TV network VH1 named it the number 1 greatest album of all time, a position it also achieved in the Virgin All Time Top 1,000 Albums. A PopMatters review described the album as "the individual members of the greatest band in the history of pop music peaking at the exact same time", while Ink Blot magazine claims it "stands at the summit of western pop music." In 2002, the readers of Rolling Stone ranked the album the greatest of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 3 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It placed behind only the Beatles' own Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. It was ranked 10th on Guitar World's (Readers Choice) Greatest 100 Guitar Albums Of All Time. In 2006, the album was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time.

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Lennon/McCartney, except where noted.

Side one

# Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Taxman" (George Harrison) Harrison 2:39
2. "Eleanor Rigby" McCartney 2:08
3. "I'm Only Sleeping" Lennon 3:02
4. "Love You To" (Harrison) Harrison 3:01
5. "Here, There and Everywhere" McCartney 2:26
6. "Yellow Submarine" Starr 2:40
7. "She Said She Said" Lennon 2:37

Side two
# Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Good Day Sunshine" McCartney 2:10
2. "And Your Bird Can Sing" Lennon 2:02
3. "For No One" McCartney 2:02
4. "Doctor Robert" Lennon 2:15
5. "I Want to Tell You" (Harrison) Harrison 2:30
6. "Got to Get You into My Life" McCartney 2:31
7. "Tomorrow Never Knows" Lennon 2:57

The original U.S. LP release of Revolver, the band's eleventh Capitol Records release, and thirteenth U.S. album, marked the last time Capitol would alter an "established" UK Beatles album for the U.S. market. As three of its tracks — "I'm Only Sleeping", "And Your Bird Can Sing" and "Doctor Robert" — had been used for the earlier Yesterday and Today Capitol compilation, they were simply deleted in the U.S. version, yielding an 11 track album instead of the UK version's 14 and shortening the time to 28:20. The CD-era release standardized this album to the original UK configuration. Having been available only as an import in the US in the past, the 14 track UK version of the album was also issued domestically in the US on LP and cassette on 21 July 1987.


The Beatles

* John Lennon – vocals, lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars
* Paul McCartney – vocals, bass guitar, lead, rhythm guitar and acoustic guitars, piano, other instruments
* George Harrison – vocals, lead, rhythm guitar and acoustic guitars, other instruments
* Ringo Starr – vocals, drums, tambourine, and maracas

Additional musicians and production

* Anil Bhagwat – tabla on "Love You To"
* Alan Civil – French horn on "For No One"
* Donovan – backing vocals on "Yellow Submarine" (uncredited)
* Geoff Emerick – recording and mixing engineer; samples of the marching band on "Yellow Submarine"
* Mal Evans – bass drum and background vocals on "Yellow Submarine"
* Marianne Faithfull – background vocals on "Yellow Submarine" (uncredited)
* George Martin – producer; piano on "Good Day Sunshine" and "Tomorrow Never Knows"; Hammond organ on "Got to Get You into My Life"; samples of the marching band on "Yellow Submarine"
* Brian Jones – background noises on "Yellow Submarine" (uncredited)
* Session musicians – four violins, two violas and two cellos on "Eleanor Rigby"; brass section on "Got to Get You into My Life": orchestrated and conducted by George Martin

Released: 5 August 1966
Recorded: 6 April – 21 June 1966 at Abbey Road Studios, London, England
Genre: Rock, psychedelic rock
Length: 35:01
Language: English
Label: Parlophone, Capitol, EMI
Producer: George Martin

Singles from Revolver

1. "Yellow Submarine"/"Eleanor Rigby"
Released: 5 August 1966


"Long, Long, Long" Lyrics

by George Harrison

Original Manuscript (1968)

(1) It's been a long long long time
How could I ever have lost you
When I loved you

(2) It's been a long long long time
Now I'm so happy I've found you
How I love you


So many tears I was searching
So many tears I was wasting - oh-oh

(3) Now I can see you - be you
How can I ever misplace you
How I want you
You know that I need you
Oh I love you

As Released by the Beatles (1968)

It's been a long, long, long time
How could I ever have lost you
When I loved you?

It took a long, long, long time
Now I'm so happy I found you
How I love you.

So many tears I was searching
So many tears I was wasting - oh, oh!

Now I can see you, be you
How can I ever misplace you?
How I want you.

Oh I love you
You know that I need you
Oh I love you.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Rubber Soul

Rubber Soul is the sixth UK studio album and the eleventh US release by the British rock band The Beatles. Released in December 1965, and produced by George Martin, Rubber Soul was recorded in just over four weeks to make the Christmas market. Showcasing a sound influenced by the folk rock of The Byrds and Bob Dylan, the album was seen as a major artistic achievement for the band, attaining widespread critical and commercial success, with reviewers taking note of The Beatles' developing musical vision.

McCartney claims to have conceived the album's title after overhearing a black musician's description of Mick Jagger's singing style as "plastic soul". Lennon confirmed this in a 1970 interview with Rolling Stone, stating, "That was Paul's title... meaning English soul. Just a pun." McCartney said a similar phrase, "Plastic soul, man. Plastic soul...", at the end of "I'm Down" take 1, on Anthology 2.


The Beatles and George Martin were beginning to expand the conventional instrumental parameters of the rock group, using a sitar on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)," Greek-like guitar lines on "Michelle" and "Girl," fuzz bass on "Think for Yourself," and a piano made to sound like a harpsichord on the instrumental break of "In My Life".

Musically, the Beatles broadened their sound, most notably with influences drawn from the contemporary folk-rock of the Byrds and Bob Dylan. The album also saw the Beatles broadening rock n' roll's instrumental resources, most notably on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)". Although both the Yardbirds and the Kinks had used Indian influences in their music, this track is generally credited as being the first pop recording to use an actual sitar, an Indian stringed instrument, and "Norwegian Wood" sparked a musical craze for the sound of the novel instrument in the mid-1960s. The song is now acknowledged as one of the cornerstones of what is now usually called "world music" and it was a major landmark in the trend towards incorporating non-Western musical influences into Western popular music. George Harrison had recently been introduced to Indian classical music and the sitar by David Crosby of the Byrds. Harrison soon became fanatically interested in the genre and began taking sitar lessons from renowned Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar. A broadening use of percussive arrangements, led by Ringo Starr's backbeats and frequently augmented by maracas and tambourine, can also be heard throughout the album, showcased in tracks such as "Wait" and "Think for Yourself." Perhaps Ringo's most unusual percussion source on the album, which was revealed by him to Barry Tashian of The Remains in the book "Ticket To Ride", is created by his tapping a pack of matches with his finger. This "tapping" sound can be heard in the background of "I'm Looking Through You".

Recording innovations were also made during the recording of the album—for instance, the keyboard solo in "In My Life" sounds like a harpsichord, but was actually played on a piano. George Martin found he could not match the tempo of the song while playing in this baroque style, so he tried recording with the tape running at half-speed. When played back at normal speed during the mixdown, the sped-up sound gave the illusion of a harpsichord. Other production innovations included the use of electronic sound processing on many instruments, notably the heavily compressed and equalized piano sound on John Lennon's "The Word"; this distinctive effect soon became extremely popular in the genre of psychedelic music.

Also on Rubber Soul, the Beatles were seen heading into psychedelic rock. They introduced a genuine sitar on "Norwegian Wood," and on the "The Word," they voiced the drug-influenced peace-and-love sentiments that would color many psychedelic lyrics.

The song "Wait" was initially recorded for, and then left off, the album Help!. The reason the song was released on Rubber Soul was that the album was one song short, and with the Christmas deadline looming, the Beatles chose to release "Wait" instead of recording a new composition.


Lyrically, the album was a major progression. Though a smattering of earlier Beatles songs had expressed romantic doubt and negativity, the songs on Rubber Soul represented a pronounced development in sophistication, thoughtfulness, and ambiguity. In particular, the relationships between the sexes moved from simpler boy-girl love songs to more nuanced, even negative portrayals. "Norwegian Wood", one of the most famous examples and often cited as the Beatles' first conscious assimilation of the lyrical innovations of Bob Dylan, sketches a poetically ambiguous extramarital affair between the singer and a mysterious girl. "Drive My Car" serves as a satirical piece of reverse sexism. Songs like "I'm Looking Through You", "You Won't See Me", and "Girl" express more emotionally complex, even bitter and downbeat portrayals of romance, and "Nowhere Man" was arguably the first Beatles song to move beyond a romantic subject (arguable because the song "Help!", released earlier in 1965, also appears not to be specifically about a boy-girl relationship—the song takes the form of a general cry for "help" from the singer to another person, whose relationship to the singer remains unspecified. Even the line "now I find I need you like I've never done before", could be addressed to any close friend of the singer, not necessarily a romantic partner).


Until very late in their career, the "primary" version of the Beatles' albums was always the monophonic mix. According to Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, the group, producer George Martin, and the Abbey Road engineers devoted most of their time and attention to the mono mixdowns, and the band were usually all present throughout these sessions and actively participated in them. Even with their landmark Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP, the stereo mixdowns were considered less important than the mono version and were completed in far less time than the mono mixdown.

While the stereo version of the original release of Rubber Soul was similar to that of their earliest albums, featuring mainly vocals on the right channel and instruments on the left, it was not produced in the same manner. The early albums were recorded on twin-track tape, and they were intended only for production of monaural records, so they kept vocals and instruments separated allowing the two parts to later be mixed in proper proportion. By this time, however, the Beatles were recording on four-track tape, which allowed a stereo master to be produced with vocals in the centre and instruments on both sides, as evidenced in their prior albums Beatles for Sale and Help!. But Martin was looking for a way to easily produce a stereo album which sounded good on a monaural record player. In what he admits was some experimentation, he mixed down the four-track master tape to stereo with vocals on the right, instruments on the left, and nothing in the middle.

After completing the album and the accompanying single "We Can Work It Out" and "Day Tripper", the Beatles were exhausted from years of virtually non-stop recording, touring, and film work. They subsequently took a three-month break during the first part of 1966, and used this free time exploring new directions that would colour their subsequent musical work. These became immediately apparent in the next album, Revolver.

Album artwork

The photo of the Beatles on the Rubber Soul cover appears stretched. McCartney relates the story behind this in Volume 5 of the documentary film Anthology. Photographer Bob Freeman had taken some pictures of the Beatles at Lennon's house. Freeman showed the photos to the Beatles by projecting them onto an album-sized piece of cardboard to simulate how they would appear on an album cover. The unusual Rubber Soul album cover came to be when the slide card fell slightly backwards, elongating the projected image of the photograph and stretching it. Excited by the effect, they shouted, "Ah! Can we have that? Can you do it like that?" Freeman said he could.

Capitol Records used a different colour saturation for the US version, causing the orange lettering used by Parlophone Records to show up as different colours. On some Capitol LPs, the title looks rich chocolate brown; others, more like gold. Yet on the official 1987 CD of the British version, the Capitol logo is visible, and the letters are not brown, nor the official orange, but a distinct green. The lettering was designed by Charles Front.

Release details

There were two different stereo versions released on vinyl in the US: the standard US stereo mix, and the "Dexter Stereo" version (also known as the "East Coast" version), which has a layer of reverb added to the entire album. The standard US stereo mix and the original mono mix are available on CD as part of The Capitol Albums, Volume 2 box set.

US release

Rubber Soul, the ninth Capitol Records album and eleventh official U.S. release (ST-2442), came out in the United States three days after the British release, and began its 59-week long chart run on Christmas Day. It topped the charts for six weeks from 8 January 1966, before dropping back. The album sold 1.2 million copies within nine days of its release, and to date has sold over six million copies in America.

Like other pre-Sgt. Pepper Beatles albums, Rubber Soul differed markedly in its US and UK configurations; indeed, through peculiarities of sequencing, the US Rubber Soul was deliberately reconfigured to appear a "folk rock" album to angle the Beatles into that emerging and lucrative American genre during 1965, thanks to the addition of "I've Just Seen a Face" and "It's Only Love" (leftovers from the UK Help!) and the deletion of some of the more upbeat tracks ("Drive My Car", "Nowhere Man", "If I Needed Someone", and "What Goes On"). The tracks missing on the US version would later surface on the Yesterday and Today collection. The track variation resulted in a shorter album length, clocking in at 29:59. In addition, the stereo mix sent to the US from England has what are commonly called "false starts" at the beginning of "I'm Looking Through You." The track is also slightly shorter at the end. The false starts are on every American stereo copy of the album from 1965 to 1990 and are also on the CD boxed set, The Capitol Albums Vol. 2. The US version of "The Word" is also recognizably different because it has John's double-tracking vocals, extra falsetto harmonies on the left channel and fades a little longer. Also on the USA Mono LP of this album, the mono version of "Michelle" is different because it has louder percussion and fades a little longer.

The Canadian LP shares the false start on "I'm Looking Through You."

CD release

The album was released on CD in the UK and US in April 1987, using the 14-song UK track line-up. Having been available only as an import in the US in the past, the 14 track UK version of the album was issued on LP and cassette on July 21, 1987. As with the CD release of the 1965 Help! album, the Rubber Soul CD featured a contemporary stereo digital remix of the album prepared by George Martin. A few Canadian-origin CD editions of Rubber Soul and Help! accidentally use the original mix of the album, presumably due to a mix-up.

A newly-remastered CD version of the UK album, again utilizing the 1987 George Martin remix, is due for worldwide release on September 9, 2009. The original 1965 stereo and mono mixes will also be reissued on that date as part of a box set.


The album was commercially successful, beginning a 42-week run in the British charts on 11 December 1965. On Christmas Day it replaced Help!—The Beatles' previous album—at the top of the charts, a position Rubber Soul held for eight weeks. The album was a major artistic leap for the group, and is often cited by critics, as well as members of the band, as the point at which the Beatles' earlier Merseybeat sound began to be transformed into the eclectic, sophisticated pop/rock of their later career. Lennon later said this was the first album on which the Beatles were in complete creative control during recording, with enough studio time to develop and refine new sound ideas. The US version of the album also greatly influenced the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, who "answered" the album by releasing Pet Sounds in 1966. Rubber Soul is also believed to have been a major muse in the creation of Freak Out! by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, which was also released in 1966 and in turn inspired the creation of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album became a classic—on 9 May 1987, it returned to the album charts for three weeks, and ten years later made another comeback to the charts.

Rubber Soul is often cited as one of the greatest albums in pop music history. In 1998, Q magazine readers voted it the 40th greatest album of all time, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 2 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2001, VH1 placed it at number 6. In 2003, the album was ranked number 5 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2006, the album was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time.

Track listing

British release

All songs written and composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney except where noted.

Side one
# Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Drive My Car" McCartney 2:30
2. "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" Lennon 2:05
3. "You Won't See Me" McCartney 3:22
4. "Nowhere Man" Lennon 2:44
5. "Think for Yourself" (George Harrison) Harrison 2:19
6. "The Word" Lennon, McCartney and Harrison 2:43
7. "Michelle" McCartney 2:42

Side two
# Title Lead vocals Length
8. "What Goes On" (Lennon, McCartney, Richard Starkey) Starr 2:50
9. "Girl" Lennon 2:33
10. "I'm Looking Through You" McCartney 2:27
11. "In My Life" Lennon 2:27
12. "Wait" Lennon and McCartney 2:16
13. "If I Needed Someone" (Harrison) Harrison 2:23
14. "Run for Your Life" Lennon 2:18

American release

All songs written and composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney except where noted.

Side one
# Title Lead vocals Length
1. "I've Just Seen A Face" McCartney 2:07
2. "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" Lennon 2:05
3. "You Won't See Me" McCartney 3:22
4. "Think for Yourself" (Harrison) Harrison 2:19
5. "The Word" Lennon, McCartney, Harrison 2:43
6. "Michelle" McCartney 2:42

Side two
# Title Lead vocals Length
7. "It's Only Love" Lennon 1:55
8. "Girl" Lennon 2:33
9. "I'm Looking Through You" McCartney 2:27
10. "In My Life" Lennon 2:27
11. "Wait" Lennon and McCartney 2:16
12. "Run for Your Life" Lennon 2:18


The Beatles

* John Lennon – vocals, rhythm guitar, electric piano ("Think for Yourself"), other instruments
* Paul McCartney – vocals, bass, piano, guitar, other instruments
* George Harrison – vocals, lead guitar, sitar ("Norwegian Wood"), other instruments
* Ringo Starr – drums, lead vocals ("What Goes On"), Hammond organ ("I'm Looking Through You"), other instruments

Additional musicians

* Mal Evans – Hammond organ
* George Martin – producer, piano ("In My Life"), harmonium ("The Word")

Released: 3 December 1965
Recorded: 1965, Abbey Road Studios, London, United Kingdom
Genre: Folk rock, pop rock
Length: 35:50
Language: English, French ("Michelle")
Label: Parlophone, Capitol, EMI
Producer: George Martin

Singles from Rubber Soul

1. "Nowhere Man"
Released: 21 February 1966