Stones and Sgt. Pepper
Date: February 6, 2007 03:49
This was in our local paper yesterday...got a kick out of it!
Mary Anne May's entry in a contest to meet the Rolling Stones in 1965 ended up on the iconic Beatles cover.
'Sgt. Pepper' has Memphis connection
By Leanne Kleinmann
February 4, 2007
"It was twenty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play ..."
Just those words can start die-hard Beatles fans, from middle school to middle age, singing through the iconic songs on what Rolling Stone magazine called the "most important rock 'n' roll album ever made."
From the concept to the music to the cover art, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was groundbreaking. It's also 40 years old this year, an anniversary that's contributing to a storm in the blogosphere about exactly what Apple, creator of the iPod, is going to announce tonight with its ad during the Super Bowl.
But back to "Sgt. Pepper," and that psychedelic album cover. There are the boys, John, Paul, George and Ringo, in their Day-Glo satin military coats. There's an army of cardboard cut-outs of people the Beatles admired, from Bob Dylan to Sigmund Freud. And there, in the far right corner, is a slouching Shirley Temple doll, wearing a striped shirt that says, "WMPS Good Guys Welcome the Rolling Stones."
The sweater was the creation of Mary Anne May, at the time a senior at Immaculate Conception High School. WMPS, a big AM-radio station in town, had a contest to win a chance to meet the Stones at their 1965 concert at the Coliseum.
May, a big fan, was determined to win, so she "bought a kids striped shirt at the dollar store." Mick Jagger was wearing striped shirts a lot onstage then, she pointed out. She stitched the letters on and hoped for the best.
Her dream came true, and during intermission, she went backstage, holding her contest-winning creation. "Is this for me?" asked Jagger, taking the shirt. That's the last she saw of it.
It eventually made its way to Peter Blake, the British Pop artist behind the Sgt. Pepper cover. May found out her shirt had made the big time when someone at WMPS spotted it on the album cover in the summer of 1967.
"I rushed over to Pop Tunes to have a look," she said, but she still had to save up her money to buy the album. (She no longer has her copy.)
Tonight, Apple may announce that, at long last, the Beatles catalog will be available to download from iTunes. "When I'm Sixty-Four," "With a Little Help from My Friends," "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," all there, 40 years later, as digital music files.
Mary Anne May is now an elementary school art teacher who still lives in Memphis. Of her shirt's brush with fame: "I have no idea where it is now. I'd love to have it back."