The Beatles’ 8th album, “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, became a huge seller, spending 15 weeks at number 1 in the USA in 1967 and 27 weeks at number 1 in the UK Albums Chart. Over more than 50 years since its release it has continued to sell well and by 2011 had sold more than 32 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time.
The Sgt. Pepper LP was originally released on 2nd June 1967 in the USA but in the UK the release was brought forward to 26th May because of huge additional demand caused by repeated plays over offshore Radio London and subsequently by Radio Caroline and other offshore pirate radio stations … publicity which, at the time, the Beatles’ record company, E.M.I. considered undesirable.
Just how pirate Radio London managed to lay their hands on a tape of this album several weeks before its release is revealed by Radio London’s then Programme Director, Alan Keen, in a recording I’ve assembled from several available sources.
The album was aired for the very first time by Radio London between 5 and 6.09 p.m. on Friday, 12th May 1967 but, to my knowledge, no complete recording of the broadcast exists. Our recording of all available parts of this programme is available for download on our radio archive page (scroll down the page), and a shorter version is also available online, including a commentary by Alan Keen, as well as the voices of Big-L DJs Keith Skues, John Peel, Ed Stewart, Pete Drummond and Mark Roman.
You can read more about this historic Radio London /Beatles broadcast on the Radio London website as well as more information about the Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
Thanks to East Anglian Productions, Hans Knot, Azanorak, Mixing Mastering Online and Paul Osborn for making parts of this recording available.
Important Request! …
As you can hear when you listen to this recording, it is incomplete and “work in progress”, so … If you, or someone you know, has an unscoped recording of the first 23 minutes of this program (i.e. from 5.00 pm or earlier to 5.23 p.m. 12th May 1967) please please contact us.