It Was Fifty Years Ago Today’

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Bootleg Beatles Celebrate Sgt. Pepper and the Summer of Love

The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Bootleg Beatles
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Roger McGough presenter

The award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the nation’s premier Beatle group The Bootleg Beatles are delighted to announce they will team up next year for a number of special concerts to mark the fiftieth anniversary of arguably the most influential album of all time, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’.

This unique production, to be performed in many prestigious venues around the country next summer, will feature the Bootleg Beatles (‘fastidiously authentic’ – Daily Telegraph) with the 70 piece Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra performing the iconic album, arranged by Nigel Osborne, live in its entirety along with many other songs from their ‘flower power’ era including ‘Strawberry Fields’, ‘Penny Lane’ and the anthemic ‘All You Need is Love’. Osborne described the show as being like, “Sgt. Pepper in HD”. Nigel Osborne’s works have been featured in most major international festivals and performed by many leading orchestras and ensembles around the world, ranging from the Moscow to the Berlin Symphony Orchestras to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has also composed extensively for the theatre, with operas and music theatre works

Dates confirmed so far in 2017 include The Liverpool Philharmonic Hall (31st May and 3rd June), Birmingham Symphony Hall (6th June) and the Royal Albert Hall, London on June 1st, exactly 50 years to the day of the album’s initial release. The Liverpool concerts will be part of a city wide program of commissions celebrating the 50th Anniversary of one of the most important albums in pop music history.

It is more than fitting then that these concerts will be hosted by renowned Liverpool poet and ex-member of Scaffold Roger McGough. This year marks the 50th anniversary of ‘Sgt. Pepper’ but also of ‘The Mersey Sound’ which was a hugely popular [selling over a million copies] and influential anthology of poems by Roger McGough, Brian Patten and Adrian Henri. Their work helped re-popularise poetry and galvanised a whole generation of new writers.

‘It Was Fifty Years Ago Today’ will offer an unprecedented look back on a master work whose influence and potency is undiminished five decades on. A once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate what Rolling Stone magazine claimed to be ‘the number one greatest album of all time’. This show promises to be the highlight of the 2017 summer concert season.

As the Fab Four themselves so memorably and convincingly assured us… ‘A splendid time is guaranteed for all’.

Ticketing Details:

Tickets for the performances at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall go on sale at 10am on 1 June 2016 from / 0151 709 3789 and are priced from £35 – £55 [all tickets subject to a booking fee].

Tickets for the performance at Birmingham Symphony Hall go on sale at 10am on 1 June 2016 from / 0121 780 3333 and are priced from £35 – £65 [all tickets subject to a booking fee].

Tickets for the performance at the Royal Albert Hall go on sale at 10am on 1 June 2016 from 020 7589 8212 /,, and are priced from £25 – £60 [all tickets subject to a booking fee].


‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ was an album that showcased The Beatles at their creative best. Having retired from touring they were able to pour every idea, every influence, every ounce of genius, every trick in the book [and many new ones] into the recording, knowing full well that they would not be required to rise to challenge facing the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Bootleg Beatles , and reproduce it live.

The album was a fusion of everything that made The Beatles great, and much that they themselves had discovered and loved over the unparalleled journey, ‘Sgt. Pepper’ not only defined the times, but has stood the test of time.

Time magazine called it “a historic departure in the progress of music”.

The late Sir George Martin himself described ‘Sgt. Pepper’ as: “The most innovative, imaginative trend-setting record of its time”.



Richard Haswell, Head of Programme, Liverpool Philharmonic commented, “Amongst the many bands that have come out of Liverpool, the two true greats are The Beatles and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. So it seems only fitting we are able to mark the anniversary of one of the greatest albums of all time with this run of very special concerts 50 Years to the day since its release. Everyone here is tremendously excited, not only to been performing such a seminal work but also to be collaborating with our great friends The Bootleg Beatles, Roger McGough and Nigel Osborne. We think that these shows are going to be truly memorable for both the performers and for the audiences that will have the opportunity to hear the album performed with all the drama of a full symphony orchestra”.

The award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is the UK’s oldest continuing professional symphony orchestra, its origins dating back to 1840, when it was founded by a group of Liverpool music-lovers.

Vasily Petrenko was appointed Principal Conductor of the Orchestra in September 2006 and in September 2009 became Chief Conductor. Now in its tenth year, his dynamic music partnership with the Orchestra has attracted world-wide critical acclaim and drawn new audiences, including many young people, to live classical music. Petrenko joins a distinguished line of musicians who have led the Orchestra during its illustrious history including Max Bruch, Sir Charles

Hallé, Sir Henry Wood, Sir Malcolm Sargent, Sir John Pritchard, Sir Charles Groves, Walter Weller, David Atherton, Marek Janowski, Libor Pešek KBE, Petr Altrichter and Gerard Schwarz.

The Orchestra gives over sixty concerts each season in its home, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, and in recent seasons has given world premiere performances of major works by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sir John Tavener, Karl Jenkins, Stewart Copeland, Michael Nyman, Michael Torke, Nico Muhly, James Horner and Sir James MacMillan alongside works by Liverpool-born and North West-based composers.

Collaborations with international artists from rock and pop include Liverpool’s own Sir Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Ian Broudie and the Lightning Seeds, Echo and The Bunnymen and Cast.

The Orchestra also performs widely throughout the UK and internationally, most recently touring to China, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Spain, Germany, Romania, the Czech Republic and Japan, has an extensive recording catalogue.



The country’s Premier Beatle show are now in their 36th year and, since their inception in 1980 have performed hundreds of gigs across the globe, earning themselves an amazing reputation along the way. The late Sir George Martin himself described The Bootleg Beatles experience as “A terrific show”. Formed from the original cast of London’s West End hit show ‘Beatlemania’, The Bootleg Beatles have become ‘an institution’ in their own right with their note-perfect recreation of hits from every era of the world’s most famous songbook, including, of course ‘Sgt. Pepper’.

“The band have performed a small number of what I would call extraordinary gigs in their thirty-six year existence including a set on the rooftop of Apple and opening for Oasis at Earls Court. This unique opportunity to play Sgt Pepper live with a seventy piece orchestra will surely be another to add to that list”. Neil Harrison, The Bootleg Beatles

Sir George Martin himself described The Bootleg Beatles experience as “A terrific show”, whilst the Mail On Sunday hailed their “Mind-boggling accuracy”.

As one reviewer recently said… “It’s not John, Paul, George and Ringo … but you simply won’t believe it”.


Described as ‘Liverpool’s own Poet Laureate’ by the Daily Post, Roger McGough is the renowned poet and performer, inextricably linked with the Liverpool cultural scene and indeed The Beatles. He provided much of the dialogue for the Yellow Submarine film. His own work, first with Scaffold, who enjoyed a number one hit with ‘Lily The Pink’, and then the collaborative Grimms, led him on to the production of nationally acclaimed poetry. Philip Larkin included him in The Oxford Book of Twentieth Century Poetry which he edited in 1973. He was described as ‘the patron saint of poetry’ by Carol Ann Duffy. A Freeman of the City, he has been awarded both the OBE and CBE. 2017 also marks the 50th anniversary of ‘Summer with Monika’, McGough’s classic sequence of love poems, to be republished by Penguin in August.

For more information, pictures or to request an interview please contact Chris Hewlett on 0845 601 2833 or See also