The Department of Music’s Dr Mike Jones is the academic lead for a huge international programme of events taking place across the city this Summer, to mark 50 years since the release of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
Dr Jones, whose research includes studies assessing the iconic group’s economic impact on Liverpool, headed up the launch event for Sgt Pepper at 50: Heading for Home in front of the world’s media at Woolton Town Hall.
Describing it as “an honour and a thrill”, Dr Jones said: “What is very apparent is how much The Beatles’ childhood in Liverpool meant to them as a whole.
“Following a fractious year, they returned to a place of warmth, safety and positive memories of childhood to centre themselves for a new departure – replacing the live band with a band that, from then on, would exist only in the recording studio.
“So Liverpool is present in Sgt. Pepper, by implication rather than explicitly, as a kind of emotional resource to get their creative energies flowing again after a draining period of increasing incoherence around their status as celebrities.
“From being surrounded by madness, the Beatles found a quiet and positive space, and Woolton Church Hall was the quiet and positive space they began from.”
To mark the anniversary of the 1967 release, Sgt Pepper at 50: Heading for Home will use each track on the album as the creative springboard for 13 brand new events between May 26 and June 16, featuring performances, installations, live spectacle and moments of surprise.
The showcases will take place at locations across the city, including Liverpool’s Royal Court, Hope Street, Woolton Picture House, Camp Hill, Tate Liverpool, St George’s Hall and Aintree Racecourse.
The exclusive events will be a mixture of ticketed and free, and there will also be the opportunity for audiences to get involved and perform in a number of the works themselves.
The commissions are presented to give a sense of the original album – events inspired by tracks from Side One will be performed over the first weekend (1-5 June), and Side Two over the second weekend (8-11 June). They will be bookended by Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band which will act as the overture (25-27 May), and A Day in the Life will be the finale (16 June).
To find out more, please visit www.sgtpepperat50.com