The movie “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” opened on this day in 1978 and being young and stupid I was at the theater that day to see it. Talk about a dumpster fire! First off- this is a movie using songs by The Beatles- none of The Beatles were in the movie. It was a movie starring some of the chart topping artists of the time-mainly The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton. It also starred George Burns [who had the only spoken words in the movie} Steve Martin, Donald Pleasence, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Earth, Wind and Fire and Frankie Howerd.
This movie was really hyped before it came out as I recall- including what was at the time a moronic statement which looks even dumber nearly forty years later by Bee Gee Robin Gibb. Maybe he had a bad case of the “Night Fever” when he said “There is no such thing as the Beatles now. They don’t exist as a band and never performed Sgt Pepper live in any case. When ours comes out, it will be, in effect, as if theirs never existed.” Robin Gibb actually said that.
The movie was told by songs of The Beatles. To be truthful [yes I bought the double album back then also, even then if it had anything to do with The Beatles I was all in- even if The Beatles weren’t involved } there are a few good songs on the soundtrack. The movie though is a real mess. I don’t know if Peter Frampton who was still recovering at the time from the fiasco of “I’m In You” has ever recovered from this. I heard an interview with him recently on The Beatles Channel and they weren’t talking about this. I haven’t seen the movie since the opening day. I am tempted to see if the library system has it [there is no way I’d spend even one cent on buying it} The Bee Gees also suffered a back lash over this. They would have one more successful album in 1979 and then take a big fall that they never really recovered from.
There were three hit singles from the double album of the movie and two of those songs were very good versions of Beatles songs. “Got To Get You Into My Life”- by Earth, Wind and Fire reached #9, “Come Together” by Aerosmith got to #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts, also Robin Gibb’s “Oh Darling”got to #15, it wasn’t that good. Billy Preston’s “Get Back” just cracked the Hot 100 at #86. I hate to mention it but the 5th Beatle- Beatles producer Sir George Martin was the producer and arranger on this album. Martin agreed to produce the album for a good reason as any- they offered him a lot of money and also his wife suggested that if he didn’t do it-who would? Maybe a producer who would afford the songs less respect. I can give George a pass on this. The album did open at #5 on the album charts- peaking there and then falling like a rock once the reviews of the movie and album starting to come in. It wasn’t even a bad movie that was fascinating to look at as I remember- total trash. Embarrassing to all involved.