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The release of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album was monumental. The concept album was highly regarded as some of their best work, as it included such songs as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, When I’m Sixty-Four and With a Little Help from My Friends.
Who was Sgt Pepper? Was he real?
Yes, Sgt Pepper was based on a real-life person.
The band picked up the name from their tour in North America when they ventured to the Great White North – Canada – in 1966.
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were assigned a troupe of Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Officers to protect them throughout their journey. This team was led by a man named Sgt Randy Pepper.
Years later, Pepper’s granddaughter, Cheryl Finn, spoke out about how the OPP Officer made his mark on the band.
Cheryl said Sgt Pepper kept the band “out of some trouble” while they were in Canada.
Although she didn’t explain what kind of trouble he helped them with, the band at the time were dealing with many instances of crazed fans with Beatlemania.
As a result, the band decided to remember Sgt Pepper and honoured him in two ways.
What do you think? Did you notice the OPP badge? Join the debate in the comments section here
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Firstly, the band named their next album after him: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
After leaving Toronto in 1966, the Fab Four began working on their next record which was released in 1967.
Secondly, McCartney sewed an OPP badge onto the left arm of the jumpsuit he wore on the album cover.
This can be seen in various images and memorabilia from that period of the band’s career.
The Beatles were gifted OPP badges at the end of the Canadian leg of their tour.
Despite honouring the real Sgt Pepper in two ways, Finn revealed her grandfather was not a fan of the band.
She told CTV News Channel in 2017: “He always thought they were kind of hooligans, and men in the Sixties should be clean-cut and clean-shaven.”
Although the Fab Four were not Pepper’s favourite customers, Finn went on to reveal he did warm up to them by the end of the journey.
Finn said: “For whatever reason, he was charmed by the Beatles, and the Beatles were also charmed by him.”
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band won four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, marking the first rock album ever to receive the award.
The record remains one of the best-selling albums of all time, with more than 32 million copies sold worldwide as of 2011.
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