Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (soundtrack)

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a double album produced by George Martin,[1] featuring covers of songs by the Beatles. It was released in July 1978, as the soundtrack to the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which starred the Bee Gees, Peter Frampton and Steve Martin.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sgt Pepper Film.jpg
Soundtrack album by
various artists
Released17 July 1978
RecordedSeptember 1977–May 1978
StudioCherokee Studios, Los Angeles; Northstar Studios, Boulder, CO; Record Plant, New York City; Abbey Road Studios, London; Air Studios, London
GenreGlam rock, pop, disco, hard rock
LabelRSO, A&M (UK/Canada)
ProducerGeorge Martin
Maurice White ("Got to Get You Into My Life" only)


The project was managed by the Robert Stigwood Organisation (RSO). In 1975, the original plans for the album were suspended due to a dispute between Columbia and RSO.[2] RSO invested $12 million into this soundtrack and the profit offset set against costs such as $1 million for promotion.[3] The creation of the soundtrack was marked with tension from the beginning, with Frampton and the Bee Gees both feeling wary of the other artist as well as being unsure as to how their music would work together on the same album.[4]

The release made history as being the first record to "return platinum", with over four million copies of it taken off store shelves and shipped back to distributors.[5] Hundreds of thousands of copies of the album ended up being destroyed by RSO. The company itself experienced a considerable financial loss and the Bee Gees as a group had their musical reputation tarnished, though other involved bands such as Aerosmith were unscathed in terms of their popularity.[4]

The album has been released on compact disc, and along with the soundtrack of Stayin' Alive, one of the only two Bee Gees-related titles for which the master tapes remained with Universal Music when the band gained control of its catalogue.

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [7]
The Rolling Stone Record Guide     [8]
The Village VoiceD+[9]

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau gave the album a D+ rating with an added "Must to Avoid" warning. He wrote that, apart from the Earth, Wind & Fire and Aerosmith songs, "most of the arrangements are lifted whole without benefit of vocal presence (maybe Maurice should try hormones) or rhythmic integrity ('Can't we get a little of that disco feel in there, George?')"[9] Writing in The Rolling Stone Record Guide in 1983, Dave Marsh dismissed the soundtrack as "An utter travesty" and "Easily the worst album of any notoriety in this book." Marsh identified Aerosmith's "Come Together" and Earth, Wind & Fire's "Got to Get You into My Life" as the only competent renditions and concluded: "Two million people bought this album, which proves that P.T. Barnum was right and that euthanasia may have untapped possibilities."[8]

According to Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic, the album suffers from clumsy performances by the Bee Gees, Frankie Howerd and Peter Frampton, as well as performers who were poorly suited to their song, including Steve Martin, George Burns and Alice Cooper. Erlewine says that the soundtrack has become "a legend in its own right" due to its unenviable reputation and adds that, while it has attracted a cult following, "there's no erasing the fact that this is an absolutely atrocious record".[6]

Commercial performance and falloutEdit

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band debuted at number 7 on the U.S. Billboard album chart[10] and stayed at number 5 for six weeks.[11] Although there was reported resistance to the interpretation of the Beatles' songs, such as Martin's comedic take on "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", Earth, Wind & Fire's version of "Got To Get You Into My Life" became a million selling single,[12] while Robin Gibb's "Oh! Darling" and Aerosmith's version of "Come Together"[13] both charted in the top 40.

Radio airplay trailed off when the film was released with poor reviews, only five weeks later. The album immediately dropped out of the top 100 and pre-sale shipments to USA failed to sell in the quantities predicted.[14] Owing to low box office receipts the film failed to make back its production costs, but profits from the soundtrack album and the successful singles it spawned later covered those losses.[15]

The Bee Gees blamed their declining popularity in part on their involvement with the whole project, coupled with their mutual struggles with drug addiction. The latter was exacerbated by the environment of making the film and its soundtrack, with Maurice Gibb expressing shock at seeing crew members carrying around bags full of cocaine. Robin Gibb in particular spent much of this period having to dose himself with barbiturates to even be able to sleep.[4] Some of the most vicious criticism of the soundtrack was leveled at them, and the musicians felt a particularly painful sting at being labeled as mere "Beatles imitators" since that sort of pejorative tag had been with them since they began their pop rock work in the 1960s. (Although the Bee Gees would continue to be popular into 1979, that year's backlash against disco, a genre in which the band had made their biggest impact, marred their careers permanently.)

George Martin had agreed to become involved in the project due partly to the amount of money offered for his services, and to his wife's suggestion that any other producer might afford the songs less respect than they were due.[16] The selection by Earth Wind & Fire was the only track he did not work on. According to author Robert Rodriguez, Martin later rued his involvement in Sgt. Pepper.[17]

Track listingEdit


Side one
1."Introducing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
"With a Little Help from My Friends"
The Bee Gees and Paul Nicholas
Peter Frampton and The Bee Gees
2."Here Comes the Sun"Sandy Farina3:05
3."Getting Better"Peter Frampton and The Bee Gees2:46
4."Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"Dianne Steinberg and Stargard3:41
5."I Want You (She's So Heavy)"The Bee Gees, Dianne Steinberg, Paul Nicholas, Donald Pleasence, Stargard6:31
Side two
1."Good Morning Good Morning"Paul Nicholas, Peter Frampton and The Bee Gees1:58
2."She's Leaving Home"The Bee Gees, Jay MacIntosh and John Wheeler2:41
3."You Never Give Me Your Money"Paul Nicholas and Dianne Steinberg3:07
4."Oh! Darling"Robin Gibb3:21
5."Maxwell's Silver Hammer"Steve Martin4:31
6."Rise to Stardom Suite"
"Polythene Pam"
"She Came in Through the Bathroom Window"
"Nowhere Man"
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)""
The Bee Gees
Peter Frampton and The Bee Gees
The Bee Gees
Peter Frampton and The Bee Gees
Side three
1."Got to Get You into My Life"Earth, Wind & Fire4:03
2."Strawberry Fields Forever"Sandy Farina3:31
3."When I'm Sixty-Four"Frankie Howerd and Sandy Farina2:40
4."Mean Mr. Mustard"Frankie Howerd2:46
5."Fixing a Hole"George Burns2:25
6."Because"Alice Cooper and The Bee Gees2:45
7."The Death of Strawberry"
"Golden Slumbers"
"Carry That Weight"
Peter Frampton
The Bee Gees
Side four
1."Come Together"Aerosmith3:46
2."Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!"Peter Frampton, The Bee Gees, and George Burns3:12
3."The Long and Winding Road"Peter Frampton3:40
4."A Day in the Life"Barry Gibb and The Bee Gees5:11
5."Get Back"Billy Preston2:56
6."Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Finale)"Full cast2:13




Charts and certificationsEdit


Year Chart Position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[23] 13
Billboard 200 5[24]
UK Albums 38[25]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[26] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[27] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Martin, George & Hornsby, Jeremy. All you need is ears. St. Martin's Press. p. 219.
  2. ^ "Billboard magazine. Vol 87 No 3". Published by Nielsen Business Media. 1975-01-18. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
  3. ^ Denisoff, Serge R. & Romanowski, William D. Risky business: rock in film. Transaction Publishers. pp. 243, 244, 245.
  4. ^ a b c Meyer, David N. (2013). The Bee Gees: The Biography. Da Capo Press. pp. 188–198. ISBN 9780306820250.
  5. ^ Smith, Jacob (2011-02-07). Spoken Word: Postwar American Phonograph Cultures. University of California Press. p. 206. ISBN 9780520948358.
  6. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Peter Frampton / Bee Gees Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]". AllMusic. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. London: Omnibus Press. p. 454. ISBN 978-0-85712595-8.
  8. ^ a b Marsh, Dave; Swenson, John (eds.) (1983). The New Rolling Stone Record Guide. New York, NY: Random House/Rolling Stone Press. p. 628. ISBN 978-0-394-72107-1.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  9. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (September 4, 1978). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  10. ^ "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Sound track)". Retrieved 2009-05-20.
  11. ^ Denisoff, Serge R. & Romanowski, William D. Risky business: rock in film. Transaction Publishers. pp. 244, 245, 246.
  12. ^ Denisoff, Serge R. & Romanowski, William D. Risky business: rock in film. Transaction Publishers. p. 244.
  13. ^ "Aerosmith's Greatest Hits". Retrieved 2009-05-20.
  14. ^ Denisoff, Serge R. & Romanowski, William D. Risky business: rock in film. Transaction Publishers. pp. 243–245.
  15. ^ Denisoff, Serge R. & Romanowski, William D. Risky business: rock in film. Transaction Publishers. pp. 245–246.
  16. ^ Rodriguez 2010, pp. 313–14.
  17. ^ Rodriguez 2010, p. 314.
  18. ^ a b "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Sound track)". Retrieved 20 May 2009.
  19. ^ Denisoff, Serge R. & Romanowski, William D. Risky business: rock in film. Transaction Publishers. p. 244.
  20. ^ Muir, John Kenneth. The rock & roll film encyclopedia. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. p. 249.
  21. ^ Hogan, Ed. "Got To Get You Into My Life". Retrieved 2009-05-20.
  22. ^ "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Sound track)". Retrieved 2009-05-20.
  23. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 321. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  24. ^ "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Soundtrack".
  25. ^ "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Soundtrack".
  26. ^ "British album certifications – Various Artists – Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". British Phonographic Industry.
  27. ^ "American album certifications – Soundtrack – Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 


External linksEdit