The Story Behind Sgt. Peppers Album Cover Art
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles / YouTube
Aside from making revolutionary music, the Beatles were also up to the task of creating inventive cover art for their albums. One, in particular, would be the bizarre yet fantastic album art of their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The prominent stars on the back of the Fab Four, including the Beatles’ uncanny wax figures to their right, the flowers that formed the name of their band, the plants who were highly rumored as marijuana, and the flower-shaped like a guitar, these are the primary things that you would notice if you come across the album. But it wasn’t perceived to be that shallow, as there are several reasons why it became such an iconic part of our music today. And just like the songs inside, the cover art symbolizes a deeper understanding of the growing maturity of the Beatles to their music.
Paul McCartney admitted that the idea for the cover art was to list down their idols— the people that they most liked. Paul Blake then got the idea of a life-size collage that could form like crowd behind the group. It was then the concept was created.
One prop that became a topic of controversy was the flowers that formed a shape of a guitar. Blake was thrilled with the idea of the hyacinths forming the instrument that he included. But, a coincidence sparked the “Paul is dead” rumors and that is, if you look closely at it, you would notice that it spelled the name paul with a question mark. Blake said that there was no intention to add fuel to the fire, and it was nothing but a terrible coincidence. On a similar note, the plants surrounding the bed of flowers weren’t marijuana plants.
Mahatma Gandhi was supposed to be a part of the crowd, but the EMI refused to include him so as not to upset the Indians, and the band agreed. It was a dangerous move to produce the whole album since controversy could be right around the corner and ruin it.
The album was a big jump to the Beatles’ artistic level. And to mark their newfound approach to music, they decided to break barriers that epitomized the growing development of the then-young boys, maturing in various ways. What they did was a pure risky gesture for their career. But, at the end of the day, where’s the fun without a little risk?