A new documentary celebrates the classic 1967 Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The film, It Was 50 Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt Pepper & Beyond, focuses on the 12 months around the recording of the album.
The movie, directed by Alan G. Parker, features archival video and interviews with people like John Lennon’s sister Julia and former Beatles drummer Pete Best. Check out the trailer for the movie.
It Was 50 Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt Pepper & Beyond will be in U.K. theaters on May 26, 2017 followed by release on DVD later in the summer.
Also, as part of the celebration of the anniversary of the album, a new box set special edition is being released of the album featuring 34 bonus tracks of outtakes.
For more about Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, check out the video of “Things You Didn’t Know” about the album below.
On January 30, 1969, the Beatles went to the rooftop of Apple headquarters for their first live performance in more than two years. The impromptu show continued for 42 minutes until the band was shut down by the police.
The Rooftop Performance
The performance was in some ways a last gasp of a group that was coming apart. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were trying to get back to their roots with some help from keyboardist Billy Preston.
Of course, the performance did not save the band. But it gave the world one more glimpse at the genius that was The Beatles. And they rocked.
The rooftop concert was part of The Beatles’ work on a project that was entitled Get Back at the time. The album would ultimately be entitled Let It Be, as would the film that included 21 minutes of the performance.
Currently, the full performance is not available for embedding, but below is the Beatles performing “Don’t Let Me Down” on the roof.
Release of Let It Be
The Beatles released the album from the sessions, Let It Be, in May 1970. The release came soon after the band had broken up.
Let It Be was the final studio album released by The Beatles. However, they recorded their album Abbey Road after Let It Be. But they released Let it Be earlier, releasing it in September (U.K.) and October (U.S.) 1969.
On August 3, 1965, the Beatles released the album Help! in the United Kingdom, releasing it ten days later in the United States on August 13. During this time in their careers, the Fab Four were reducing their promotional appearances. So they only appeared on only one U.K. television show to promote the new album, Blackpool Night Out.
ABC TV made Blackpool Night Out, filming the show at the ABC Theatre in Blackpool, a summer seaside resort city with other connections to John Lennon. The live broadcast with the Beatles ran from 9.10 pm to 10.05 pm.
The Beatles performed several songs on the Sunday, August 1, 1965 show. They started with “I Feel Fine,” “I’m Down,” “Act Naturally,” and “Ticket To Ride.”
Next, Paul McCartney sang “Yesterday” by himself in the song’s first performance on British television. The band returned, with Lennon carrying flowers and joking, “Thank you Ringo, that was wonderful.” The band closed with “Help!” Below you may hear the audio of part of the 1965 show.
Although some thought the video of the show was lost, a video of the show popped up on YouTube recently. Unfortunately, they had to take it down for copyright issues.
The album Anthology 2 (1996) included fours songs from this performance, “I Feel Fine,” “Ticket To Ride,” “Yesterday,” and “Help!”
What is your favorite Beatles TV appearance? Leave your two cents in the comments.
Ever since I started this blog, I have been planning to write a post about one of my favorite singers, Arthur Alexander. I have been putting it off because I feared I could not do justice to his story. But since Arthur Alexander Jr.’s birthday is this week because he was born on May 10, 1940 in Sheffield, Alabama, I figured that the least I could do was to post my favorite Arthur Alexander song, “Every Day I Have to Cry.” And then maybe we will return to more of his music at another time.
Alexander should be much more famous than he is. His songs have been covered by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, George Jones, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, Dusty Springfield, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many others. The country soul singer began recording music in the early 1960s with songs that would become well-known like “You Better Move On” and “Anna (Go to Him),” the latter recorded by The Beatles.
Several singers covered “Every Day I Have to Cry” before Alexander got around to recording it. Steve Alaimo first recorded it in 1962, and the Bee Gees recorded it in 1965. Ike and Tina Turner covered it in 1966. Alexander finally recorded it in 1974.
Unfortunately, Alexander’s career never took off like it should have. After his 1972 album Rainbow Road found little success, he left the music business and by the 1980s was working as a bus driver for the Center for Human Services in Cleveland, Ohio.
But as interest in his catalog begin to grow, he returned to his music the early 1990s. In 1993, he released his first album in 21 years, Lonely Just Like Me. He kept his bus driving job as the album was released, but as the record began to gain attention, he prepared for a tour.
At the time of the album’s release, Alexander was surprised by the renewed interest in his career “I’m finding out the seeds I planted all that time ago were good seeds. That’s really something – I was gone for such a long time.”
He finally was on the verge of the success he deserved. But then, soon after the album’s release, he had a fatal heart attack and died on June 9, 1993.
Alexander’s birthday is a great day to track down and listen to more of his music, as are the other 364 days of the year. Thee are plenty of good seeds to find. One of my favorite albums is the special edition of the album his 1990s comeback, Lonely Just Like Me, but it is hard to go wrong with any of his music. For more on Alexander’s career, check out this post by Richard Younger or this article on RCR. Or you may read his 1993 obituary in the New York Times. What is your favorite Arthur Alexander song? Leave your two cents in the comments.
In the following video, Nerdwriter1 explores the effects The Beatles had on the covers of record albums. In the video, he explores how The Beatles led a trend that changed albums “from a marketing tool to a work of art.”
He begins with a brief background on the development of record album covers generally. Then he discusses how The Beatles’ album covers helped change things. Ultimately leading us to what he calls “the Holy Grail of album covers,” which is, of course, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), which was designed by Peter Blake. Check out “How the Beatles Changed Album Covers.”
What is your favorite album cover? Leave your two cents in the comments.