It was 54 years ago today (March 30th, 1967) that the Beatles posed for their famous Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. The Beatles, who were sporting psychedelic marching band outfits, had designed the album cover concept with then husband and wife team Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, explaining that they wanted the crowd behind them to include “people they liked.”
Blake created the scene of the group being flanked by their audience, using mainly cardboard cut-out photographs of famous people. The final shot, which was photographed by the late Michael Cooper, has gone on to be one of the most revered and imitated album covers in rock history. Among the famous figures that the group's record company EMI flat out rejected were John Lennon's suggestions of Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi and Adolph Hitler — although cardboard cutouts of Gandhi and Hitler were prepared.
The label made the Beatles write to each of the people appearing on the cover and ask them for permission. Prior to granting approval, Mae West responded by asking, “What would I be doing in a lonely hearts club?” Only Bowery Boy star Leo Gorcey declined, after requesting $400. (He was eventually blocked out by a painted-on palm tree).