• 1967-05-12
  • The show that premiered the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. There are currently four recordings of the show, two of them are short excerpts lasting a couple of minutes, the third one covers 20 minutes of the programme and the fourth (version 5) includes fuller versions of some tracks. The Radio London website has a full account of how the station managed to get an exclusive first play of the whole album, including this explanation of how Peel came to be involved:
  • "Ed Stewart had a sponsored segment of his regular afternoon programme called 'It’s All Happening' that went out every Friday between 1700 and 1800 as a 'What's on in London' guide for trendy youngsters. It was during this part of his show that Stewpot introduced Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, no doubt to the delight of the sponsors. Naturally, everyone aboard the Galaxy had gathered round to listen. The sounds of Sgt Pepper's had such a profound effect on John Peel that he burst into tears, so Ed took pity on him and allowed Peelie to take over the programme."
  • The tracks include a repeated Radio London jingle, "B.I.G. L", presumably to deter rival pirate radio stations from taping and playing them.
  • Despite the "What's on in London" emphasis of the programme, the events mentioned by Peel (doubtless reading from a pre-prepared script) are mostly small-scale and of local interest - stock car race meetings, Big L DJ nights, even a squash club fete - rather than the important gigs or fashionable clubs which typified the "Swinging London" era..It's an example of how most of Radio London's programming and advertising was aimed at ordinary listeners, rather than the affluent trend-setters of the '60s..
  • A fourth recording is available here - it doesn't include any new music but more ads for stock car racing, ice skating and speedway events, etc., a couple of extra news items and some comments from Peel at the end of the show. He doesn't sound tearful, but remarks that "once again, the Beatles have shown they're about two years ahead of everyone else" and predicts (accurately) that many artists would spend the next seven or eight months trying to catch up with them. He says he'll be back "on London After Midnight between 12 and 2" (the show hadn't yet been named the Perfumed Garden) and will play the whole of the new Beatles album "If they let me get away with it".
  • A fifth version of the show includes an introduction by Keith Skues, an interview with Radio London programme director Alan Keen, who explains how he "blackmailed" Beatles publisher Dick James into supplying him with a copy of the new album, fuller versions of some of the tracks and a few ads and comments which don't appear on other versions..It also has Pete Drummond playing "A Day In The Life", which Peel didn't have time to play - although Drummond has problems in cuiing it up. He says the album will be released on June 1.


(Beginning of show - Peel hands over to Ed Stewart and theme tune, big band version of "A Hard Day's Night") #
  • Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band # @
(edit) # @
  • Beatles: With A Little Help From My Friends # @
(Advert for London Gliding Club read by Mark Roman) #
(edit) @ #
  • Beatles: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds # @
(edit; timecheck; 5.23 followed by ad for deodorant)) @
  • Beatles: She's Leaving Home (Ed Stewart mentions that "Getting Better" and "Fixing A Hole" have also been played - but the tracks are not on any of the available recordings)
  • Beatles: Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! ~
(edit; reprise of big band "Hard Day's Night" theme, played in full on the fifth recording) ~
(News read by Keith Skues - main stories; electricity prices to rise, Stansted Airport to be built; big Conservative gains in local elections; riots in Hong Kong; Poet Laureate John Masefield seriously ill; Queen visits Rutland; weather; missing person message) ~
(Following the news, Peel presents the rest of the It's All Happening show, after a big band-style theme tune - "Ed Stewart's very kindly relinquished the reins..." he says.) ~
(Peel does a stock car racing advert, for a Saturday night race meeting sponsored by Radio London at Wimbledon Stadium) ~
(Peel reads out several adverts for upcoming events over big band background music, including a wheelbarrow and beer race to raise money for charity and a showing of the film Privilege, starring Paul Jones) [1]
(JP: 'Another track from the new Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. This is John Peel because Ed Stewart relinquished the reins to let me bring this for you. That was Paul McCartney singing. Thirteen minutes away from six Radio London time, and I think I'd be sooner doing this than anything else in the entire world right now this specific moment actually') ~
(Peel reads out more adverts and messages; Big L Party Night at Carlton Ballroom, Slough; stock car racing at Foxhall Heath Stadium, Ipswich on Sunday afternoon; stock car racing and wrestling at Arlington Raceway, Eastbourne; Ashtead Squash Club fete) ~

(More ads read by JP; Tag wrestling and stock car racing at Eastbourne, "0rganised by Spedeworth, of course"; greyhound racing, stock car racing and speedway at Wimbledon Stadium; the Queen's Ice Club; explanation of the wheelbarrow and beer race)

  • Beatles: Good Morning Good Morning @
(JP: 'Oh, that's amazing, it's called Good Morning, Good Morning and once again (pause)....they're still there') @
(edit) @
  • Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) @
(edit) @
(JP: "I think all we're doing is going to another track, the second version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, so I think I'll leave that one to Peter Drummond, who will be with you in just about two and a half minutes on Radio London..... (Ad for Nautilus Club with Peel doing a funny voice and Pete Drummond on version 5) You've been listening to the brand new Beatles album heard for the first time, exclusively of course on Radio London called Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and you've also been listening to, what's this programme called, it's got a special name, Where It's All Happening, or something, or, yes It's All Happening, there you go, telling you where to go over this weekend and all the excitement that is going on in and around London or all over that area") @
(Audio ends)
Tracks marked # are available on File 1
Tracks marked ~ are available on File 2
Tracks marked @ are available on File 3


  • 1) 1967 05 12 Fri 1700-1715 R London (266m) - Ed Stewart - World Premiere of Sgt Pepper (clips, 3 mins)
  • 2) 1967 05 12 Fri 1728-1750 R London (266m) - Ed Stewart, John Peel - World Premiere of Sgt Pepper (Keith Skues - News)
  • 3) bigl25.mp3
  • 4) The Beatles-First Broadcast of Sgt Pepper-12th May 1967 on Radio London
  • 5) Radio London - 12 May 1967
  • 1) 0:02:45
  • 2) 0:20:58
  • 3) 0:02:29
  • 4) 0:15:55
  • 5) 0:51:00
  • 1) Thanks to the Azanorak website
  • 2) Thanks to the Azanorak website
  • 3) Audio kindly provided by Hans Knot
  • 4) More details on the Radio London website
  • 5) Thanks to Barry Monks


  1. The film was directed by Peter Watkins, who had previously made the TV film The War Game, banned by the BBC but widely shown in the 1980s and popular with anti-nuclear protest groups. Privilege portrayed a pop star who is exploited by the authorities and becomes figurehead of a messianic, neo-fascist movement aimed at distracting young people's attention from political involvement. It was ridiculed by British critics at the time and soon withdrawn, but the director and admirers of the film see it as prophesying developments in society during the era of Margaret Thatcher, as well as the increasingly corporate control of pop music and culture. One of the film's songs was covered by Patti Smith in 1978.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.