1.The cover concept began with Paul McCartney's pen-and-ink sketches
His first inspiration was a 1920s-era photo of his dad's orchestra, “Jim Mac's Jazz Band,” surrounded by their well-dressed fans. To that, he wove in childhood memories of Northern brass bands playing outdoor events in parks.
2. Artist Peter Blake was well-versed in the “magic crowd” idea
“The appeal of a crowd goes back to being a young kid as a football fan,” Blake said. “I'd worked in crowds, with a series of circus collages, made up of bits of engraving or photos. I'd painted a scene of a battle, where there was a balcony at the top and famous people looking over it, such as W.C. Fields. These were Sgt. Pepper's antecedents.”
3. John Lennon wanted Hitler and Jesus in the crowd
As the Fabs voted for famous faces, Paul went for Brando and Astaire, George requested Maharishis, and Ringo said, “Whatever the lads want, that's fine.” But John's picks caused controversy. Jann Haworth says, “Hitler was John's misguided choice. We made the figure, but removed him before the shoot. In the end, The Beatles only selected about one third of the heads on the cover.
4. Lennon's uniform had medals from an unexpected source
John's tunic stood out, thanks to decorations from ex-drummer Pete Best's grandfather, Major Thomas Shaw. Lennon, a fan of military paraphernalia, remembered the medals long after Best had been replaced. They were awarded to Shaw for service with the British Raj in India. Lennon called Best's mom, Mona, borrowed the medals for the photo shoot, then returned them afterwards with a thank you note and a copy of Pepper.
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