On June 1 1967, The Beatles release Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album is an instant hit, soaring to number one in the charts and staying there for 27 weeks in the UK and 15 weeks in the US.
Sgt. Pepper is the Liverpool quartet’s eighth studio album, and features the eponymous Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band alongside tracks such as With a Little Help from My Friends; Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds; and A Day in the Life.
The ‘front cover’ sleeve for the album draws heavily on themes from the art world and features the band members amidst a plethora of high profile cultural figures such as Bob Dylan, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Laurel and Hardy, Sonny Liston and Oscar Wilde, among others. Musicologist Ian Inglis describes the album’s impact by referencing the “unprecedented correspondence between music and art, time and space” engendered by the cover. Other music critics cite it as the first – or even only – example in popular music where the album art attracts as much attention and discussion as the music itself. The designers, pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, who based their work on a sketch by McCartney, receive a Grammy Award in 1968 for best album cover graphic arts. The ground-breaking impact of the cover artwork is further recognised by the BBC, which includes it in its list of ‘British masterpieces of twentieth century art and design’, while in 2003, Rolling Stone magazine places the album at number one on its list of the ‘500 greatest albums of all time’.