Sgt. Pepper Will Grow by Two Songs, UK Paper Says

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June 1 marks the 50th anniversary of the album many say is the greatest rock recording of all time, or at least The Beatles’ high-water mark, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. If a report in the U.K. newspaper The Mirror is accurate—and as of yet there has been no confirmation from the band’s label—the album will be reissued yet again this coming June 1, with a couple of songs added to its track list.

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.

Related: Sgt. Pepper cover artist creates huge collage

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.”

A spokeswoman for UMe, the parent company of the Beatles’ label Capitol Records in the United States, simply said, “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.

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12 Comments so far

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  1. Mike
    #1 Mike 6 March, 2017, 19:51

    Mike Nesmith, who was at the Listening Party of this Album, is Featured in this Promo Video, Chatting Up John!

    Reply this comment
    • Greg Brodsky
      Greg Brodsky 6 March, 2017, 22:43

      Good one, Mike!

      Reply this comment
    • Ray
      Ray 7 March, 2017, 08:41

      Yeah, that 4-5 seconds of Nesmith is what made the video so interesting (please note sarcasm). I wonder how Mike felt about being in a room with real musicians (Jagger, Richards, Donovan, and of course, the Beatles) and realizing most of his cutesy little band’s music had been recorded by session players.

      Reply this comment
      • Ted
        Ted 7 March, 2017, 09:53

        Mike Nesmith recorded some great solo albums and wrote some great songs. Magnetic South, Loose Salute, Nevada Fighter, antamount to Treason Vol. 1, Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash etc etc… Of the twelve studio albums The Monkees released, Nesmith performed, produced, and wrote songs on ten of the albums. He wrote and had a hit with Rio… he’s well respected by incredible musicians such as Red Rhodes, Larry Knechtel, Hal Blaine, James Burton , Glenn Campbell amongst a few. The cult band The Paul Butterfield Blues Band recorded Nesmith’s song “Mary Mary” on the classic blues album East-West.

        He was also an executive producer of the cult film Repo Man (1984). In 1981, Nesmith won the first Grammy Award given for Video of the Year for his hour-long television show, Elephant Parts. he has his own record label Pacific Arts that also does film and video production.

        talented man.

        Reply this comment
        • Keith A
          Keith A 7 March, 2017, 13:13

          You’re right, Ted. Nesmith is a great talent, which he proved while he was with The Monkees and for decades afterward. And The Beatles themselves enjoyed The Monkees’ TV show and music.

          Reply this comment
      • cmcv
        cmcv 7 March, 2017, 17:50

        What a stupidly snarky comment. No one was more aware that Nesmith the Monkees were not playing on their early recordings, that’s why he led the revolt that gave them control. He’s a first rate songwriter and musician and a great Beatles appreciator.

        Don’t be jealous the Fab Four thought enough of Nesmith to spend time with him.

        Reply this comment
      • jack
        jack 8 March, 2017, 11:17

        Mike Nesmith is a real musician. You need to gain more knowledge.

        Reply this comment
  2. PaulC
    #2 PaulC 7 March, 2017, 09:49

    If I have to endure yet another release, I hope this one will be available in high resolution or at least a surround mix.

    Reply this comment
  3. Ignatz
    #3 Ignatz 7 March, 2017, 12:17

    Nesmith was a real musician, and the chief reason the Monkees went from being a fake band to being a real band. Because he simply refused to pretend that he was playing. On the Monkees third album (Headquarters) all four of them are playing, singing and composing. And have creative control of the product. And the album went to number 1. Nesmith is largely responsible for that.

    That said, I wonder where they are going to put the tracks. Sgt. Pepper is a practically perfect album just like it is. And I usually don’t like Bonus Tracks (the extra tracks are usually weak, thus making the album longer, but less good). This is different though. But they need to be in the right place, so as not to interrupt the flow of such a great album.

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    • Harrison UK
      Harrison UK 8 March, 2017, 08:02

      Absolutely, placing the songs will be tough…Starberry Fields after Fixing a Hole and Penny Lane after Within Without you , they also don’t kinda fit the album anymore

      Reply this comment
  4. Pete
    #4 Pete 7 March, 2017, 23:24

    Interesting . Wonder the track listing and will there be both a MONO and STEREO . An affordable Box set of the two would be good .

    Reply this comment
  5. Dan Harris
    #5 Dan Harris 8 March, 2017, 15:47

    Shouldn’t they also add Hello Goodbye, Baby You’re a Rich Man and the two Harrison songs on Yellow Submarine. I always felt that the B side of Magical Mystery Tour was the C side of Sgt. Pepper

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