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The 50th Anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (video)

Michael Ochs Archives-Getty Images

A video tribute to the creation of the legendary album.

In 1967, the Beatles decided to stop touring—so they knew they could start getting experimental in the recording studio, because they wouldn’t have to recreate the songs live. The result of that decision was “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” an epic album featuring a 40-person orchestra and a blend of far-ranging musical styles from rock to vaudeville and circus music. Paul McCartney had the idea that the Beatles could imagine themselves as a fictional band rather than themselves, freeing them up psychologically to take more creative risks. Nowhere was that more apparent than on the album cover: Its explosively colorful collage of celebrities and historical personalities congregating around the Beatles in psychedelic marching-band costumes put a decisive end to the Fab Four’s pop boy-band image. “Sgt. Pepper’s” would go on to be named the greatest rock album of all time by Rolling Stone and countless other music lovers.