When British pop artist Sir Peter Blake and his wife Jann Haworth came up with the idea of a montage of famous people for the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and John Lennon gave them a list of people to include. Some of the famous faces who eventually appeared on the album included T.E. Lawrence, Mae West, Oscar Wilde, and Karl Marx. Lennon also proposed including Jesus, Hitler, and Gandhi, although there is some question about whether he was, as producer George Martin later described, just being “a naughty boy.” None of them made the cut, although the artists claim that Hitler is standing behind the band but “you just can’t see him.”
Not part of Sgt. Pepper's band:
- Lennon caused a stir in the United States in 1966 when he claimed that the Beatles had become “more popular than Jesus.” It was decided to avoid the subject, and no cardboard cut-out of Jesus was commissioned.
- The image of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler nearly made the final cut. “We did make up the image of Hitler,” Blake said in 2007. The Führer, he said, is obscured by the Beatles themselves.
- The record company was concerned about putting Gandhi on the cover. It might be considered sacrilegious in India, said EMI chairman Joseph Lockwood.