Alice Cooper checked himself into a New York rehab facility (which he quickly discovered was more of a mental asylum) for alcoholism. He was granted a temporary leave for three days (November 18-20, 1977) to record his vocals and shoot his scenes for the film.
The shooting script called for Peter Frampton's character to kill Steven Tyler's, but when it came time to film this scene, Aerosmith threatened to walk out. "There's no f***ing way that Steven is gonna get directly offed by Frampton," commented Joe Perry. "It's gotta be an accident, the way it was in the original script we f***ing agreed to." They finally agreed to a compromise, with Tyler's character being accidentally pushed to his death by Sandy Farina.
For the finale of the film, it was decided that they'd assemble an enormous roster of celebrities to sing the reprise of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Formal invitations were engraved and sent to virtually everyone in the entertainment industry; the many who RSVP'd were treated to first-class transportation to Los Angeles, limos, luxurious hotels, champagne, a lavishly catered dinner and private tents for each of the stars in the studio's garden room.
Originally, The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton were given dialogue. However, since they all had British accents and the film was supposed to be taking place in middle America, it was decided that they would do away with all dialogue and use George Burns' role as narrator to supply the dialogue for all the characters.
The film was adapted as a comic book, which was intended to be released as Marvel Super Special #7. For reasons which were never officially disclosed, the book was never issued in the USA. The comic was, however, released in France, the Netherlands and Germany (with text in the respective language of each country), but copies of these releases are scarce.
In addition to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the film incorporates songs from other albums by The Beatles - "Nowhere Man" (Rubber Soul"), "Got To Get You Into My Life" (Revolver), "Strawberry Fields Forever" (Magical Mystery Tour), "Get Back" (Let It Be), "Come Together", "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", "Oh! Darling", "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", "Here Comes the Sun", "Because", "You Never Give Me Your Money", "Mean Mr. Mustard", "Polythene Pam", "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window", "Golden Slumbers" and "Carry That Weight" (Abbey Road).
Three songs from the soundtrack actually charted in the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979 with Earth Wind & Fire's version of "Got to Get You Into My Life" charting the highest at #9. The other songs from the soundtrack that did chart were Aerosmith's version of "Come Together", which charted at #23 and Robin Gibb's solo performance of "Oh Darlin'", which reached #15 on the chart.
When production began, The Bee Gees were sharing a trailer. Saturday Night Fever (1977), was released early into the shoot and the soundtrack became such an instant, overwhelming success that the three Gibb brothers were each given their own trailer.
The Bee Gees blamed their declining popularity in part on their involvement with the whole project, coupled with their mutual struggles with drug addiction. The latter was exacerbated by the environment of making the film and its soundtrack, with Maurice Gibb expressing shock at seeing crew members carrying around bags full of cocaine. Robin Gibb in particular spent much of this period having to dose himself with barbiturates to even be able to sleep. Some of the most vicious criticism of the soundtrack was levelled at them, and the musicians felt a particularly painful sting at being labeled as mere "Beatles imitators" since that sort of pejorative tag had been with them since they began their pop rock work in the 1960s.
Paramount Pictures was the international distributor of the film. Nearly 3 decades later, Paramount sold its music publishing arm, Famous Music, to Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which has owned the publishing rights to most Beatles songs since 1995.
The creation of the soundtrack was marked with tension from the beginning, with Peter Frampton and The Bee Gees both feeling wary of the other artist as well as being unsure as to how their music would work together on the same album.