The Oxford Student hears from Eleanor Slater, student of Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins, about her artistic take on The Beatles’ iconic 1967 album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. The full image can be seen below.
‘Sgt. Pepper’ is approaching its 50th anniversary this Friday, and it’s had a really profound legacy in pop music, helping to legitimise it as an art form. The light-hearted use of colour and cut-outs of the band members’ heads reflect the pop-art style of the original album cover, the iconic image of the so-called ‘Lonely Hearts Club’, featuring Mae West, Bob Dylan, and Carl Jung among others. I decided only to include the Beatles’ faces here because, in the original cover, they’re these elusive, playful figures that are quite hard to find among the crowd, and, 50 years on, they’ve emerged as some of the most influential people of their generation. Their rise from obscurity is symbolised by how their eyes have been obscured with doodles, and also showing the way their identities shifted and changed over time.
In the background I’ve inserted a few images: a computer, a book, and a cactus. The computer refers to the technological ambitions of the album, full of orchestral effects, overdubs, and filters, and looks forward to the remastered 50th anniversary release. I found the lyrics to George Harrison’s song ‘Within You Without You’ particularly inspiring when considering the album:
‘We were talking
About the space between us all
And the people
Who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion
Never glimpse the truth
Then it’s far too late when they pass away’.’