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Amazing Trivia about the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Album

studio shot of the sgt. pepper album cover by the beatles shows hitler cutout off to side

A Hitler cutout was removed from the set

the sgt. pepper album cover beatles eighth studio album

This is a rare photograph that’s more of a behind-the-scenes than uncropped picture. It’s a studio shot from the making of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. Often shortened to Sgt. Pepper, it was The Beatles eigth studio album.

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 lyrics printed on the back cover, the first time this had been done on a British pop LP. The Beatles themselves, in the guise of the Sgt. Pepper band, were dressed in custom-made military-style outfits made of satin dyed in day-glo colours.

The collage depicted more than 70 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, James Dean, Bob Dylan, Issy Bonn, Marilyn Monroe, Aldous Huxley, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sigmund Freud, Aleister Crowley, Edgar Allan Poe, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, William S. Burroughs, Marlon Brando, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, and controversial comedian Lenny Bruce. Also included was the image of the original Beatles’ bassist, the late Stuart Sutcliffe. Adolf Hitler and Jesus Christ were requested by Lennon, but ultimately they were left out.

The celebrities and items featured on the front cover are (by row, left to right):

Top row:

  • Sri Yukteswar Giri (Hindu guru)
  • Aleister Crowley (occultist)
  • Mae West (actress)
  • Lenny Bruce (comedian)
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen (composer)
  • W. C. Fields (comedian/actor)
  • Carl Gustav Jung (psychiatrist)
  • Edgar Allan Poe (writer)
  • Fred Astaire (actor/dancer)
  • Richard Merkin (artist)
  • The Vargas Girl (by artist Alberto Vargas)
  • Huntz Hall (actor)
  • Simon Rodia (designer and builder of the Watts Towers)
  • Bob Dylan (singer/songwriter)

Second row:

  • Aubrey Beardsley (illustrator)
  • Sir Robert Peel (19th century British Prime Minister)
  • Aldous Huxley (writer)
  • Dylan Thomas (poet)
  • Terry Southern (writer)
  • Brian Bridge (Part actor)((Deceased))
  • Dion Dimucci (singer/songwriter)
  • Tony Curtis (actor)
  • Wallace Berman (artist)
  • Tommy Handley (comedian)
  • Marilyn Monroe (actress)
  • William S. Burroughs (writer)
  • Sri Mahavatar Babaji (Hindu guru)
  • Stan Laurel (actor/comedian)
  • Richard Lindner (artist)
  • Oliver Hardy (actor/comedian)
  • Karl Marx (political philosopher)
  • H. G. Wells (writer)
  • Sri Paramahansa Yogananda (Hindu guru)
  • Sigmund Freud (psychiatrist) – barely visible below Bob Dylan
  • Anonymous (hairdresser’s wax dummy)

Third row:

  • Stuart Sutcliffe (artist/former Beatle)
  • Anonymous (hairdresser’s wax dummy)
  • Max Miller (comedian)
  • A “Petty Girl” (by artist George Petty)
  • Marlon Brando (actor)
  • Tom Mix (actor)
  • Oscar Wilde (writer)
  • Tyrone Power (actor)
  • Larry Bell (artist)
  • Dr. David Livingstone (missionary/explorer)
  • Johnny Weissmuller (Olympic swimmer/Tarzan actor)
  • Stephen Crane (writer) – barely visible between Issy Bonn’s head and raised arm
  • Issy Bonn (comedian)
  • George Bernard Shaw (playwright)
  • H. C. Westermann (sculptor)
  • Albert Stubbins (football player)
  • Sri Lahiri Mahasaya (guru)
  • Lewis Carroll (writer)
  • T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”)

Front row:

  • Wax model of Sonny Liston (boxer)
  • A “Petty Girl” (by George Petty)
  • Wax model of George Harrison
  • Wax model of John Lennon
  • Shirley Temple (child actress) – barely visible, first of three appearances on the cover
  • Wax model of Ringo Starr
  • Wax model of Paul McCartney
  • Albert Einstein (physicist) – largely obscured
  • John Lennon holding a French horn
  • Ringo Starr holding a trumpet
  • Paul McCartney holding a Cor Anglais
  • George Harrison holding a piccolo
  • Bobby Breen (singer)
  • Marlene Dietrich (actress/singer)
  • An American legionnaire[1]
  • Diana Dors (actress)
  • Shirley Temple (child actress) – second appearance on the cover

Other objects within the group include:

  • Cloth grandmother-figure by Jann Haworth
  • Cloth doll by Haworth of Shirley Temple wearing a sweater that reads “Welcome The Rolling Stones Good Guys”
  • A ceramic Mexican craft known as a Tree of Life from Metepec
  • A 9-inch Sony television set, apparently owned by Paul McCartney – the receipt, bearing McCartney’s signature, is owned by a curator of a museum dedicated to The Beatles in Japan.
  • A stone figure of a girl
  • Another stone figure
  • A statue brought over from John Lennon’s house
  • A trophy
  • A doll of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi
  • A drum skin, designed by fairground artist Joe Ephgrave
  • A hookah (water pipe)
  • A velvet snake
  • A Fukusuke, Japanese china figure
  • A stone figure of Snow White
  • A garden gnome
  • A euphonium/baritone horn

People who were originally intended for the front cover but were ultimately excluded:

  • Leo Gorcey – was modelled and originally included to the left of Huntz Hall, but was subsequently removed when a fee of $400 was requested for the use of the actor’s likeness.
  • Mohandas Gandhi – was modelled and originally included to the right of Lewis Carroll, but was subsequently removed. According to McCartney, “Gandhi also had to go because the head of EMI, Sir Joe Lockwood, said that in India they wouldn’t allow the record to be printed”.
  • Jesus Christ – was requested by Lennon, but not modelled because the LP would be released only a few months after Lennon’s Jesus statement.
  • Adolf Hitler – was modelled and was visible in early photographs of the montage, positioned to the right of Larry Bell, but was eventually obscured by Johnny Weissmuller in the final image.
  • Germán Valdés – was considered to appear in the first row, but he declined the offer and suggested to replace his image by a Mexican craftmanship known as “Tree of Life”.Ringo Starr agreed and placed it in the lower right corner of the cover.
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