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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Background Information

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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles, holding marching band instruments and wearing colorful uniforms, stand near a grave covered with flowers that spell
Studio album by The Beatles
Released 1 June 1967
Recorded 6 December 1966 – 21 April 1967,
EMI and Regent Sound studios, London
Genre Psychedelic rock, baroque pop
Length 39:42
Label Parlophone (UK), Capitol (US)
Producer George Martin
The Beatles chronology
A Collection of Beatles Oldies
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles' First
The Beatles North American chronology
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (often referred to simply as Sgt. Pepper) is the eighth studio album by English rock band the Beatles. Released in June 1967, the album included songs such as " With a Little Help from My Friends", " Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", and " A Day in the Life". Continuing their artistic maturation on Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper further departed from the conventional pop rock idiom of the time and incorporated balladry, psychedelic, music hall, and symphonic influences.

During the Sgt. Pepper sessions, the group improved upon the quality of their music's production while exploring experimental recording techniques. Producer George Martin's innovative approach included the use of an orchestra. Widely acclaimed and imitated, the album cover design by English pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth was inspired by a sketch by Paul McCartney that depicted the band posing in front of a collage of some of their favourite celebrities.

Sgt. Pepper was a worldwide critical and commercial success, spending a total of 27 weeks at the top of the UK Album Chart and 15 weeks at number one on the US Billboard 200. A seminal work in the emerging psychedelic rock style, the album was critically acclaimed upon release and won four Grammy Awards in 1968. It is considered the most influential and most famous rock album of all time, and with an estimated 32 million copies sold, it is one of the world's best selling albums. Sgt. Pepper has been named the greatest album of all time by both All Time Top 1000 Albums and Rolling Stone.


By late 1965, the Beatles had grown weary of touring, and by the end of their 1966 US tour they decided to retire from live performance. Lennon commented: "We're fed up with making soft music for soft people, and we're fed up with playing for them too." Upon their return to England, rumours began to circulate that the band had decided to break up. They subsequently took an almost two-month vacation and individually became involved in their own interests. George Harrison travelled to India for six weeks to develop his sitar playing at the instruction of Ravi Shankar. In 1966, McCartney and producer George Martin collaborated on a soundtrack for the film The Family Way. Also in 1966, John Lennon acted in How I Won the War, and he attended art showings, such as one at the Indica Gallery where he met his future wife Yoko Ono. Ringo Starr used the break to spend more time with his wife and first child. In November, during a return flight to London from Kenya, where he had been on holiday with tour manager Mal Evans, McCartney had the creative idea that would first become a song, and would eventually inspire the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band concept. McCartney commented: "We did try performing some songs off [ Revolver], but there were so many complicated overdubs we can't do them justice. Now we can record anything we want, and it won't matter. And what we want is to raise the bar a notch, to make our best album ever."


When the Beatles had given up touring, Lennon said that they could "send out four waxworks ... and that would satisfy the crowds", and McCartney later explained, "We were fed up with being the Beatles. We really hated that four little mop-top approach. We were not boys, we were men ... and thought of ourselves as artists rather than just performers". In early February McCartney had the idea of recording an album that would represent a performance by a fictitious band. This alter ego group would give the band the freedom to experiment musically. McCartney explained: "I thought, let's not be ourselves. Let's develop alter egos ... it won't be us making all that sound, it won't be the Beatles, it'll be this other band, so we'll be able to lose our identities in this". Martin wrote of the fictitious band concept: "'Sergeant Pepper' itself didn't appear until halfway through making the album. It was Paul's song, just an ordinary rock number ... but when we had finished it, Paul said, 'Why don't we make the album as though the Pepper band really existed, as though Sergeant Pepper was making the record? We'll dub in effects and things.' I loved the idea, and from that moment on it was as though Pepper had a life of its own".

The album starts with the title song, which introduces Sgt. Pepper's band itself; this song segues 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 appears on side two of the album just prior to the climactic "A Day in the Life", creating a bookend effect. However, the band effectively abandoned the concept other than 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, and further noted that none of the other songs did either, saying "Every other song could have been on any other album". In spite of Lennon's statements to the contrary, the album has been widely heralded as an early and groundbreaking example of the concept album.


The Beatles began sessions for the album in late November 1966 with a series of recordings that were to form an album thematically linked to their childhood. The initial results of this effort produced " Strawberry Fields Forever", " When I'm Sixty-Four" and " Penny Lane". "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" were released as a double A-sided single in February 1967 after EMI and Epstein pressured Martin for a single. Once the single was released the childhood concept was abandoned in favour of Sgt. Pepper, and in keeping with the group's usual practice, the single tracks were not included on the LP (a decision Martin states he now regrets). They were released only as a single in the UK and Canada at the time, but were included as part of the American LP version of Magical Mystery Tour (which was issued as a six-track double EP in Britain). The Harrison composition " Only a Northern Song" was also recorded during the Sgt. Pepper sessions but did not see a release until the soundtrack album for the animated film Yellow Submarine, released in January 1969.

As EMI's premier act and the world's most successful rock group, the Beatles had almost unlimited access to Abbey Road Studios. By 1967, all of the Sgt. Pepper tracks could be recorded at Abbey Road using mono, stereo and four-track recorders. Although eight-track tape recorders were already available in the US, the first eight-tracks were not operational in commercial studios in London until late 1967, shortly after the album was released. Like its predecessors, the recording made extensive use of the technique known as "bouncing down" (also known at that time as a "reduction mix"), in which a number of tracks were recorded across the four tracks of one recorder, which were then mixed and dubbed down onto one or several tracks of the master four-track machine. This enabled the Abbey Road engineers to give the group a virtual multi-track studio.

New modular effects units were used, like the wah-wah pedal and fuzzbox, and running voices and instruments through a Leslie speaker. 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 a 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, it had always been necessary to record such vocal tracks twice; a task which was both tedious and exacting. ADT was invented especially for the band 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. Martin, having fun at 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 associated with this recording effect. Also important was varispeeding, the technique of recording various tracks on a multi-track tape at slightly different tape speeds, which was used extensively on their vocals in this period. The speeding up of vocals became a widespread technique in pop production. The band 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.

" Within You Without You" was recorded on 15 March with Harrison on vocals, sitar and tambura; the other instruments ( tabla, dilruba, swarmandel, and an additional tambura) were played by four London-based Indian musicians. None of the other Beatles participated in the recording. For the 17 March recording of " She's Leaving Home", McCartney hired Mike Leander to arrange the string section as Martin was occupied producing one of his other artists, Cilla Black.

The lyrics for Lennon's song " Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!", were adapted from a Victorian circus poster for Pablo Fanque's circus, which Lennon had bought at an antique shop in Kent on the day of filming the promotional clip for "Strawberry Fields Forever" there. The sound collage 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.

This album also makes heavy use of keyboard instruments: a grand piano is used on tracks such as "A Day in the Life", a Lowrey organ is used for "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", a harpsichord can be heard on "Fixing a Hole", and Martin played a harmonium on "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!". An electric piano, upright piano, Hammond organ and glockenspiel can also be heard on the record. Harrison used a tambura on several tracks, including "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Getting Better".

The thunderous piano chord that 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, McCartney and assistant Mal Evans hammered the keys on the assembled pianos and held down 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.

British pressings of the album (in its original LP form that was later released on CD), end 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 run-out groove looping back into itself. The loop (but not the tone) made its US debut on the 1980 Rarities compilation, titled "Sgt. Pepper Inner Groove". However, it is only featured as a two-second fragment at the end of side two rather than an actual loop in the run-out groove. The CD version of "Sgt. Pepper Inner Groove" is actually a bit shorter than that one found on the original UK vinyl pressing. The sound in the loop caused some controversy when it was interpreted as a 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'". McCartney recounted to Miles that "we had certainly had not intended to do that but probably when you turn anything backwards it sounds like something ... if you look hard enough you can make something out of anything". When the album was repressed for LP release in 2012, it took several attempts to successfully reproduce the run-out groove effect.


Concerns that lyrics in Sgt. Pepper referred to recreational drug use led to several songs from the album being banned by the BBC. 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 at the time, although McCartney's later comments in The Beatles Anthology documentary regarding the writing of the lyric make it clear that the drug reference was indeed deliberate.

"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, Lennon consistently denied this interpretation of the song, maintaining that the song describes a surreal dreamscape 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 ... 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.
— Paul McCartney

At other times, though, McCartney seems to have contradicted himself. "When [Martin] was doing his TV program on Pepper," McCartney is quoted as saying, "he asked me, 'Do you know what caused Pepper?' I said, 'In one word, George, drugs. Pot.' And George said, 'No, no. But you weren't on it all the time.' 'Yes, we were.' Sgt. Pepper was a drug album."

Cover artwork

The Grammy Award-winning album packaging was art-directed by Robert Fraser, designed by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, his wife and artistic partner, and photographed by Michael Cooper. It featured a colourful collage of life-sized cardboard models of famous people on the front of the album cover and the lyrics printed in full on the back cover, the first time this had been done on a rock LP. In the guise of the Sgt. Pepper band, the Beatles were dressed in custom-made military-style outfits made of satin dyed in day-glo colours. The suits were designed by Manuel Cuevas. Among the insignia on their uniforms are: MBE medals on McCartney's and Harrison's jackets, the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom on Lennon's right sleeve and an Ontario Provincial Police flash on McCartney's sleeve.

In the centre of the cover, the Beatles stand behind a drum on which are painted the words of the album's title; the drum was painted by fairground artist Joe Ephgrave. The collage depicted around 60 famous people, including writers, musicians, film stars, and (at Harrison's request) a number of Indian gurus. The final grouping included Marlene Dietrich, Carl Gustav Jung, W.C. Fields, Diana Dors, Bob Dylan, Issy Bonn, Marilyn Monroe, Aldous Huxley, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sigmund Freud, Aleister Crowley, T. E. Lawrence, Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe, Karl Marx, Sir Robert Peel, Oscar Wilde, H. G. Wells, Marlon Brando, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, and Lenny Bruce. Also included was the image of the original Beatles' bassist, the late Stuart Sutcliffe. Pete Best said in a later NPR interview that Lennon borrowed family medals from his (Best's) mother Mona for the shoot, on condition that he did 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. The final cost for the cover art was nearly £3,000 (equivalent to £40,606 today) an extravagant sum for a time when album covers would typically cost around £50.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars
Robert Christgau A
Crawdaddy! 5/5 stars
The Daily Telegraph 5/5 stars
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars
The New Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars
Paste 89/100
Pitchfork Media 10/10
The Rolling Stone Record Guide 4/5 stars
Sputnikmusic 5/5

Upon its release on 1 June 1967, Sgt. Pepper received 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 civilisation". Richard Poirier wrote "listening to the Sgt. Pepper album one thinks not simply of the history of popular music but the history of this century."

In a negative review, Richard Goldstein of The New York Times found the album "spoiled" and felt that it "reek[ed]" of "special effects, dazzling but ultimately fraudulent". After he was criticized for his review, Goldstein published a response a month later, in which he said that he was worried "as a critic" that the album was not on-par with the best of the Beatles' previous work, despite being "better than 80 per cent of the music around today". He called it an "in-between experience, a chic", and felt that when the novelty of its production tricks wears off, "and the compositions are stripped to their musical and lyrical essentials, Sergeant Pepper will be Beatles baroque—an elaboration without improvement". Robert Christgau of The Village Voice wrote in an article at the time that the album is "a consolidation, more intricate than Revolver but not more substantial. Part of Goldstein's mistake, I think, has been to allow all the filters and reverbs and orchestral effects and overdubs to deafen him to the stuff underneath, which was pretty nice, and to fall victim to overanticipation." He called the album "a dozen good songs and true" in a 1977 retrospective review for Creem, and stated, "Perhaps they're too precisely performed, but I'm not going to complain."

In his Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Colin Larkin wrote that the album "turned out to be no mere pop album but a cultural icon embracing the constituent elements of the 60s' youth culture: pop art, garish fashion, drugs, instant mysticism and freedom from parental control." In a 1987 review for Q, Charles Shaar Murray commented that the album "remains a central pillar of the mythology and iconography of the late '60s." Anthony DeCurtis of Rolling Stone argued that it "revolutionized rock & roll" and that its "immensely pleasurable trip has earned Sgt. Pepper its place as the best record of the past twenty years." DeCurtis found it to be "not only the Beatles' most artistically ambitious album but their funniest" and cited its "fun-loving experimentalism" as the album's "best legacy for our time." By contrast, Robert Christgau said that, "although Sgt. Pepper is thought of as the most influential of all rock masterpieces, it is really only the most famous. In retrospect it seems peculiarly apollonian—precise, controlled, even stiff—and it is clearly peripheral to the rock mainstream", and asserted that "the 'concept album' idea was embodied more fruitfully—and earlier in Rubber Soul." Mark Kemp of Paste wrote similarly, "for all its sonic richness, Sgt. Pepper remains one of rock's most overrated albums—its songwriting isn’t nearly as consistent as Revolver's, and its storyline is abandoned after the first two tracks and artificially reprised near the end."

Commercial performance

The album also received popular acclaim. It was a global hit, with huge sales in Europe, North and South America, Africa, Japan, Australia, and even in the black market in the Soviet Union, where their albums were very popular and widely available. In the UK it debuted at number eight and the next week reached number one where it stayed for 23 consecutive weeks. It was knocked off the top by The Sound of Music on the week ending 18 November 1967. Eventually it spent more weeks at the top, including the competitive Christmas week. When the CD edition was released on 1 June 1987, it reached number 3. In June 1992, the CD was re-promoted to commemorate its 25th Anniversary, and charted at number six. In 2007, commemorating 40 years of its release, Sgt. Pepper again re-entered the charts at number 47 in the UK. In all, the album spent a total of 201 weeks on the UK charts, and is the second biggest-selling album in UK chart history behind Queen's Greatest Hits. Sgt. Pepper won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, the first rock album to do so, and Best Contemporary Album in 1968. Sgt. Pepper is one of the world's best selling albums, with 11 million RIAA certified copies sold in the US. The album won Best British Album at the first Brit Awards in 1977.

Frank Zappa, whose Freak Out! was cited as an influence on the album, accused the group 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".


Sgt. Pepper has been named on many lists of the best rock albums. In 1997 Sgt. Pepper was named the number one 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 seven, while in 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 10. In 2005, the album was ranked number 1 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The publisher called it "the most important rock & roll album ever made ... by the greatest rock & roll group 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. The album was named as one of Classic Rock magazine's "50 Albums That Built Prog Rock". In 2003, it was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. In July 2008 the "iconic bass drum skin" used on the front cover sold at auction for €670,000 (US$879,000). In November 2009, the entire album was made available to download for The Beatles: Rock Band on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii. The game disc already had the album's title track, "With a Little Help from My Friends", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "Getting Better" and "Good Morning Good Morning"; the download provides the remaining tracks from the album. On 30 March 2013, a rare, signed (by all four Beatles) copy of the album was sold at Dallas-based Heritage Auctions to an unnamed buyer from the Midwestern United States for $290,500.


Sgt. Pepper has inspired a number of tribute albums, such as NME's Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father in 1988. In 2008, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the album's release, rock pioneer and long-time associate of Starr, Todd Rundgren headlined a live performance tour of Sgt. Pepper featuring an all star cast. In the show were former Wings member Denny Laine, former American Idol Bo Bice, Foreigner vocalist Lou Gramm, and Grammy Award winner Christopher Cross. The American rock band Cheap Trick performed the entire Sgt. Pepper album live in New York and released the live recording in both CD and DVD formats in September 2009, with all proceeds benefiting prostate cancer research. This recording was engineered by Geoff Emerick, the original engineer for the Sgt. Pepper album. In April 2009, the reggae group Easy Star All-Stars released a dub reggae tribute cover of Sgt. Pepper, Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, a feature film based on the album and other Beatles songs, was released in 1978.


Grammy Awards

Nominated for seven Grammys in 1968, it won four, including Album of the Year, the first rock album to receive this honour.

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)

Planned television film

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. 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 cancelled, 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 Lennon documentary Imagine: John Lennon was released in 1988. A more complete version was later aired in The Beatles Anthology documentary. In 1992, an hour-long feature produced by London Weekend Television called The Making of Sgt. Pepper was aired, and featured George Martin, the three surviving Beatles and Neil Aspinall discussing the album and the songs, with George Martin running through the tapes, similar in fashion to VH1's Classic Albums documentaries.

Track listing

Sgt. Pepper was the first Beatles album to be released with identical track listings in the UK and the US. The American release did not originally contain the side two runout groove and inner groove sound effects that were restored for the worldwide CD issue, released on 1 June 1987.

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

Side one
No. 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 2:48
5. " Fixing a Hole"   McCartney 2:36
6. " She's Leaving Home"   McCartney with Lennon 3:35
7. " Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!"   Lennon 2:37
Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. " Within You Without You" ( George Harrison) Harrison 5:04
2. " When I'm Sixty-Four"   McCartney 2:37
3. " Lovely Rita"   McCartney 2:42
4. " Good Morning Good Morning"   Lennon 2:41
5. " Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)"   Lennon, McCartney and Harrison 1:19
6. " A Day in the Life"   Lennon and McCartney 5:39

Track list information according to Graham Calkin, Mark Lewisohn and Ian MacDonald.


According to Mark Lewisohn and Alan W. Pollack

The Beatles
  • John Lennon – lead, harmony and background vocals; lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars; piano and Hammond organ; harmonica, tape loops, sound effects and comb and tissue paper; handclaps, tambourine and maracas
  • Paul McCartney – lead, harmony and background vocals; lead and bass guitars; piano, Lowrey and Hammond organs; handclaps; vocalizations, tape loops, sound effects and comb and tissue paper
  • George Harrison – lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars; sitar; lead, harmony and background vocals; tamboura; harmonica and kazoo; handclaps and maracas
  • Ringo Starr – drums, congas, tambourine, maracas, handclaps and tubular bells; lead vocals; harmonica; 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 (on "Fixing a Hole"), harmonium, Lowrey organ and glockenspiel (on "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!"), Hammond organ (on "With a Little Help from My Friends"), and piano (on "Getting Better" and the solo in "Lovely Rita"); final harmonium chord.
  • Session musicians – four French horns (on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"), (Neil Sanders, James W. Buck, John Burden, Tony Randall), 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


Chart (1967) Peak
Australian Albums Chart 1
Norwegian Albums Chart 1
UK Albums Chart 1
US Billboard 200 1
Chart (2009) Peak
Australian Albums Chart 16
Brazilian Albums Chart 20
Finnish Albums Chart 9
Italian Albums Chart 9
Mexican Albums Chart 13
Norwegian Albums Chart 31
Portuguese Albums Chart 4
Spanish Albums Chart 22
New Zealand Albums Chart 12
UK Albums Chart 5
US Billboard 200 114

The album entered the UK Albums Chart on 3 June 1967 and remained there for 201 weeks. In the US the album stayed in the Billboard 200 chart for 175 weeks. It remained at number one in the US for 15 weeks, longer than any other Beatles album released in the US during the sixties.


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Argentina ( CAPIF) 2× Platinum 120,000x
Argentina ( CAPIF)
1987 CD issue
3× Platinum 180,000x
Australia ( ARIA) 4× Platinum 280,000^
Brazil ( ABPD) Gold 100,000*
Canada ( Music Canada) 8× Platinum 800,000^
Germany ( BVMI) Platinum 500,000^
New Zealand ( RIANZ) 6× Platinum 90,000^
United Kingdom 5,045,000
United States ( RIAA) 11× Platinum 11,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

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