June will mark 50 years since the release of The Beatles’ groundbreaking album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and now comes word that in honor of the milestone the record will be reissued in the form originally intended by the band.
The Sunday Times of London reports that, according to unnamed sources, the group’s company Apple Corps is planning to release a 50th anniversary edition of Sgt. Pepper with a track list including the Fab Four’s classic psychedelic-era tunes “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane.”
Those songs, which had been recorded at the beginning of the sessions that yielded Sgt. Pepper, were released as a two-sided single in February 1967, but were then left off of the album. Late producer George Martin revealed in the 1995 documentary series The Beatles Anthology that the decision to put the songs out early came about because Beatles manager Brian Epstein was anxious to release new music from the group.
As for why the tracks weren’t included on Sgt. Pepper, Martin explained that there “was a feeling that if we issued a single, it shouldn’t go onto an album. That was a crazy idea, and I’m afraid I was partly responsible. It’s nonsense these days, but in those days it was an aspect that we’d try to give the public value for money.”
According to The Sunday Times, it’s understood that surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison — Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison — have all signed off on the plan to release the expanded Sgt. Pepper.
The album originally was released on June 1, 1967, and topped the Billboard 200 for 15 weeks. It has sold more than 11 million copies in the U.S. to date.
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