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Last Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007, 07:56 GMT 08:56 UK
The wonderful world of Sgt Pepper
It is 40 years since the release of the iconic Beatles album Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Widely regarded as one of - if not the - greatest music albums of modern times, here are some of the stories behind the Fab Four's music.

  • It was the band's eighth album.

  • The album was recorded at the famous Abbey Road studios over a 129-day period, at a cost of 25,000.

The Beatles' Sgt Pepper album cover
The Beatles' original album was voted the best of all time last year

  • Pink Floyd were working on Piper at the Gates of Dawn in the next studio at the same time.

  • The idea of making the whole album as if Sgt Pepper was a real band was believed to be Paul McCartney's.

  • It was a completely self-contained album which was meant to be played from start to finish.

  • One critic described the album as "a decisive moment in the history of Western civilisation".

  • Within weeks of the album's release, Jimi Hendrix started performing the title track in concert.

  • It was the first rock album to win Grammy Awards for album of the year and best contemporary album.

John Lennon
Lennon denied Lucy in the Sky was about drugs

  • Rolling Stone magazine rated it number one in the list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

  • Sir Peter Blake designed the front cover. It featured a colourful collage of life-sized cardboard models of famous people, including Marlon Brando and Karl Marx.

  • Mae West originally refused to appear on the front cover, but changed her mind after the band wrote to her.

  • The initial design was altered, deleting Hitler and Jesus from the image, before the album was released.

  • It was rumoured that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was about the drug LSD. Lennon always denied this, insisting it was inspired by a drawing done by his young son, Julian.

  • The song was still banned by the BBC.

The Beatles

  • The lyrics to John Lennon's Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite were adapted almost word for word from an old circus poster which he bought at an antique shop in Kent.

  • McCartney's vocals were sped up for the song When I'm 64 to give it a unique sound.

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