10 Great Sgt. Pepper Cover and Label Images

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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Iconic Front Cover

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band Front Cover Image
Apple Records

This was, at the time, an audacious approach to packaging a pop record. The Beatles used avant garde British artist Peter Blake to help them create an amazing, life-sized set with a photo montage into which the band was inserted, holding instruments and wearing their colourful Sgt. Pepper uniforms. It is essentially The Beatles surrounded by a crowd of people they admired - plus some others suggested by Blake and his then-wife and assistant, American Jann Haworth.  

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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Rear Cover

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Rear Cover
Apple Records

The rear cover of the Sgt. Pepper LP contained another first for the time. The lyrics of all the songs were reproduced in full so that fans could follow along. So many elements of the cover design have since become common practice it's hard to imagine this being fresh and different - but it definitely was for the time.

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The Sgt. Pepper Gatefold Photo

Sgt. Pepper Gatefold
Apple Records

Sgt. Pepperwas one of the first pop music LPs to have a gatefold cover, which opened up to reveal this terrific, smiling and warm image of the group. Taken on March 30, 1967, the photographer was Michael Cooper.

In the 1997 biography by his friend Barry Miles (Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now), McCartney recalls how they achieved that look: "One of the things we were very much into in those days was eye messages....So with Michael Cooper's inside photo, we all said, 'Now look into this camera and really say I love you! Really try and feel love; really give love through this! It'll come out; it'll show; it's an attitude.' And that's what that is, if you look at it you'll see the big effort from the eyes." (pg. 344-345)

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The Sgt. Pepper Cut-Out Insert Sheet

Sgt. Pepper Cut-out Inner
Apple Records

Inside one side of the Sgt. Pepper gatefold sleeve (which was also unusual in pop releases of the time) there was a treat for fans. The Beatles had included a cardboard sheet of cut-out images, including a fake moustache, an imaginary picture of Sgt. Pepper, military stripes, two badges, and a stand-up image of the band. Finding this insert today in original copies of the LP makes them more valuable.   

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The Famous Sgt. Pepper Inner Sleeve

Sgt. Pepper Inner Sleeve
Apple Records

Beatle collectors also look for this inner sleeve in which the vinyl record itself was placed. It was created by a Dutch design team that went by the name The Fool (they also painted the psychedelic exterior of the Beatles' Apple Boutique in London). So, for the first time, the usual white paper record inner sleeve looked very different. What fans got was unique: an abstract pattern of red, pink and white waves.

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Parlophone Label of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sgt. Pepper LP Label
Apple Records

In the UK (and a wide range of other countries) the Beatles' original releases were issued on the Parlophone label. Parlophone was a subsidiary of the mammoth EMI company which at the time owned the Capitol, HMV and EMI labels, amongst many others. This example is from an Australian release.  

In the USA early editions of Sgt. Pepper would be found on the Capitol label.

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Sgt. Pepper's First Issue on CD

Sgt. Pepper on CD for the first time
Apple Records

When the Beatles back catalogue was issued on CD for the first time back in 1987, the HMV company in the UK (a subsidiary of EMI, and which owned a chain of record stores) released a set of limited edition boxed sets. One of them was for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. These came in an individually numbered 12"x12" box which contained the CD, a special 8-page booklet, a replica of the original cut-out sheet that came with the LP, and a metal Sgt.Pepper/HMV badge.

You might notice that the front cover image on the box is different to the one used on the LP. The booklet also had some other photo "outakes" from the photo session, with the Beatles standing in different positions.

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Sgt. Pepper's On CD

Sgt. Pepper's on CD
Apple Records

This is a first-release example of the Beatles' Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band on CD. This one is printed in Holland and would have been issued in 1987.

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The 1987 Packaging of the Sgt. Pepper Album

Sgt. Pepper CD Packaging from 1987
Apple Records

When the Beatles finally made it onto CD for the first time in 1987, their record company EMI had to think about how to package up the legendary LP in a much smaller format. They came up with the idea of an outer slip-cover around the usual jewel case, with the iconic image on the front and the song list on the back. Of course they had the CD booklet to play with and so created a 26-page insert with lots of text and a wide range of images. Included was a guide as to "who was who" in the famous front cover shot, a short dedication from producer George Martin, an introduction to the recording (taken from the book The Beatles at Abbey Road, a short article about the making of the cover image by Peter Blake, all the lyrics, and even a fold-out section which reproduced the cut-out insert from the original LP.

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Sgt. Pepper in the Beatles LP Box Set issued in 2012

Sgt. Pepper in the Beatles LP Box Set issued in 2009
Apple Records

Of course everything old is new again.....

Vinyl has never really gone away and so in 2012, Apple Records reissued the entire Beatles UK catalogue on vinyl in a remastered form. All the packaging, including Sgt. Pepper, was faithfully and lovingly reproduced for a new generation of collectors and music lovers to savour and appreciate. 

The Mono Box of vinyl has also been issued in remastered form and it contains a mono pressing of Sgt. Pepper, also faithfully reproduced. Some aficionados believe the mono version of the album to be the best! 

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Your Citation
Rasmussen, Anthony. "10 Great Sgt. Pepper Cover and Label Images." ThoughtCo, Aug. 22, 2016, thoughtco.com/great-sgt-pepper-cover-and-label-images-3219916. Rasmussen, Anthony. (2016, August 22). 10 Great Sgt. Pepper Cover and Label Images. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/great-sgt-pepper-cover-and-label-images-3219916 Rasmussen, Anthony. "10 Great Sgt. Pepper Cover and Label Images." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/great-sgt-pepper-cover-and-label-images-3219916 (accessed November 23, 2017).