Lots of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band stories have surfaced during the past couple of weeks as the Beatles celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landmark album — and Peter Frampton has a good one.
It turns out that while fans around the world waited for Sgt. Pepper’s to appear in shops on May 26 in the U.K. and June 2 in the U.S., Frampton — then a fledgling musician in the band The Herd — got his hands on a copy early at a flea market on Petticoat Lane near his home in London.
He tells us that,
“A lot of this stuff fell off the back of a truck, y’know?…I noticed that there was this new Beatles album right there, and I said, ‘Look at this! It doesn’t come out ’til next week or the week after,’ so the guy sort of gave me a wink and said, ‘Yeah, we’ve got these.’ So I bought one, obviously not an official one, and my girlfriend and I drove home quickly.”
Frampton adds that the experience of listening to Sgt. Pepper’s… was everything he hoped it would be, too:
“I don’t think I spoke apart from going, ‘Oh! Wow! Ahhhh…’ It was just sort of grunts and groans, I think, that first day. It was just so incredible, so different. It was…completely, something out of the box. I mean, I never experienced any…The sound just freaked me out completely…It’s still my favorite album because it had such an enormous effect on me as far as recording and technique and then the songs. The songs were great…I got it instantly. It was just, this was something else. This was just, ‘What IS this?!’ Let’s put it on again!'”
Sgt. Pepper’s… anniversary is being celebrated with new editions of the albums that came out last Friday (May 26), while the British documentary Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution airs on Saturday (June 3) on PBS.
Frampton, meanwhile, has released a new song, “I Saved A Bird,” and will be touring this summer with the Steve Miller Band, starting June 15 in Holmdel, N.J.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.