Few albums can rival the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in terms of its status as a milestone in pop music history. When this album was released in 1967, it raised the bar in respect not only of musical ambition and innovative recording techniques but also by virtue of the design of its cover.
Designed by pop artist Peter Blake, this visual icon of the sixties period shows the Fab Four wearing day-glo coloured fancy uniforms amidst a collage of some 70 historic figures and celebrities ranging from Karl Marx and Albert Einstein to Marilyn Monroe, from singer Bob Dylan to boxer Sonny Liston. This world-renowned work of pop art remains one of the most frequently referenced parodied and reinterpreted covers, which is arguably the most convincing proof of its iconic status.
However, the “swinging sixties” are also symbolised by a number of other icons, many of which were created in the UK as well. Among these is a barely three metre long car rolling on minute 10-inch wheels, of which an incredible 5.5 million units came off the assembly line before production was discontinued in 2000. A revolutionary concept at the time of its inception, this car was manufactured by several long defunct British car makers including Austin, Morris, BMC and British Leyland. The Mini stars on the July page of the Standox Calendar for 2013. Designer Lutz Menze and photographer Dirk Krüll created a Sgt. Pepper-styled setting to portray this four-wheeled icon.
Dirk Krüll did not have to travel far to find the right backdrop, a baroque palace set in a manicured park in a southern suburb of his hometown of Düsseldorf. This is where the photographer assembled not only his team but also a large group of enthusiastic volunteers. “A class from a local school were doing a project on Sgt. Pepper in their arts course. This involved the creation of the masks and cardboard figures which can be seen in the photo. We hired a school bus to bring the entire class to the location because we wanted them to be part of the picture of course,” Dirk Krüll explains.
The star attraction, the Mini, was almost a local, too. The car was made available by Holger Boborowski, an employee of the nearby Standox head office in Wuppertal. For the ultimate “sixties” touch on this calendar page, the roof of the superbly maintained 1964 model was given a Union Jack finish to complement its Fiesta Yellow finish.