Always looking for more than meets the eye on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper album, I found that if you list the first letter of the first name and the first letter of the last name of each person represented in sequence in the rows (top row, second row, third row, front row), but vertically in columns, you get...
YG AB SS SL
AC RP ?? PG ("Pretty Girl")
MW AH MM GH
LB DT PG JL
KS TS MB ST
WF DD TM RS
CJ TC OW PM
EP WB TP AE
FA TH LB JL
RM MM DL RS
VG WB JW PM
HH MB SC GH
SR SL IB BB
BD RL GS MD
OH HW AC
KM AS DD
HW LM ST
Question: "How many Beatles died and were replaced?"
Answer: "(*sigh*) All."
Another interesting Pepper question...
In 1966, BBC Television produced a film of Alice in Wonderland that aired on December 28, 1966.
In the film, which is set in Victorian England, of course, there is a marching band and there are Victorian-era uniforms. There is a scene with a character dressed in uniform and the word "peppers" is spoken.
No doubt, the Beatles knew many of the figures involved in that production... Peter Sellers, Wilfrid Brambell, Leo McKern, and Ravi Shankar wrote the theme and performs on the soundtrack.
The film can be borrowed from Netflix in the USA. It seems to be the darkest and least child-friendly of any film version of the book. It was clearly made for adults. Low key on special effects, nevertheless it does seem somewhat psychedelic. Remember, in May of 1966, The Pretty Things performed their song, LSD, on BBC Radio, so there's no doubt that dropping acid was in the London culture during 1966. In March of that year, the butcher cover was shot. Revolver came out in August '66 in the UK, so psychedelic music was evolving in that year and would be in full bloom with the release of Sgt. Pepper in early 1967. Reportedly, the Beatles began using LSD in 1965.
So, my question is, did any Beatle visit the set of the BBC Alice in Wonderland production sometime in 1966? I don't know the production dates of the film, only its premiere date (28 Dec. 1966). I know the Beatles were touring the far east and then later, the USA, but they were in London on occasion, that year.
My suspicion is that the inspiration for the Victorian-era, military uniforms, the Victorian military brass band motif, and get this... "peppers" came from that 1966 BBC film version of Alice in Wonderland. The Beatles could have certainly gained access to the location or studio shoots (the 'peppers' scene is in studio).
Combine the fact that the Beatles were using LSD and somehow got a sneak peek of the shooting or editing of the film version of one of John Lennon's favorite books and you have possibly the roots of some essential elements of the Sgt. Pepper concept.
I recommend getting the film from Netflix and seeing for yourself. Here's a taste of it...
Ravi Shankar's theme...
Some scenes in slo-mo with recent music...
Another little bit of trivia... one really spooky scene is Alice walking down a row of tall windows with tattered, sheer curtains in a large, old building (no furniture)...
The scene was shot in an abandoned mental hospital used for 'shell shocked' men returning from the World Wars. Psychiatrist R. D. Laing had worked there. Laing was involved with Tavistock, this from wiki...
"In 1956 Laing went on to train on a grant at the Tavistock Clinic in London, widely known as a centre for the study and practice of psychotherapy (particularly psychoanalysis). At this time, he was associated with John Bowlby, D. W. Winnicott and Charles Rycroft. He remained at the Tavistock Institute until 1964.
One imagines that Dr. Laing and Dr. Asher were well acquainted and perhaps close colleagues. So, another interesting question would be, how and why did Jonathan Miller's film shoot of Alice in Wonderland for BBC Television find a shooting location connected with Tavistock and Drs. Laing and Asher?
Needless to say, I think the film seems to connect some dots, maybe.