Artist Depicts 2016 As The Sgt. Pepper Album Cover


British artist Chris Barker was noodling around on Photoshop on the night of the U.S. presidential election when he stumbled upon the brilliant idea of showing all the celebrities who passed away in 2016 in the form of the Beatles’ iconic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. Where the Beatles put images of their heroes in a crowd surrounding the band, Barker put images of this year’s departed.

Well the thing’s gone viral and for good reason. We seem to have lost more luminaries this year than in any other year, and most of us are still grieving over some of the greats that are gone, not to mention some of the other surprises the year held for us. The idea crystallized for Barker when it became clear that Donald Trump would win the election. As he wrote on his Tumblr page:

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What a year, I was thinking, David Bowie, Brexit and now this. A lot of people speculate that Bowie was actually the glue that was holding the universe together. It’s certainly been a bit different since he tragically passed away. So I thought that since I was going to be up for hours anyway, and Mrs Chris and the kids were fast asleep, I might do a montage that summed up how weird a year it’s been. It wasn’t going to be a montage of dead celebrities in the style of Sgt Peppers at first. In fact the Sgt Pepper element came quite late. 

The picture includes all the celebrities we’ve lost this year, but it’s fun to try and pick out all the musicians. He’s even updated it to include those we’ve lost in the last couple of weeks. Going left to right I see Glenn Frey, Keith Emerson, Leon Russell, Maurice White, Greg Lake, George Martin, Lemmy (who died in December 2015), Leonard Cohen, Prince, Bowie and Sharon Jones, and I’m sure there are a couple more I’m not recognizing.

Since Barker doesn’t own the copyright on the image, did not create it for profit and hasn’t earned anything from his creation, he suggested that anyone who reposts credit him and, if inclined, make a payment to the Jo Cox Memorial Fund. Thanks, Chris, and we all join you in saying good riddance to this pretty awful year.


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