The Perfect Fit
What’s satin, multi-coloured, and got girls screaming?
Well, thanks to the iconic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album turning 50 this year (I know, we can’t believe it either), the answer right now is a full set of Sgt. Pepper suits.
The suits are hitting up The Beatles Story from this Feb, and we’ve been bursting at the seams to give you the lowdown.
Lovingly created by Noel Howard – one portion of the lucky team who designed the original 1967 suits that pimped out the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – who knew that these flamboyant babies would become one of the most recognisable icons of pop.
Kept by the boys (or their individual estates) themselves, the originals have never actually been on show all together, making this birthday exhibition the only authentic set of the hugely-imitated ensemble that we’ll ever get to see.
But there’s no sign of eBay-esque replicas here. Made all the way back in 2000, Noel Howard has used the exact measurements, materials and accessories that adorned the originals. It’s not a doddle either; the extremely detailed process involved sourcing materials from all over the world and delving deep into the archives from the original fittings – even getting special release from Ontario Provincial Police (O.P.P) to get the ball rolling. You’ll even sneak a peek at some of the files that chart the whole process during the exhibition.
If that wasn’t enough to feast your pop-music minds with, there’s another treat.
Not many people know that Sir Peter Blake shot alternative covers of the Sgt. Pepper’s album, discarded in favour of the worldwide-famous one we now know and love. So what better way to up the experience, then to display one of the alternative prints? You’ll find a familiar collage backdrop to the original, but notice the small alterations – including the positions of each Beatle. The pretty unknown print is one of only 100 given to senior EMI executives in 1987 to mark the record’s 20th anniversary.
You’ll also get to have a gander at the limited edition reproduction of the poster that inspired The Beatles Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite! Believe it or not, the original was actually bought by John Lennon from an antiques shop before he hung it up in his music room in his Kenwood abode in Weybridge, Surrey. And so, the melodic seeds were sown. Not only taking the title from the poster, Lennon fashioned most of the lyrics to the famously surreal song from it too. We’ll be able to trace what he borrowed from the print while also getting to grips with the changes that he made to make the song the epic one we know today.
“These suits were one of the key items on our wish-list to mark this momentous anniversary -the sheer level of detail and craftsmanship is astonishing.”
All of these unbelievable items are just the first in a huge series of major memorabilia planned by The Beatles Story to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the album’s release – tying in rather nicely with the ’50 Summers of Love’ programme taking place across the city this summer. The best part is that you don’t have to wait – you can catch all of this right now. Perfect for impatient peeps like us.
MD of The Beatles Story, Martin King, has this to say: “The Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover is almost as iconic as the music itself, and indeed is one of the defining images of the 1960s. At the very centre of that are the resplendent custom-made suits worn by the band, which have gone on to become some of the most recognisable outfits ever worn.
“These suits, which are the closest thing anyone will see to the original set, were one of the key items on our wish-list to mark this momentous anniversary and the sheer level of detail and craftsmanship is astonishing.”
“Then there’s the Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! poster and the alternative album photograph, which carry a fascinating glimpse of how this famous album came together. It’s a privilege to bring these three rare items on public display and together they make a perfect centre piece to our Sgt. Pepper’s room.”
We’ve got our coats on and we’re already out the door. See you down there in a bit?
For tickets and any other info, check out www.beatlesstory.com