Film Version of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ Coming to Blu-Ray
Due in North America on Sept. 26 via Shout! Factory, the original movie was only loosely based on the Beatles‘ legendary Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Bee Gees’ late manager Robert Stigwood had earlier adapted the songs into a Broadway musical called Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road, which he then re-designed for the big screen.
“Mr. Stigwood wanted a concept,” writer Henry Edwards remembered in a 1978 interview. “I told him I’d like to do a big MGM-like musical. We’d synthesize forms and end up with an MGM musical but with the music of today.”
Original Beatles producer George Martin served as musical director for the film, for which he conducted, arranged and produced a soundtrack that included songs from Sgt. Pepper as well as a selection of hits from throughout their career. The cast included Alice Cooper, Billy Preston, Steve Martin, Curtis Mayfield and Heart, among others. Earth Wind and Fire also reinterpreted a song for the platinum-selling soundtrack, which reached the Billboard Top 10.
Filming began in October 1977 on the backlot of MGM Studios in Culver City, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band opened on July 21, 1978. It was directed by Michael Schultz, who’d worked 1976’s Car Wash and 1977’s Which Way Is Up? He went on to direct episodes of TV’s The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and Picket Fences.
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