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CLUES ("A fairground worker")

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
This faded, weathered copy of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" caught my eye this afternoon. In an empty record store here in Oklahoma City.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Waking up at 4 a.m. today, I had trouble getting back to sleep. But I think I drifted back into Dust Devil dreamland sometime around 5 a.m., awaking a little after 7 a.m. , so approximately two extra hours of sleep under my belt.

And what a dream it was. I won’t go over all of the details, but one thing I do remember is that I was working in what seemed to be a small newsroom, like one I worked in back in Texas when I was starting out as a reporter.

Oddly, we were all having a conversation about grammatical corrections in a news story we were all working on. We were arguing about the term to use and I loudly stated it was "Joe Ephgrave"!!!

What? Is that a name? What is that term? Well, for Beatles fans, Joe Ephgrave, if he ever actually existed, was "the man who created the world's most famous drum skin," the bass drum head featured on the cover of The Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Now, that's an album that sync-heads are pretty damn well obsessed with, for a myriad of reasons - Jungian, symbolic and esoteric. There's so much going on on that album cover. And it is the drum skin that draws your eye.

The claim that Joe Ephgrave, a mysterious character if there ever was one, a so-called "fairground worker" who never got to meet John, Paul, George & Ringo, that he designed that drum skin? It's crazy, in my humble opinion.

Note this The King is Naked! The True Story of The Beatles blog from more than a decade ago. A poster named “Dylan” writes: “ if you hold a mirror up to the Sgt. Pepper's drum logo, you can see the words IONEIX HE DIE"ONE HE DIE", with an arrow between "HE" and "DIE" that points directly up at Paul.
I ONE = 11 IX = 9 so 11 (November?) 9 (the day?) or 11 (the day?) 9 (September?).
Ok, The design credit for the center bass drum on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper album is given to Joe Ephgrave.
Well, there is NO Joe Ephgrave in the Beatle world!”

And in the actual "Beatle world," Jann Haworth, then the wife of Peter Blake, the man who assembled and photographed the Beatles for the album cover in early 1967, said in Canada's National Post back in May that "She brought in fairground painter Joe Ephgrave, who had painted wardrobes for her and her mother, to create the drum. “I’m pretty sure he was paid pounds 25. That drum has been used and re-used.” For a while the skin hung on McCartney’s wall. In 2008, it sold for pounds 540,000 at Christie’s.

We asked The Beatles to choose the heroes,” Haworth recalls, “but they didn’t choose enough to be the crowd. Peter and I chose over half.” Contrary to reports, Ringo Starr was involved, putting comedian Issy Bonn on the list. John Lennon, meanwhile, offered more contentious choices. “Aleister Crowley and Hitler were on John’s list,” Haworth says. “Hitler was cut out as a full-size standing figure, and there’s photographic evidence of it in the centre-front row for quite a long time. To the shame of everyone there, it wasn’t taken out immediately.

Of course this takes us into the whole "Paul is Dead" theory, that Paul McCartney was killed in autumn 1966 - possibly either September 11th or November 9th. Depending on how you interpret things. 

There is a LOT that is highly strange and bizarre regarding Sgt. Pepper. Note my story about a former NASA astronaut (he flew on the Space Shuttle) William Fisher and his crusade to find out why glowing, swirly vinyl Sgt. Pepper albums exist - like the copy he purchased in 1972 while in college. I've asked a number of people and no one knows why the vinyl glows. This is a NASA astronaut seeking answers, gang!

And so, taking a lunch break today, I hop in the car and turn on the radio - to the Beatles Channel on SiriusXM and Billy Joel is going track-by-track on Sgt. Pepper's talking about each song and playing sloppy segments of the songs. I happened upon it as "Fixing a Hole" was ending. Six months ago I wrote a Dust Devil Dreams post called "Fixing a hole (The Tao of Stuart"), about dead, ex-Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe, the first tragedy in "Beatle world," as Dylan put it.

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About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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