Today’s Video: The
Bee Gees, Peter Frampton - "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club
Band"/"With a Little Help from My Friends"
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was a multi-platinum
double album produced by George Martin, featuring covers of songs by The
Beatles. It was released in July 1978, as the soundtrack to the film Sgt.
Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which starred the Bee Gees, Peter Frampton
and Steve Martin. Radio airplay trailed off when the film was released with
poor reviews, only five weeks later.
The inspiration for “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” is
said to have come when roadie Mal Evans innocently asked Paul McCartney what
the letters "S" and "P" stood for on the pots on their
in-flight meal trays, and McCartney explained it was for salt and pepper.
The group's road manager Neil Aspinall suggested the idea of
Sgt. Pepper being the compère, as well as the reprise at the end of the album.
According to his diaries, Evans may have also contributed to the song.
"With a Little Help from My Friends" was briefly
called "Bad Finger Boogie" (later the inspiration for the band name
Badfinger), supposedly because Lennon composed the melody on a piano using his
middle finger after having hurt his forefinger; but in his 1980 Playboy
interview Lennon said: "This is Paul, with a little help from me. 'What do
you see when you turn out the light/ I can't tell you, but I know it's mine...'
is mine." However in a 1970 interview Lennon stated: "Paul had the
line about 'a little help from my friends.' He had some kind of structure for
it, and we wrote it pretty well fifty-fifty from his original idea." McCartney
said: "It was pretty much co-written, John and I doing a work song for
Ringo, a little craft job."
Lennon and McCartney deliberately wrote a tune with a
limited range – except for the last note, which McCartney worked closely with
Starr to achieve. Speaking in the Anthology, Starr insisted on changing the
first line which originally was "What would you think if I sang out of
tune? Would you throw ripe tomatoes at me?" He changed the lyric so that
fans would not throw tomatoes at him should he perform it live. (In the early
days, after George Harrison made a passing comment that he liked jelly babies,
the group was showered with them at all of their live performances.)
The band started recording the song the day before they
posed for the Sgt. Pepper album cover (29 March 1967), wrapping up the session
at 5:45 in the morning. At dawn, Starr trudged up the stairs to head home – but
the other Beatles cajoled him into doing his lead vocal then and there,
standing around the microphone for moral support. -Wiki
Then the Bee Gees covered it, with Peter Frampton.