Sgt Pepper Album Cover Updated for Peter Blake’s 80th Birthday

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Sir Peter Blake / Vintage Festival

Sir Peter Blake selects the British cultural icons of his life to mark his 80th birthday celebrations at Vintage Festival.

It’s not often that NewsFeed advises you to “ask your parents.” But when it comes to British pop artist Sir Peter Blake and his famous creation from 1967, it’s arguably the safest course of action.

When Blake was a younger man, he came up with the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. It was a mighty fine testament to those considered famous back then, featuring writers, musicians, film stars and a number of Indian gurus. (In case you’re wondering, that last one was a George Harrison request.)

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But Blake has decided to mark his 80th birthday by updating the iconic artwork, and has thrust a plethora of newer British talent in the limelight. This version was commissioned for a birthday celebration at Wayne Hemingway’s Vintage festival at Boughton House, Northamptonshire, this July.

“I’ve chosen people I admire, great people and some who are dear friends,” Blake told the Guardian. The late Amy Winehouse is featured, as are the likes of JK Rowling, Kate Moss, Damien Hirst and even the Monty Python foot (“there are better parts of his body available at very little cost,” said original Python Terry Jones). Rowling was clearly taken aback: “Given that I’ve devoted quite a lot of time to gazing at the original Sgt Pepper album cover, you can perhaps imagine what it means to me to be featured,” she said.

Playwright Sir Tom Stoppard was also extremely happy, calling it “an honor that outdoes delirium” while Noel Gallagher (once of Oasis) was “chuffed,” noting that “to be on there with the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Mick Jagger and Paul Weller, just those three people alone, is amazing for me as I wouldn’t put myself up with any of those.”

And that raises an interesting point, because if Gallagher doesn’t rank himself as highly as (some of) his peers, it’s clearly up for debate who deserves to have made the cover, who should have been left off and who was overlooked. “I had a very long list of people who I wanted to go in but couldn’t fit everyone in – I think that shows how strong British culture and its legacy of the last six decades is,” Blake said rather diplomatically. Why don’t you check out this interactive feature, and then use the comments box below to give us your thoughts?

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