Sgt Pepper at 50: With a Little Help from my Friends

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As part of a citywide celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Metal presented two new artworks by Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller. With A Little Help from My Friends formed part of Liverpool Presents Sgt. Pepper at 50, a citywide festival featuring 13 new events reimagining the iconic album.

Presented by Metal, With A Little Help from My Friends was a work inspired by the Beatles’ song about friendship, loneliness and love. By 1967 The Beatles were the most famous people in the world no doubt a totally alienating experience considering their youth, naturally they depended greatly on each other and on a few trusted friends for support.

The relationship between the individual and society is a powerful theme in the work of Jeremy Deller and in his response to this song, he made two public art commissions that examined the nature of friendship and self-sacrifice, not just with those we know but also between strangers. Liverpool Presents Sgt. Pepper at 50 run from Thursday 25 May until Friday 16 June and saw the involvement of international names such as Groupe F, Mark Morris, Judy Chicago, John Cage, author Frank Cottrell-Boyce, DJ Spooky as well some of the very best Indian musicians in the world such as Grammy award winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.

The Artwork consisted of two public interventions. One was a outdoor poster campaign made up of billboard posters and fly posters. The second, a day long intervention offering free repairs for residents across Liverpool.

The billboards consisted of a portrait of Brian Epstein together with the text ‘Brian Epstein Died for You’. The work appeared in every corner of the city including prime sites on Erskine Street and at Liverpool Lime Street station.

Jeremy Deller said:

“The phrase, ‘Brian Epstein Died for You’, though short, carries with it ideas of belief and self sacrifice, two strong aspects of Christianity and indeed most mainstream religions. It could be argued that popular music itself is a belief system, and the phrase ‘Brian Epstein Died for You’, has great meaning to its devotees, as he was such a key figure in its development. ”

On 2nd June, Metal worked with Penny Lane Builders to carry out a special performance devised by Jeremy and delivered by Metal. The performance included contractors from building firm Penny Lane Builders who offered services for free for one day. These services were offered to emergency callouts based mainly in supported housing schemes across Liverpool.



Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller (b. 1966, London; lives London) studied Art History at the Courtauld Institute and at Sussex University. In 2001, Deller staged The Battle of Orgreave, a re-enactment which brought together around 1000 veteran miners and members of historical societies to restage the 1984 clash between miners and police at Orgreave, Yorkshire. Deller represented Britain in the 2013 Venice Biennale. We’re here because we’re here (2016, UK-wide) was a modern memorial commemorating the Battle of the Somme, created with National Theatre’s Rufus Norris and commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary. In 2016, Deller collaborated with Iggy Pop presenting a drawing class with Pop as model and subject. The exhibition presented the resulting drawings along with works from historical collections, chosen by Deller examining shifting representations of masculinity throughout history.


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