Monday, 6 August 2018

The Sgt Pepper drum


The Beatles in 1964 - their first appearance with what later became the Sgt Pepper drum.

The marching band drum seen on the cover of the Sgt Pepper album first appeared with the Beatles in some promotional still photos in 1964, and may have been the drum Mal Evans used during the recording of "Yellow Submarine"!

Another exclusive by Kevin Bradford

I have been in touch with a curator at the Essex Yeomanry Band museum, The Sgt Pepper drum? It was theirs at one time. How it came into being an item that The Beatles were photographed with on at least two occasions over a span of 3 years is still unclear. Once in 1964 on the day Ed Sullivan interviewed them on the final day of filming for "A Hard Day's Night" movie at Les Ambassadeurs in London, and again in 1967 for the Sgt. Pepper photograph session.

A 1964 photo of the Beatles with this drum was to appear later on this official album in the German Democratic Republic
(which you may know as the communist country of East Germany).

The Sgt Pepper drum at the photo session for the album cover.

No other images of the drum exist outside of The Beatles camp other than this one provided to me from 1960:

The same drum in a 1960 photo.

It is my speculation that it was part of EMI studios closet of unusual instruments that they often raided for recording sessions. Ken Scott (Beatles engineer) does recall there being a marching drum there but is uncertain if it was that one. Geoff Emerick cannot recall. It was reported that during the recording of Yellow Submarine in 1966 that Mal Evans donned a marching bass drum and led a procession of friends and Beatles to sing the chorus in unison as he beat the drum for that session. I suspect it was this drum we hear.


The Essex Yeomanry did tell me that they had a fire a few years back and musical items were lost and possibly if it was returned it may have been lost. They do not have it now. Like I said..the last real proof was 1960 four years before the Beatles first appeared with it. Perhaps Abbey Road still has it ( I doubt that) or Paul or Ringo might.

Limited to 1000 copies, a replica Sgt Pepper drum is for sale from the official Beatles store.

"The band used to store their equipment at the Marconi Club in Chelmsford but there was a fire and a lot of equipment and music was lost. We had a Lottery Grant and replaced much of our percussion, including new timpani and a MalletKat, but we still kept everything servicable.

After the fire we stored everything in the band trailer on a farm in Hatfield Peveral, there would have been some downsizing as this was not too large."

5 comments:

DiBoLandsTVAndNewsCenter said...

There was only one East Germany

Roger Stormo said...

I know, I visited it.

Tom said...

I read about 10 years ago the Sgt. Pepper's drum was going to be auctioned. And it fetched in the vicinity of 1 million US. Here's a link I just found... https://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/the-beatles-sgt-pepper-drum-sells-for-over-1m-164408

Kevin said...

Not the drum..The skin.

Unknown said...

Fascinating and kind of mind-boggling. Thanks for the post!