On this day in music history: June 1, 1967 – “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, the eighth studio album by The Beatles is released. Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios and Regent Sound Studios in London from December 6, 1966 – April 21, 1967. Following the innovative and successful “Revolver”, The Beatles further push the boundaries of popular music, with the aid of producer Martin. Mid way through the sessions, Paul McCartney comes up with the concept of The Beatles taking on the guise of “Sgt. Pepper” as being an alter ego for themselves, giving them more freedom to be experimental musically and visually. The recording takes over 400 hours of studio time to complete. The iconic cover art is designed by artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth (photographed by Michael Cooper) features The Beatles dressed in military style uniforms, backed by a collage of life sized cardboard cutouts of famous people. Original LP pressings come with a custom psychedelic inner sleeve designed and painted by Dutch design collective The Fool (Simon Posthuma and Marijke Koger). It is released to unanimous praise, and regarded as one of the most influential albums of all time. “Pepper” is nominated for seven Grammy Awards, winning four including Album Of The Year in 1968. First released on CD in 1987, it is remastered and reissued on CD in 2009. The mono version, regarded by many including The Beatles themselves to be the superior mix, is finally released on CD in 2009. The stereo version is remastered and reissued on 180 gram vinyl in 2012, with the mono following in 2014. Both vinyl releases replicate the original UK LP packaging. For its fiftieth anniversary, it receives new stereo and 5.1 surround remixes, reconstructing the multi-tracks digitally from the session work tapes stored in the Abbey Road tape archive. As the four track masters were composited from previous submasters, many songs required as many as four tape to tape pre-mixdowns before the final mixes were made. As a result of the multiple bounces, the clarity and presence of many overdubs were diminished, particularly the drum tracks. The new stereo, DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround remixes by Giles Martin, reveal a fuller and more natural balance in stereo, rather than the hard left/right panning of the original stereo mixes. “Pepper” is reissued on May 26, 2017 in three configurations, as a two CD, double vinyl and a four CD + DVD and Blu-ray deluxe edition box set. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” spends fifteen weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, is certified 11x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1993, and is selected for preservation by the National Recording Registry Of The Library Of Congress in 2003.
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