Fifty years ago today The Beatles released their eighth iconic and legendary album, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Each of The Beatles was asked which characters they would like included on the cover
Once described as the ‘most important rock and roll album ever made’ by Rolling Stone Magazine, the record includes hits like With a Little Help from My Friends, She’s Leaving Home and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
Soon after its release, on June 1, 1967, around 250,000 copies of the album were sold in the first seven days and it spent 27 weeks at the No. 1 spot in the UK.
It also achieved 2.5 million sales worldwide within just three months. And if that wasn’t enough - the fab four still have the title of having the third best-selling album of all time in the UK, with 5.1m sales.
But the success of the album didn't always start out so promising.
When the band began recording the album in the iconic Abbey Road studios, the first songs they wrote were Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane. These songs were later released as a double A-side in February 1967 but failed to reach the number one spot in the UK.
This led to their manager Brian Epstein, insisting they were not included on the Sgt Pepper's LP.
Soon after recording the single Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band it was decided the whole album would be written as if performed by another band, giving the quartet a chance to experiment with their sound.
Nearly five months later, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr finally completed their creation on April 21, 1967.
But the work didn't stop there. Now it was onto creating that iconic and award-winning cover.
Positioned next to famous actresses, writers and 19th century British Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, the concept of the cover was to have the band dressed in brass band uniforms, at an official ceremony in the park.
To create the image, famous pop artist Sir Peter Blake, who also designed the cover for Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas, and his then wife, Jann Haworth, pasted 57 life-sized black and white pictures of the characters onto hardboard, and they were tinted by hand.
The image also includes four waxwork Beatles, which were borrowed from Madame Tussauds in London and numerous dummies finished off the creation, including a Shirley Temple doll.