Swedish EP inspired Pepper?
Posted by Roger Stormo
Thursday, September 29, 2016
The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Was the famous cover photo of The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" inspired by a Swedish EP-cover?
Swedish record store owner Jörgen Johansson developed this theory when he came across an EP from 1964 with the student band Mercblecket, by a group from the Stockholm School of Economics. The EP contains parodies of four Beatles songs. Just like on the Sgt-Pepper albumet, the cover photo depicts members of the band grouped around a bass drum, holding similar instruments as in The Beatles' photo. In the spring of 1963, Mercblecket acquired a large number of operatic fancy dress jackets, dolmans, from the Oscars Theatre. They are wearing these uniforms on the cover photo.
Mercblecket - Beats The Beatles
What further lends credibility to the theory, is Paul had the record. Mercblecket showed up at the airport to entertain The Beatles as they arrived in Stockholm in late July 1964 to give concerts at the Johanneshovs Isstadion, and a representative of Mercblecket, English exchange student Roger Wallis handed Paul McCartney a copy of the EP. In the news film below, the uniformed Roger Wallis walks up to McCartney on his way out of the plane at Arlanda airport, around the 27 second mark. After this, Mercblecket starts to play"I Want to Hold Your Hand", and McCartney joins in on the fun, pretending to conduct the band.
There's even an interview in existence, from the hotel at Lidingö, where they resided, and they are listening to the EP, with McCartney commenting: "I really like this one, they really got the beat. It’s really great!"
Earlier theories around the inspiration for the album cover of "Sgt. Pepper" have brought forth this photo of Jim Mac's band, the jazz band of McCartney's father, Jim.
Jim Mac's Band
So if you're a die hard record collector, here's an EP to hunt for! Roger Wallis, Mercblecket's conductor and arranger at the time, had made five or six arrangements of the most famous Beatles songs, four of which ended up on the EP: "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "This Boy", "All My Loving" and "I Saw Her Standing There" - with new lyrics. After having met The Beatles and given them their EP, Mercblecket made "A Hard Day's Night" their signature melody for years to come.
"Mercblecket Beats The Beatles" [EP] 1964 Philips 433 445 PE
Listen to Mercblecket's rendition of All My Loving.