Fans mark 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Dublin’s Wolfe Tone Square the site for recreation of Beatles’ famous album cover

What does the Beatles mean to me? Fifty years after the release of their groundbreaking album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, fans gather in Wolfe Tone Square, Dublin to celebrate. Video: Ronan McGreevy

 

It was 50 years ago today that The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

This record would for many of their fans be the definitive statement of genius and classic soundtrack of the 1960s.

Released on June 1st, 1967, it has not dated a day in the intervening 50 years. Its celebrated cover with its array of sixties icons both living and dead also remains fresh in the imagination.

To mark the half century, Universal Records recreated the cover and its elaborate flower display in Wolfe Tone Square in the centre of Dublin.

A steady stream of visitors came throughout the day as the album was played on rotation.

Some were old enough to remember the release of the original album. Philip McCaffrey said the first album he ever bought was Rubber Soul. “My favourite Beatle was always John Lennon. To me The Beatles means everything to do with music in the 1960s.”

Others were not born when The Beatles were around, but it has not diminished their appreciation of the band’s timeless music beginning with the title track and ending in A Day in the Life.

That song, inspired by louche Irish aristocrat Tara Browne – who died in a car crash at the age of 21 – is the subject of a recent biography by Paul Howard entitled, I Read the News Today, Oh Boy.

Both of the surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, commented on the centenary in the sleeve notes to the anniversary edition.

The strain of making the album with tensions beginning to surface between Lennon and McCartney while Starr and George Harrison felt sidelined, has meant that it has taken decades for them to put the album in its proper perspective.

McCartney wrote: “It’s crazy to think that 50 years later we are looking back on this project with such fondness and a little bit of amazement at how four guys, a great producer and his engineers could make such a lasting piece of art.”

Starr was once asked what his favourite memory was of making Sgt Pepper. He responded laconically, “learning to play chess” as he had so much downtime.

In the sleeve notes, he writes: “Sgt Pepper seemed to capture the mood of that year, and it also allowed a lot of other people to kick off from there and to really go for it.”