Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (partially found unproduced television special; 1967)

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The production schedule of the proposed Sgt. Pepper film.

Status: Partially Found

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was a planned television special to promote The Beatles album of the same name. This cancelled project should not be confused with the 1978 Bee Gees film directed by Michael Schultz of the same name.

Background and Production Details[edit | edit source]

"A Day In The Life"[edit | edit source]

The beginnings of the special can be traced back to the filming of the "A Day In The Life" recording session. Fashion photographer Vic Singh, who had worked with Beatle George Harrison's wife Pattie Boyd during the early modelling days received a call from the Beatle's office, asking him to film the group just three days before the recording of the orchestra on "A Day In The Life". Singh met with Beatle Paul McCartney at his St. John's Wood home the next day to discuss the filming. Singh proposed putting 16mm cameras all over the studio so the Beatles and all their invited guests could simply pick one up and shoot one another at will. McCartney loved the idea and gave Singh the go-ahead to film the session.[1]

On February 10th, 1967, Singh and Keith Green arrived during the orchestral recording sessions for the song "A Day in the Life". The filming was directed by NEMS Enterprises' Tony Bramwell. Bramwell had already produced several of the earlier black and white film clips for The Beatles and did his best to control the chaos of the seven handheld 16mm cameras circulating the recording session.[2] The guests that night included Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, Brian Jones, Donavan, Michael Nesmith, Pattie Boyd, Graham Nash, and Dutch fashion designers Seemon & Marijke. The London Symphony Orchestra were given clown noses and other party masks to wear with balloons tied to their instruments.

The full-length "A Day In The Life" footage running to 19 mins 15 seconds (although much of it was out of focus).[1][3]

Proposed TV Special[edit | edit source]

The production schedule of the proposed Sgt. Pepper film.

After the filming of "A Day In The Life," Vic Singh spoke to George Harrison about producing a film of the entire Sgt. Pepper album. The Beatles' agreed and for a promised fee of £10,000; Singh and Keith Green with screenwriter Ian Dallas spent weeks working on a script.[1][3]

A budget of £34,000 was estimated for the project and was to be co-produced by Singh and Tommy Weber. It would have employed 115 extras, including 24 children, 24 office workers, 12 "rockers" on motorbikes, 12 "Model Rita Maids", eight morris dancers, one milkman, one mediator, one "loon" and one Arab sheik.[3]

Principal photography was due to being on 21 October 1967 and continued until 21 November 1967. The final running length of the special was to be 52 minutes.[3]

Shooting Locations[edit | edit source]

The shooting schedule included all the songs from the album set to music video-style scenes.[3]

The following table outlines the shooting schedule locations.

Song Location
Sgt. Pepper and Reprise London (???)/Country
With A Little Help From My Friends Circus
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds Kew Gardens, Observatory/Planetarium.
Getting Better School
Fixing A Hole Studio/Meditation Room
She's Leaving Home Modern Middle-Class House
Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite London (???) etc.
Within You, Without You Factory/Offices/Lift/Studio
When I'm 64 Air Field
Good Morning, Good Morning Studio
A Day In The Life Recording Session

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

Plans for the special came to an end when The Beatles decided to produce a brand-new project, which turned out to be their own film Magical Mystery Tour. Although production was cancelled, the "A Day in the Life" footage was edited down with stock footage into a finished clip.[3]

The clip is not known to be used as a promotional video for "A Day In The Life" publicly during 1967 (quite possibly due to the song being banned by the BBC). According to Tony Bramwell, the promotional video was shown at a few sales conventions in the 1960s but then forgotten about [2].

The footage would receive a brief public airing in the 1968 concert film Watch Out For Your Ears as cutaway footage during Joe Cocker's performance of "With A Little Help from My Friends". It was used again in a special edition of the BBC2 program Late Night Line-Up promoting the Beatles' album Abbey Road in 1969. However, the audio would be replaced with the Abbey Road track, "Come Together".

If the project had proceeded, it would have been the first full-length video album (that claim would later go to Blondie's Eat to the Beat in 1979).

Media Lost and Found[edit | edit source]

To this day, a finished script has yet to surface the film. The image of the production schedule was published in Mark Lewisohn's book The Complete Beatles Chronicle.

The "A Day in the Life" segment was later repurposed for the "Come Together" section of an episode of Late Night Line-Up promoting their album Abbey Road. The Beatles' company Apple Corps had sent a 16mm print of the footage with their song "Come Together" replacing "A Day in the Life". The special was broadcast on September 19th, 1969.

The "A Day in the Life" clip was later featured in the 1983 documentary The Beatles At Abbey Road.[4] The documentary was created to be exclusively screened at an open-to-the-public-tour of Abbey Road Studios. It was later included in the documentaries John Lennon: Imagine (1988) and The Beatles Anthology (1995). It has since been released officially on the band's YouTube channel and on the band's Beatles 1+ music video compilation.

In 2015, around 7 minutes of outtake footage from the promo shoot was released by bootleg label His Master's Choice as part of their TMOQ Gazette series (Volume 38: Rare, Unseen and Unheard). On May 26th, 2022, 19 minutes and 42 seconds of footage would be uploaded to YouTube.

The complete "A Day In The Life" promotional film. Originally intended for the unfinished 1967 Sgt. Pepper TV special but reused as an official music video to the song. This version was remastered in 2015.
The "A Day In The Life" segment as featured on the Late Night Line-Up episode promoting Abbey Road. This footage is silent but originally featured the song Come Together by The Beatles. The footage crossfades into a dancer who originally had the Beatles' song Something playing over it.
19:42 minutes of outtake footage from the "A Day In the Life" promo.

External Link[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia page on the Beatles album "+1". Retrieved 06 Nov '19

an essay from co-producer Tommy Weber’s son Charley Weber describing his father’s involvement in the project Retrieved 06 Aug ‘22

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 A Day in the Life: One Family, the Beautiful People, and the End of the Sixties By Robert Greenfield. 2009. Da Capo Press
  2. 2.0 2.1 A Day In The Life - The Daily Beatle
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 The Complete Beatles Chronicle by Mark Lewisohn. 1992. Harmony
  4. The Daily Beatle article on the "A Day in the Life" clip (this time the original song in place). Retrieved 06 Nov '19