An original 1967 Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band promo poster used to create public awareness for the Fab Four’s new album.
Retail outlets such as record stores and department stores would receive these from Capitol and post them as soon as they had the new LPs in their hands to sell.
One obvious omission from the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s in-store promo poster is the record’s suggested list price… which was a new benchmark for LP prices at the time.
Don’t quote me on this, but it might have been $5.98 – perceived as pretty high at the time. I did buy this album myself in 1967 as a young teenager, but I don’t recall what I paid for it.
American Capitol’s Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in-store poster bears no resemblance to British EMI’s version, which was a horizontal poster that pictured the boys in their famous Pepper outfits, and nothing else.
I’ll be blogging that poster here before long, but first I wanted to get up this American version.
You can then be the judge of which Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band retail poster you like better, the British or the American. I have trouble choosing, because they’re so different – and both really cool.
But they’re equally scarce and collectible. Not too many of these were made back in the spring of 1967, and only a small percentage of them were preserved after the LP had run its course.
One drawback for collectors of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s in-store merchandising poster is that most copies, now about half-a-century old, have a ton of little surface creases on them.
They’re often hidden in the white area of the poster, but very visible on, say, the black vinyl you see at the top. So it’s tough to find this thing in mint condition without all those little distracting creases.
The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band poster I show you in this video is framed. High-quality framing is a great way to preserve old artifacts and also show them off to everyone.
There’s a possible danger, however: if the piece is exposed to direct sunlight or florescent lighting for an extended period of time, then fading can set in and seriously damage the poster. Yes, I’ve seen an example of this one faded.
This particular Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band point-of-purchase poster is often found with pinholes in the corners or even tape residue, leftover from the record stores hanging them.
We have to remember, however, that record stores were not ubiquitous in the 1960s, like they would become in the 1970s-80s. So it was often department stores which sold records, and in turn used posters like this.
It’s fun to realize that both Bob Dylan and Dion DiMucci appear on the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s record-store promo poster. Yep, that’s right, they’re both part of the LP’s famous cover montage.
And the Rolling Stones are on this poster, too, although not pictured like Dylan and Dion… they’re just mentioned in words on a cloth doll in the cover’s lower right area.
One thing this Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in-store promotional poster has going for it is clarity of message. The album’s name is stated very clearly and prominently, and all of its selling points are highlighted in those yellow slug lines on the right.
It’s definitely a window display meant to sell… and that’s exactly what appeals to collectors today. The naïvete of thinking someone had to actually sell the public on a new Beatles album… is crazy, in retrospect!
So Capitol’s Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s store poster was definitely more than just window dressing or eye candy… it gave lots of information about what consumers were getting.
If you’ve seen my other blogs, many Beatles promo posters did little more than just picture the LP cover and say something obvious like, “In stock now!”
Let’s take a look at the five yellow oblong selling points on Capitol’s Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in-store point of purchase poster. For starters, it’s kinda funny how every one ends in an exclamation point.
“The Greatest Ever!” proclaims the first one. Must’ve seemed like hype at the time, but wow, in retrospect, we’re kinda like, “How did they know?”
The second yellow oblong on this 1967 Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band record-store promotional poster simply says, “13 New Beatles Songs!” I’m sure the emphasis here must have been on “new,” not the number 13. In other words: an all-new album.
Don’t forget that this was the very first time both the British and American versions of a Fab Four record had the exact same number of tracks… prior to this, their UK albums always had more cuts.
The third yellow oval found on the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s promotional poster says, “Giant Beatles Portrait!” Well that’s cool, but all they were referring to was the inside gatefold photograph when you opened up the LP jacket.
Still, it was a bit of a selling point because almost all rock albums up to that point came in simply single record jackets, not elaborate fold-open affairs like this.
The fourth oblong gracing this 1967 Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s merchandising poster says, “Complete Printed Lyrics!” That would be obvious to anyone who picked up the LP in the store; they were printed right on the back of the jacket.
Still, that’s yet another feature which elicits a yawn today, but back in 1967, it was highly unusual for a rock album to present all the lyrics like that.
And then finally, the last yellow oblong on this Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s record-store poster informs, “7 Great Sgt. Pepper Cutouts!”
A lot of people didn’t care about these at all, but they were definitely perceived as added-value back in the day, because again… what other rock LP offered those?
This Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s record-store merchandising poster was happily discussed, narrated and dissected for you by me, Pete Howard, a lifelong Beatles fan since 1964. Please know that I would pay you THE BEST PRICE IN THE HOBBY, PERIOD, for one of these posters… I was video-taping a friend’s copy. I can be written to at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling  540-0020.
And to see some really old Beatles concert posters from the pre-Pepper era, just click on this page right here on my site: http://www.postercentral.com/beatles.htm