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Friday 9 October 2009

What happened to the Sgt Pepper suits?

So far we've examined all the outtake photos from the Pepper photo session, and gone through all the various people on the collage. So what became of the Beatles famous Sgt Pepper costumes, designed by M. Berman Ltd.?
Well, they wore them one last time as a group when, on November 10th, 1967, they were for filming the "Hello Goodbye" music video. At least three promotional videos were filmed for "Hello Goodbye", but not aired by the BBC due to the Musicians Union's strict rules on miming. Paul McCartney directed the footage, which was filmed at the Saville Theatre in London, formerly owned by The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein.

The next appearances of the individual suits were also in music videos. In 1974, George Harrison filmed a music video for his New Year's song, "Ding Dong Ding Dong".

Some time after this, George seems to have given away his suit, but he was to re-obtain it again and again it was to put to use in a music video. This time it was the Beatles retrospective "When We Was Fab". The song appears as the sixth track on Harrison's 1987 album Cloud Nine and was later released as the second single from that album in January 1988.

The single was also available as a limited edition box, including a poster and a Sgt Pepper-like cut-out of George in his Pepper suit.

George's suit is now owned by his estate.

The next suit to appear in public was Paul McCartney's and again it was in a music video. The song in question was "My Brave Face", the first single from the "Flowers In The Dirt" Album in 1989.

So McCartney still has his suit.
John Lennon's Sgt Pepper's suit is owned my his widow, Yoko Ono, who sometimes lends it out for display at museums.

Ringo Starr's Pepper costume is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

How to make your own Sgt Pepper outfits


Cara said...

I'm about 99.9% sure that I saw Paul McCartney's Sgt. Pepper's suit a the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 when I was there for the massive John Lennon exhibit. I remember thinking how tiny it was. It's possible that he loaned it out, though? Or maybe even that they made more than one suit for each Beatle?

wogew said...

Well, John Lennon's costume has been on display there, don't know about Paul's. I think they're unique, though - they were very elaborate.

beachgal said...

Ringo and John's suits have both been on display at the Grammy Museum during the John then later Ringo exhibits. Ringo's closed Spring of 2014. When the museum did the George exhibit there was no George suit any longer to display - that was made quite clear by Olivia and confirmed by Dhani later. Paul has yet to have any exhibit at the Grammy Museum. Time will tell when he does have his exhibit there if his suit turns up. Paul has not been known to be a 'saver' of his things. I would not be surprised at all if it's long gone.

Unknown said...

I was with George Harrison for a day because of my Employer. What a nice guy. I thought here's my chance and I asked him everything I could think of because we were waiting for something and had time to just sit and do nothing. I asked him about what happened to every Beatle thing I could think of and one of the things I asked about was the Sgt. Pepper uniform. He said that it had been severely faded due to age and that it was in bad condition. He said that he had given it to a famous friend, (I won't mention the name for privacy reasons, it's not my place) and that he had given a lot of Beatle things to different Friends and when he got it back it was in bad condition. He said that when he went to consider using it for the when we was fab video there was no way and that the Uniform in the when we was fab video was NOT the original one. He said that one was made by a guy, I forget his name now, who only makes stage clothing for Musicians as a business in Los Angeles.

Spangles said...

Was the name of the designer that George told you made the replica costume Manuel Cuevas? He seems to have had some involvement with the Sergeant Pepper suits and would have been working in LA in the late 1980s

Unknown said...

The Paul peppers costume that the Japanese guy holds up is a copy, there is no OPP or other badge on it and the ribbon material is different. Probably got a copy just for the film clip. The other one in suit bag is real one though, very cool!!

Unknown said...

I went to an exhibition of famous Rock n Roll clothing at the V&A in the late 90s. One of the exhibits was the four suits together in a glass cabinet but there was a sign on the glass saying that three of them were the originals but one was a replica. It didn't say which one was the replica sadly. They all looked in very good condition so maybe it was George's that was absent? I have a photo somewhere but no idea where it is :(

Unknown said...

I am so glad to read that Ringo still has his Pepper suit. Someone had mentioned to me some time ago that it was lost in a fire at his home.

Unknown said...

In the Aspel interview in 1988 George comments on the suit in the 'Fab' video and remarks that it's tighter than it used to be. So it must have been the original (possibly).

Jim or James Smith. (At least that is what I tell Hotels) said...

George Harrison is wearing a different suit an hat in the video of "When we was fab". Anyone can freeze the video and then looked at the Sgt. Pepper cover and it is obviously a different suit.

Unknown said...

My mother in law made the sgt pepper trousers, worked in a sweat shop in berwick st london.had the offcuts,lost them years ago could kick myself.