It was 50 years ago today that The Beatles started recording what would become the title track of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was not thought of as such at the time; says Mark Lewisohn,

The album was not “The Sgt. Pepper project” until the recording of this Paul McCartney song and Paul’s realisation soon afterwards that the Beatles could actually pretend they were Sgt. Pepper’s band, the remaining songs on the LP forming part of a show given by the fictitious combo.

Paul subsequently became very enthused about this idea, but had to do a bit of a sales job on the others, especially George. George seems to have found the whole thing a bit silly; in the end he dutifully donned Pepper garb, but he didn’t look very happy in it. Of course, George was also somewhat creatively marginalized at this point; he had yet to contribute a song during the current run of sessions, and would only end up with one song on the album, as opposed to three on Revolver.

John, for his part, had very little involvement with the song “Sgt. Pepper,” contributing only backing vocals (those crunchy guitars are played by George and Paul). He too was not overly enamored of the whole Pepper concept, though he seemed to enjoy the playing-dressup aspect of it.

Ringo, naturally, smiled and went along with what the others wanted to do. That’s why everybody likes Ringo.

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