“It was 20 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play … ”

Actually it was more like 52 years ago today, in 1967, when The Beatles released their album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in the US. (It was released a week earlier, May 26, in the UK.)

The landmark album, which many Beatles’ fans consider to be their greatest, put Ringo Starr in the limelight as the fictitious character Billy Shears, and got him singing for the first time, with a little help from his friends, obviously.

Some trivia: The song lyrics originally went, “What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and throw tomatoes at me?”

But Starr refused to sing that, worried that fans would actually pelt him with tomatoes onstage, and told his bandmates there was “not a chance in hell.”

At the Grammys later that year, Sgt. Pepper won Best Album Cover, Best Engineered Recording, Best Contemporary Album, and Album Of The Year, thanks in part to the innovative fills, sonic experimentation, and feel-good drumming of Starr.

Take a trip back to the Summer Of Love with these timeless tracks, including the title song above.

“With A Little Help From My Friends”

Here’s Paul McCartney and Starr performing “Sgt. Pepper” and “With A Little Help From My Friends” at the 2009 Grammy’s Beatles tribute.

“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”

“Lovely Rita”

“A Day In The Life”

Want more Ringo?

Beatles History: Ringo Starr’s 10 Greatest Recorded Moments

Ringo Starr Finally Knighted

14 Reasons Why We Love Ringo!