Paul McCartney branded one Beatles record ‘the drug album’

Paul McCartney on how 'Yesterday' came to him in a dream

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The Beatles’ music changed a lot over the decade they were in the public eye. Although they started out playing skiffle music, they ended up exploring new music styles into a more psychedelic sound. The first time this happened was in 1967 after the release of their seventh studio album, Revolver.

In 1966 the Fab Four started work on their eighth album, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Once it was released in 1967 the record reached number one in the UK Albums Charts and was later awarded a Grammy Award for Best Album (the first rock record to achieve this award). But the road to writing and recording the album started when the band first encountered psychedelic drugs.

Years later, the band’s producer George Martin asked Paul McCartney what inspired the record, and his answer was surprising.

At the time Martin was producing a TV show on the Sgt Pepper’s album. McCartney recalled Martin asking him: “Do you know what caused Pepper?”

He remembered: “I said: ‘In one word, George, drugs. Pot.’ And George said: ‘No, no. But you weren’t on it all the time.'” McCartney then broke the news to him: “Yes, we were. Sgt Pepper was a drug album.”

This was not the first time the band were introduced to drugs, however.

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John Lennon later referred to his “Dylan period,” in reference to American star Bob Dylan, in the same era. The musician reportedly “introduced” The Beatles to cannabis in the mid-1960s. But McCartney has also spoken openly about his experience using the psychedelic drug LSD in the past.

McCartney once revealed: “John and George [Harrison] didn’t give LSD to me. A couple of guys came to visit us in LA, and it was them that said: ‘Man, you’ve got to try this.’ They had it in a bottle with an eye-dropper, and they dropped it on sugar cubes and gave it to us. That was my first trip.”

The Hey Jude singer then described the scene that followed hours later into the night, which left him begging God to “give him a break”.

McCartney remembered hanging out with Lennon, George Harrison and The Beatles’ road managers Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans. He said: “Neil had to deal with Don Short while I was swimming in jelly in the pool. It was a fabulous day.” He added: “The night wasn’t so great, because it felt like it was never going to wear off. Twelve hours later and it was: ‘Give us a break now, Lord.'”


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