The Beatles baffled their fans shortly after the release of their seventh album, Revolver, in 1966, when they started to go through a very public change. The Fab Four had, internally, started to transform their look and aesthetic in an attempt to evolve how they were perceived by the public, and indeed their fans. Album eight, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, saw each of The Beatles go through a physical change with a new haircut, facial hair, and clothing to demonstrate a drastic change, but musically, they ventured into more psychedelic territory.
According to historical interviews, John Lennon credited Paul McCartney with many of the ideas behind the transformation.
Speaking about the album’s name, Lennon explained: “You know, when people were no longer The Beatles or The Crickets – they were suddenly Fred And His Incredible Shrinking Grateful Airplanes, right?
“So I think [McCartney] got influenced by that and came up with this idea for The Beatles.”
McCartney himself explained the thought process behind it in 1984, explaining how he wanted the band to “lose their identities”.
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McCartney confessed: “It was an idea I had, I think, when I was flying from L.A. to somewhere. I thought it would be nice to lose our identities, to submerge ourselves in the persona of a fake group.”
Almost a decade later, however, McCartney opened up on the real reason behind creating such an enormous divide between The Beatles of before Sgt. Peppers, and after.
In 1994 McCartney frankly explained: “We were fed up with being The Beatles.
“We really hated that f*****g four little mop-top boys approach. We were not boys, we were men.”
McCartney revealed: “Then suddenly on the plane I got this idea. I thought, ‘Let’s not be ourselves.
“‘Let’s develop alter egos so we’re not having to project an image which we know. It would be much more free.’”
McCartney’s plan certainly worked, as the album became one of their most successful, selling over 32 million copies to date.
Sgt. Pepper’s also included the release of a collection of memorable singles, including With a Little Help from My Friends, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and the titular song, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Earlier this month McCartney spoke to fans directly in a live Q&A, where he was asked about his favourite George Harrison addition to The Beatles’ repertoire.
The fan wrote: “Hello Sir Paul! I love your music! If I may ask, what’s your favourite song of George Harrison?”
McCartney replied: “Here Comes The Sun. It is a brilliant song and the kind of song that’s really good in times like these.”
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