Ever since they were sent into WWI battle in 1918, Sgt. Pepper and his Lonely Hearts Club Band of Heartland, USA have been spreading the message of joy and love to the world, which has made them and Heartland famous. Upon Sgt. Pepper's death in 1958, the band's instruments have been housed on display at Heartland City Hall as symbols of that love and joy. Before his death, Sgt. Pepper asked his adolescent grandson Billy Shears to take on the reigns of forming his own band to continue to spread the message of joy and love. With Billy's brother Dougie Shears as their manager, Billy, now an adult, and his three best friends - brothers Mark, Dave and Bob Henderson - embark on their lives as a new Lonely Hearts Club Band. They quickly come to the attention of Hollywood music producer B.D. Hoffler Of B.D. (Big Deal) Records. With the boys off to Hollywood to spread the words of joy and love to the world, enter into Heartland the evil and demented Mr. Mustard, an ex-real estate agent who ... Written by
did the Beatles have a song about guilty pleasures?
I stumbled across an unlicensed videocassette of the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, starring Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees. Being a pop-culture junkie I had to have it. It ranks up there with the worst movies of all time - absolutely everything about it was poorly thought out. The basic premise is that they took all these Beatle's songs and strung them together to make a story, so the characters had to come from names or words from Beatle's songs: for instance, Frampton's character (the lead singer for the Lonely Hearts Club Band) is Billy Shears (if you'll recall Billy Shears is introduced by the Beatles at the beginning of Sgt. Pepper as the singer of 'get by with a little help from my friends... etc.). His girlfriend is named Strawberry Fields (any guesses where that came from?) Later he is tempted by Lucy, from the female rock band Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (I'm really not kidding), and happiness is threatened by Mean Mr. Mustard, who abducts Strawberry, and also Dr. Maxwell Edison (majoring in medicine with silver hammers). Although they sing 'Nowhere Man' and 'Polythene Pam' these names do not appear as characters somehow. There are about 20 Beatles songs in the movie not sung by the Beatles, and the lead characters never speak - all the narration is done by Mr. Kite ('a benefit for Mr. Kite' and yes there is such a benefit) played by George Burns who even dons a guitar to sing 'fixing a hole'. There are almost no words to describe how awful this film is. Everything about it was a complete disaster, although the Beatles' songs are all familiar and delightful, they are delivered in a context that simply doesn't work (for instance there are a couple of melancholy songs sung - 'long and winding road' etc. after Strawberry is killed in a fight with Aerosmith). One of the sublime moments was when Strawberry Fields sings 'Strawberry Fields Forever'. She's singing to herself about herself. Forever. Fantastic.
Production values were high - they spent a lot of money on this fantasy. It lost all of its investment and Peter Frampton, who's performance has to be seen to be believed (the cast of 'Punky Brewster' seems almost Shakespearean in comparison) was so embarrassed that he bought almost all of the prints back to have them destroyed for posterity's sake. But some got away, and I got my cassette. What a treasure.
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