×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Who’s the Real Sgt. Pepper? New Beatles Book Unveils Identity of Soldier Seen on Album Cover

While the picture of the man depicting “Sgt. Pepper” in the Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album looks like a character out of a story book, he was actually a real person. His name was James Melvin Babington, and author Bruce Spizer says his new book  “The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper: A Fans’ Perspective,” reveals his identity and a little of his history for the first time.

Spizer, who talked about the discovery and the book this week on the weekly Beatles podcast “Things We Said Today,” credited the find to Frank Daniels, who wrote an essay for the book on Babington under the pseudo name Max Gretinski. “Both of us try to top each other with finding obscure stuff that I jokingly say only you, me and 15 other people in the world will care about,” Spizer told the radio show. Babington’s identity was confirmed by one of the men who were involved with creating the cover, Spizer said.

In the essay, Gretinksi (Daniels) details some of Babington’s military history, including his service in the 16th Queen’s Lancers in the Second Boer War and the First Calvary Brigade in South Africa. While much wasn’t known about his history in 1967, Babington’s face was, the essay says, because it was included in the book “Celebrities of the Army.”

“You knew about Beatle cards, but in the U.K. they had military history cards. And Major Gen. Babington was also one of these people that was on a card,” Spizer said. “So I think the artists got the idea to have the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ cutout card from those cards and out of those cards picked this one as their model.”

And there’s no question about whether the picture in the “Sgt. Pepper” album is Babington. The book includes side-by-side pictures of Babington and the mythical Sgt. Pepper. “As they said in ‘Yellow Submarine,’ the resemblance is uncanny,” Spizer quipped.

The discovery comes on the heels of the release of several CD sets by the Beatles May 26 that include a new remix of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by Giles Martin, son of the late Sir George Martin, and Sam Okell based on the original monaural mix which was preferred by the Beatles and that had several differences from the stereo mix. The largest set, six discs with four CDs, a DVD and a Blu-ray disc, includes the remix, discs of album outtakes, rarities and a monaural version of the album, plus video content.

More Music

  • Kanye West to Stage an Opera

    Kanye West to Stage an Opera at Hollywood Bowl on Sunday

    In line with his recent spate of Christian-themed “Sunday Service” performances and his “Jesus Is King” album, Kanye West will present an opera titled “Nebuchadnezzar” at the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday, Nov. 24, he and the venue announced on social media yesterday. West shared a photo of a gold-plated invitation to the event, apparently designed by [...]

  • the firt Motley Crue books Nikki

    Motley Crue to Tour in 2020?

    Even though Motley Crue signed a legal document confirming that their 2014-15 “Final Tour” would be their last, the group is plotting a trek in 2020, sources tell Variety. Rolling Stone reported today that Def Leppard and Poison will be joining the group for the trek, which it says will include stadiums; reps for the [...]

  • My Chemical Romance2011 Shockwaves NME Awards,

    My Chemical Romance Post First Photo Together Since Reunion

    Three cheers for a sweet reunion! Eyeliner sales are poised to skyrocket, because My Chemical Romance posted their first photo together since announcing that they are reforming for at least one comeback show — their first gig together in seven years. The black and white picture shows Gerard Way, Mikey Way, Frank Iero, and Ray [...]

  • Republic Records Names Mel Carter Senior

    Republic Records Names Mel Carter Senior VP of A&R

    Republic Records has named Mel Carter as senior vice president of A&R, executive VP Rob Stevenson announced today. In his new role, Carter will scout, sign, and foster new talent for the Republic roster. Additionally, he will continue to oversee the current roster on his imprint, Hikari Ultra, under its joint venture with Republic. In 2018, Carter began consulting for the company and eventually [...]

  • Rob Thomas during the Chip Tooth

    Rob Thomas, INXS' Andrew Farriss Honor Late Michael Hutchence With Surprise Duet

    More than two decades since INXS frontman Michael Hutchence died, beloved ballad  “Never Tear Us Apart” is still being heard in venues throughout Australia and as recently as Saturday night (Nov. 16), when Matchbox Twenty singer Rob Thomas brought out INXS’ Andrew Farriss to the stage. The two led a poignant 9,000-person singalong at Bimbadgen [...]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Harry Styles"

    Harry Styles Premieres New Song, Plays Trash-Eating Dog on ‘Saturday Night Live’ (Watch)

    The past couple of seasons of “Saturday Night Live” have seen some impressive hosting/musical performer double-duty stints, including Childish Gambino, Halsey and Chance the Rapper — and last night Harry Styles was more than up to the challenge. The singer appeared in nearly every skit — including turns as a naïve office intern, a gangster, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content