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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

By Robert Horton

If it weren't for a couple of inspired performances, as well as the time-capsule weirdness of it all, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band would be definitively unwatchable. This misguided effort to dramatize the classic Beatles album (the Fab Four had nothing to do with it, thank goodness) also includes tunes from other Beatles LPs, strung together in lumbering Super70s rock-opera style. Peter Frampton, then at the crest of his brief run at the top, stars as Billy Shears, with the Bee Gees wearing the glossy day-glo band jackets from the Pepper album cover. Earth, Wind & Fire turn in a spirited revamp of "Got to Get You into My Life," and Aerosmith thrash their way through "Come Together"; but most of the performances are pretty awful. Out-and-out novelties include Steve Martin doing "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and George Burns (but of course) warbling "Fixing a Hole." This high-profile 1978 flop helped kill the hot streak (Saturday Night Fever, Grease) of record and movie producer Robert Stigwood and sink his RSO movie-music empire.

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" It is apparently the in thing to dis this motion picture. However, those that do give Sgt Peppers...half the chance would realize what a masterpiece it actually is. [Editor's note: We all have films from our childhood that sucked but that we enjoyed and bring back good memories. But there have been over 20,000 legitimate movies produced in the last 100 years and this one is not in the top 15,000 let alone worthy of the term "masterpiece." Given the pedestal Frampton and the Bee Gees were on at the time, if it had been even a mediocre film it would have been a hit. As it was it bombed. It fun to watch for the wrong reasons and a lousy film. However, you are free to enjoy it and even praise it.]

I saw Sgt Pepper when I was seven years old and fell in love with the movie. I begged my grandparents to buy the album it for me until they gave in and bought the 2 disc album with the poster inside. I played that record more than any other record I've ever owned and thought that Peter Frampton was the coolest singer I had ever heard.

Now 27, I have two daughters 6 & 7 who after watching the video fell in love with it as well. They love Sandy Farina's Strawberry Fields Forever and Stargards version of Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds. I tried an experiment yesterday playing the Beatles version of their favorite songs and then the movie version. Hands down the movie version won. "the Beatles ruined those songs", my oldest daughter proclaimed. I think that just about summed it up."

--50 Cent

"I absolutely love this movie. It's a wonderful bit of high-budget fluff with absolutely no blood, guts, or gore. Just really campy performances from some really great artists. (Besides, watching Barry Gibb in this movie is pure pleasure.)"


"Caught this one on it's UK release in the spring of 1979. The reviews were already out, but even so....Nothing could have quite prepared us for the carnage ahead. It's never quite left me, 22 years on. Barry Gibb taking a pensive walk as he gave us 'A Day in the Life'. Frankie Howerd's 'Mean Mister Mustard'.

At least it put paif to Peter Frampton's comeback. The Bee Gees were damn lucky to walk away unscathed."


"This is a great screen test for already famouse musicians. And the oh so cute Kaki Hunter's character was a plot in itself. And I love that the final scene kept here final demise up in the air."


"I remember the scenes I liked when Earth, Wind. Fire starts singing Got to Get You Into My Life. Also The Day in the Life by The Bee Gees"




Buy this VHS movie from! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from! (Click here!)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Michael Schultz

Stars: Peter Frampton, Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Aerosmith, Steve Martin, George Burns, Earth Wind and Fire, Frankie Howerd, Billy Preston

Released: July 24, 1978

Availability: DVD VHS CD

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