Wouldn't you like to see
a Pepper, too?
By Serene Dominic
The Beatles' landmark Sgt. Pepper album cover
provided us with a host of luminaries from the universally
recognized (W.C. Fields, Marlon Brando, Bob Dylan) to the
unknown and esoteric (guru Sri Lahari Kahasaya and singer
In an attempt to re-create that famous sleeve for the
movie finale, producer Robert Stigwood pulled out all the
stops in assembling his own crowd scene. He invited 400
celebrities from all over the world to a party on the set,
providing each guest a first-class plane ticket and
accommodations at a hotel of his or her choice. Total cost
for this one day of shooting--half a million dollars!! For
that kind of scratch, you could probably just get Brando,
but Stigwood had his own bizarre sense of what celebrities
he should choose (Connie Stevens? Margaret Whiting?)
Here's the complete head-scratching list divided into
five distinct categories.
GUESTS AT PEPPERLAND NO ONE IN
THEIR RIGHT MIND COULD BE EXPECTED TO KNOW:
Keith Allison-- semi-regular on Where
the Action Is and an ex-Paul Revere Raider.
Eddie Harris-- Jazz tenor saxophonist who usually
has pretty ladies or neat drawings of toasters or
chocolates on his album covers.
Adrian Gurvitz-- Record producer and member of the
Baker Gurvitz Army, a mid-'70s group with ex-Cream
drummer Ginger Baker that, like the plot to
Pepper, went nowhere.
Jackie Lomax-- Failed Apple recording artist
produced by George Harrison hardly qualifies as an
acceptable 5,500th Beatle.
Joe Lala-- Session percussionist for Bee Gees and
onetime member of Blues Image and Steven Stills'
Alan White-- Drummer for Yes and onetime member of
Plastic Ono band. Instant Karma's gonna get you,
Lenny White-- Drummer for jazz/fusion band Return
To Forever. Who drew up this dream guest list, Max
Grover Washington, Jr.-- Another jazz tenor
Anita Pointer-- Spot one Pointer sister without
the other two bookendin'? I don't think so. The Sisters'
career takes off when sister Bonnie quits around Pepper
John Mayall-- Blues legend, but only because he
picked good side men. Even though he's on the cover of
every album, you couldn't pick him out of a phone
Monte Rock III-- Alias Disco Tex of Disco Tex and
the Sexolettes fame. Happy hunting!
Lee Oskar-- Harmonica player for War.
GUESTS AT PEPPERLAND EVEN I
Charlotte, Sharon and Ula (must be hookers RSO
keeps on retainer)
Randy Edelman-- Don't tell me. I know he did
something. But what?
GUESTS AT PEPPERLAND ALREADY ON
Stephen Bishop-- Shut out of the top 40
for five years until he scores a post-Pepper hit with "It
Might Be You" (theme from Tootsie) in 1983.
Jack Bruce-- Another RSO indentured slave, still
reeling from being financially cheated during his early
Cream days. Maybe the junket was his only way of getting
some recompensation from Stigwood.
Keith Carradine-- Actor/one-hit wonder from 1976
with "I'm Easy."
Jim Dandy Mangrum-- lead singer of Black Oak
Arkansas, Southern rock one-hit wonder from 1974 with
Rick Derringer-- Leader of McCoys, member of the
Edgar Winter Group, one-hit wonder from 1974 with "Rock
and Roll, Hoochie Koo."
Donovan-- Hasn't had a hit single since the
continent of "Atlantis" sank in 1969. Gave birth to a
son, Donovan Leitch, who fronted arguably the worst band
of the '90s, Nancy Boy.
Yvonne Elliman-- Another RSO stowaway who had a
super number-one hit in early 1978 with the Bee
Gees-penned "If I Can't Have You." A year after this
Pepper cameo, the public sends one Yvonne single "Love
Pain" up to Number 34 and spends the '80s
Jose Feliciano-- Until Rosanne belched our
national anthem and scratched her crotch, Feliciano was
the standard bearer for most sacrilegious rendition of
"The Star Spangled Banner." Jose can you see, indeed!
Nona Hendryx-- Another ex-Labelle with lots of hip
cache and no record sales.
Heart-- Pre-Pepper, the Wilson sisters had four
consecutive platinum albums. After Pepper, they had two
gold ones, then two that didn't even go gold. Heart
begins using outside writers (Desmond Child?) in 1985 and
scores hits immediately. Then Ann Wilson discovers
carbohydrates and the whole sorry process starts all over
Wolfman Jack-- Host of Midnight Special
until Helen Reddy took over.
Helen Reddy-- No one gets out of here alive. No
one, ya hear! Helen starred as a singing nun in
Airport '75 and completes her credits in disaster
films with this appearance.
Frankie Valli-- Besides RSO Records and the Bee
Gees, Valli's the only other connecting thread between
the Grease movie and this. Hot off the "Grease"
theme, Valli never placed another chart hit again.
Probably wasn't invited to the re-release premiere just
so not to jinx it.
Minnie Ripperton-- Died one year after this movie
at age 30.
Mark Lindsay-- No hits since the Raiders' last,
"Birds of a Feather," in 1971.
Peter Noone-- This appearance of the former
Herman's Hermit insures that his New Wave outfit, The
Tremblers, the following year will not move or shake
Sha-Na-Na-- By this time, Bowzer was hosting the
new Hollywood Squares, wasn't he?
Leif Garrett-- Teen idol scores one Top 10 hit the
fall after this cameo with "I Was Made for Dancing,"
before his teen-idol expiration date kicks in and the
drinking and druggin' begin. His resemblance to Peter
Frampton couldn't have helped!
The Paley Brothers
Seals & Crofts
GUESTS AT PEPPERLAND WHO EMERGED
George Benson-- scores several more bland ballads
that make the public universally forget he was a jazz
Sarah Dash-- Ex-member of Labelle, scored with
"Ooh La La (Too Soon)," a medium-size disco hit based on
the Sassoon designer-jeans commercial. Featured
background vocalist on the Stones' Steel Wheels
Carol Channing-- Oh, Dolly'll never go away, and
this year's admission that she hasn't had sex in 25 years
certainly qualifies as emerging unscathed.
Barry Humphries-- That Dame Edna guy!
Dr. John-- Well-employed session player and jingle
singer. This could be the only case of his being in the
wrong place at the wrong time.
Bruce Johnston-- Longtime Beach Boy fill-in for Brian
Wilson. Wrote "I Write the Songs" about Wilson but most
people prefer blaming Barry Manilow for writing it about
Cousin Bruce Morrow-- Once an oldies DJ, always an
Curtis Mayfield-- At least a giant lighting rig
didn't fall on him in Pepperland.
John Stewart-- Former Kingston Trio member and
yet another indicator that attendance was mandatory for
all RSO recording artists.
Gwen Verdonbr> Hank Williams, Jr.--
This movie sure coulda used all his rowdy friends.
GUESTS AT PEPPERLAND WHOSE
FORTUNES TURNED UPWARD MANY YEARS LATER:
Tina Turner-- (Ike would never think of looking for
her in Pepperland)
The Pepper Legacy
It was 20 years ago this week that Sgt.
Pepper dropped a bomb on movie
theaters, so where's all the rerelease
Original Spice Girls
Sandy, Stargard and Dianne
IFAQ with Alice Cooper