Beatles Tease Sgt. Pepper’s 50th Anniversary Reissueby Best Classic Bands Staff
The Beatles today (March 31) posted a graphic on their social media accounts that appeared to tease a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band reissue. The album will celebrate its 50th anniversary on June 1.
Here’s the original graphic…
At around 5:15 p.m. ET that afternoon, Ringo Starr offered a breadcrumb (see below). There were reports–still unconfirmed–earlier this month that the album many say is the greatest rock recording of all time, or at least The Beatles’ high-water mark, would have two songs added to it.
The way the story goes, the Beatles were originally going to include two newly written compositions, “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane,” on the album. But with their record company, EMI, clamoring for a new Beatles single to keep them on the charts, the band agreed—reticently—to release those two songs as a single. When the album was being prepared for release, it was decided not to include the two already-released tracks on the LP.
If the report out of London is correct, the new Pepper reissue will, however, include both sides of the single, making up for that long-ago decision. According to the article, “The Beatles’ company Apple Corps are said to have the backing of all parties involved in the record for the changes to be included in the new release.”
Coming soon peace and love peace and good 😎✌️🌟💖🎵🎶🎵🎶☮ pic.twitter.com/ad0PeHQ0bW
— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) March 31, 2017
On March 6, when Best Classic Bands asked a spokeswoman for UMe, the catalog division of Universal Music Group, the parent company of the Beatles’ label Capitol Records in the United States, about the rumor, she replied, “We have no information at this time,” when asked if the U.K. report was true.
According to the article in The Mirror, Beatles producer George Martin, who died last March, confessed that he was partly to blame for the two songs being omitted from the final album, calling the decision “the biggest mistake of [his] professional life.” According to the piece, he said, “The only reason that ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’ didn’t go onto the album was a feeling that if we issued a single it shouldn’t go onto an album. It was a crazy idea, and I’m afraid I was partly responsible…Brian [Epstein, the Beatles’ manager] came to me and said, ‘I must have a really great single. What have you got?’ I said, ‘I’ve got three tracks and two of them are the best tracks [Lennon and McCartney] have ever written.’ So we put them together.”
“Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” both reached #2 in England while in the U.S., “Penny Lane” made #1 and “Strawberry Fields Forever” hit #8 on the Billboard chart. The Sgt. Pepper album, meanwhile, topped the LP chart in both countries and several others.
The Beatles have a history of teasing big releases. On September 12, 2015, they teased what ultimate became a big reissue campaign for their 1 collection.
Best Classic Bands will continue to update this story.