It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper & Beyond will be shown in UK cinemas from 26th May, including special Q&A previews across the UK, followed by its release on Digital 1st June and DVD 3rd July. The film will also be available on a special collector’s edition double-disc Blu-Ray and double-disc DVD with over 4.5 hours’ worth of exclusive bonus material. A special launch event is also planned in Liverpool, the home of The Beatles on the 1st June – the 50th Anniversary date of the Sgt. Pepper Album.
From the Emmy nominated director of Monty Python: Almost The Truth, Alan G. Parker (Rebel Truce: The Story of The Clash, Hello Quo, Never Mind the Sex Pistols, Who Killed Nancy) and produced by Reynold D’Silva and Alexa Morris, the film features incredible rare archival footage unseen since the 1960s. The film also features rare interviews with The Beatles’ original drummer Pete Best, John Lennon’s sister Julia Baird, Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein’s secretary Barbara O’Donnell, Steve Diggle of the Buzzcocks, Beatles associate Tony Bramwell, Pattie Boyd’s sister Jenny Boyd, Hunter Davies, Simon Napier-Bell, Ray Connolly, Bill Harry, Philip Norman, Steve Turner, Andy Peebles, Freda Kelly and The Merseybeats.
On 1st June, 1967 The Beatles released their ground-breaking studio album, SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND. Described by Rolling Stone magazine as “The most important rock & roll album ever made…”, it left an indelible mark on the 60s and went on to become one of the biggest selling records of all time.
It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper & Beyond examines the twelve months (Aug 1966 - Aug 1967) that would arguably be the most crucial in the band’s career, a year in which they stopped being the world’s number one touring band and instead became the world’s most innovative recording artists, pushing the boundaries of what could be achieved in the studio.
Unable to hear themselves perform and mired by controversy, the band decided to stop touring in August 1966. What followed was a period of extreme creativity and rebirth during which they embraced Swinging London, the ‘avant-garde’, LSD and the advent of the Summer Of Love. The result was the creation of their new alter ego, Sgt. Pepper, with the desire to create a pop music first, the concept album.
A devoted fan since the age of nine, the film’s director Alan G. Parker has set out to explore this period by filming interviews with former employees, fellow musicians, family member and journalists, all of whom were there at the time. These stories are in turn supported by a vast array of impressive archival footage, much of it not seen since first transmission. The result is a detailed examination of why the band stopped touring, how the album was conceived and its recording at EMI's Abbey Road Studios, its lyrics, the creation of its sleeve and finally its release. All this is set against a background of the band’s changing relationship with their manager, Brian Epstein and the tragedy of his death, the creation of Apple and the powerful influence of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Director Alan G. Parker said: “We’re combining first-hand accounts of the events that allowed ‘Sgt. Pepper’ to happen with rare and unseen footage that we’ve forensically unearthed from mainstream archives and private collectors. The last days of touring…. the execution of the album…. and the aftermath that it left behind will, I hope, give the audience an intimate sense of the band, the time and the impact of this extraordinary album.”
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