The story of John Lennon’s psychedelic Rolls-Royce

In 1967, John Lennon tooled around London in a Rolls-Royce Phantom V personalized with a psychedelic paint job. After years traveling around to various US museums, the car recently returned to London for a new Rolls Royce exhibit at Bonhams. Rolling Stone's Jordan Runtagh tells the story of the trippy whip:

Exactly how Lennon decided on the lurid Romany floral/zodiac hybrid is subject to some debate. Anthony recalls Ringo Starr planting the seed of the idea during a drive in early 1967. "We were passing the fairground one day and they were admiring the fairground decorations and gypsy caravans. Ringo said why not have the Rolls painted the same way. John thought it was a great idea." However, others say the idea was suggested by Marijke Koger of the Dutch design collective the Fool – who would also paint Lennon's piano that summer – after Lennon commissioned a refurbished 1874 gypsy caravan as a present for his young son, Julian. Either way, the chance to indulge his eccentric taste, while simultaneously delivering a massive "V-sign" to the staid British high society, proved too tempting to resist.

Doubtful that Rolls-Royce themselves would ever submit to such a drastic makeover of one of their prized vehicles, Lennon paid a visit to private coach makers J.P. Fallon Ltd. in Chertsey on April 8th, 1967, to discuss the design. After spraying the body of the car yellow, local artist Steve Weaver was tasked with painting the red, orange, green and blue art nouveau swirls, floral side panels and Lennon's astrological symbol, Libra, on the roof. On May 24th, Weaver submitted an invoice for 290 pounds, and the following day the car was ready for pickup...

Delivered days before the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was issued, its official maiden voyage took place on May 28th, leading a fleet of friends to Epstein's new country home for a combined album release party and housewarming. Lennon somehow managed to cram in the back with eight others: his wife Cynthia, George Harrison and his wife Pattie, Koger and fellow Fools Simon Posthuma and Josje Leeger, as well as Derek Taylor – the Beatles' former (and future) press officer who had just flown in from Los Angeles for the event – and his wife Joan. All but the visiting Taylors were decked out in colorful silk and satin garb adorned with flowers, bells, scarves and amulets. Led by balloon bouquets tied to sign posts to guide the way, the friends sipped LSD-laced tea and played Procol Harum's gentle psychedelic lullaby "A Whiter Shade of Pale" endlessly on the record player.

"John Lennon's Phantom V: The Story of the Psychedelic Beatle-Mobile" (Rolling Stone)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmBg4yQzdyA

Sgt. Pepper gets a good dusting off at 50

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9x-DQBuervc

If you're old enough, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is one of the greatest records ever released. There are enough of us who can recite the lyrics to start a revolution. And just when you think things can't get any better, you realize that they're getting better all the time.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the release of the original Sgt. Pepper album, the Beatles have produced an enormously "wantable" six disc CD/Blu-Ray combination package with replicas of all the original paper inserts plus a whole lot more.

That's all I've got: watch the video. It's $149 at Amazon, but I bet the price will drop before release on May 26th.

More detailed information for the obsessed!

CD 1: New Stereo Remix

  1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  2. With A Little Help From My Friends
  3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  4. Getting Better
  5. Fixing A Hole
  6. She's Leaving Home
  7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
  8. Within You Without You
  9. When I'm Sixty-Four
  10. Lovely Rita
  11. Good Morning Good Morning
  12. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
  13. A Day In The Life

CD 2: Sgt. Pepper Sessions

  1. Strawberry Fields Forever—Take 1
  2. Strawberry Fields Forever—Take 4
  3. Strawberry Fields Forever—Take 7
  4. Strawberry Fields Forever—Take 26
  5. Strawberry Fields Forever—Stereo/Giles Martin Mix 2015
  6. When I'm Sixty-Four
  7. Penny Lane—Take 6
  8. Penny Lane—Vocal Overdubs and Speech
  9. Penny Lane—Stereo / Giles Martin Mix 2017
  10. A Day In The Lif e- Take 1
  11. A Day In The Life—Take 2
  12. A Day In The Life—Orchestra Overdub
  13. A Day In The Life—Hummed Last Chord
  14. A Day In The Life—The Last Chord
  15. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band—Take 1
  16. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band—Take 9
  17. Good Morning Good Morning—Take 1
  18. Good Morning Good Morning—Take 8

CD 3: Sgt. Pepper Sessions

  1. Fixing A Hole—Take 1
  2. Fixing A Hole—Speech And Take 3
  3. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
  4. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!—Take 7
  5. Lively Rita—Speech and Take 9
  6. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds—Take 1 And Speech
  7. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds—Speech
  8. Getting Better—Take 1
  9. Getting Better—Take 12
  10. Within You Without You—Take 1
  11. Within You Without You—George Coaching The Musicians
  12. She's Leaving Home—Take 1
  13. She's Leaving Home—Take 6
  14. With A Little Help From My Friends—Take 1
  15. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) Speech and Take 8

CD 4: Sgt. Pepper in Mono

  1. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  2. With A Little Help From My Friends
  3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  4. Getting Better
  5. Fixing A Hole
  6. She's Leaving Home
  7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!
  8. Within You Without You
  9. When I'm Sixty Four
  10. Lovely Rita
  11. Good Morning Good Morning
  12. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
  13. A Day In The Life

Bonus Tracks

  1. Strawberry Fields Forever
  2. Penny Lane
  3. A Day In The Live—First Mono Mix
  4. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds—Original Mono Mix
  5. She's Leaving Home—First Mono Mix
  6. Penny Lane—Capitol Records Mono Mix

Disc 5 (Blu-ray): Sgt. Pepper in 5.1 surround sound and hi-res stereo

  1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  2. With A Little Help From My Friends
  3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  4. Getting Better
  5. Fixing A Hole
  6. She's Leaving Home
  7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
  8. Within You Without You
  9. When I'm Sixty-Four
  10. Lovely Rita
  11. Good Morning Good Morning
  12. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
  13. A Day In The Life
  14. Strawberry Fields Forever
  15. Penny Lane
  16. The Making Of Sgt. Pepper
  17. A Day In The Life
  18. Strawberry Fields Forever
  19. Penny Lane
  20. Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  21. Audio Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  22. Sgt. Pepper's Audio Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  23. Strawberry Field Forever/ Penny Lane Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  24. Video Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  25. Making of Chapter 1 Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  26. Making of Chapter 2 Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  27. Video Setup Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Disc 6 (DVD): Sgt. Pepper in 5.1 surround sound and hi-res stereo

  1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  2. With A Little Help From My Friends
  3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  4. Getting Better
  5. Fixing A Hole
  6. She's Leaving Home
  7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
  8. Within You Without You
  9. When I'm Sixty-Four
  10. Lovely Rita
  11. Good Morning Good Morning
  12. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
  13. A Day In The Life
  14. Strawberry Fields Forever
  15. Penny Lane
  16. The Making Of Sgt. Pepper
  17. A Day In The Life
  18. Strawberry Fields Forever
  19. Penny Lane
  20. Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  21. Audio Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  22. Sgt. Pepper's Audio Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  23. Strawberry Field Forever/ Penny Lane Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  24. Video Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  25. Making of Chapter 1 Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  26. Making of Chapter 2 Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  27. Video Setup Menu / The Beatles / Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Via Super Deluxe Edition