Why Paul McCartney Had a Mustache During the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ Era of The Beatles
The Beatles are iconic for many reasons, including the bowl cuts they possessed early in their career. Throughout the band’s tenure, their hairstyles would differ significantly, with John Lennon developing long hair and George Harrison rocking a beard. During the Sgt. Pepper’s era of The Beatles, Paul McCartney had a noticeable mustache that he grew for a specific cosmetic reason.
Paul McCartney was involved in a biking accident in Liverpool
After joining The Beatles, Paul McCartney and the other members often went back to visit their hometown of Liverpool. In an interview with his website, Paulmccartney.com, the former Beatle explained that he was involved in a moped accident while visiting an old friend around the time of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The incident left a gash on McCartney’s upper lip, which required stitches to patch up.
“I had a moped and was with a friend of mine up in Liverpool. It was Tara Browne, who was one of the Guinness family,” McCartney shared. “He and I were going to visit my cousin Betty on these mopeds that we had, little motorised bicycles. And there was a very full moon and I said, “Wow, look at that moon!” Then I suddenly realised I’d lost my balance and I looked back and I smacked the pavement and bust my lip! And we went to my cousin’s house with my hand over my lips saying, “Hey Bett! Don’t be worried”. And she’s thinking, “Oh, isn’t he funny”. And then, “…Ahh!”
Paul McCartney grew a mustache for The Beatles to hide the bump on his lip
McCartney’s cousin grabbed a local doctor to fix up his lip. However, the doctor had one too many drinks, leading to a messy stitching that left the “Live and Let Die” singer with a nasty bump on his lip. To cover up this bump, Macca grew a mustache, which Beatles fans were not accustomed to seeing on him. However, he believed the mustache necessary, so fans weren’t startled by the bump.
“So [the doctor] got his needle, and he could barely thread it, he couldn’t thread it even. So I think Betty sort of said, ‘Here, let me do that.’ So she threaded his needle up for him and I went, ‘Ahh… Here goes nothing! So he put it in – no anesthetic. Bang! ‘Oww!’ You know, and then he put it through and made a stitch up, put it through the other side, ‘Oww! God!’ I was just sort of standing there. It was not wonderful, but I thought, ‘Well, he’s got to do it.’ He pulls it right through, and the thread comes out. ‘Oh, we’ve got to do that again, then. Jeez.’ Was I happy? No!”
“But yeah, so after that I started growing this mustache to hide quite a big, sizeable bump. There’s a bump still there. But it was quite a good gash, and I broke a tooth! Yeah, but anyway, so he had to do it. He finished it off. It wasn’t a brilliant job. So then, as I was recovering, I let this grow as a mustache. I wasn’t really in the public eye for a while, so then the first thing people knew was that I’d grown that mustache. And the other guys liked it, and so we all grew them. It was just like a fun thing. So that’s that!”
The Beatles used alter egos for ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’
Fortunately for Paul McCartney, The Beatles had different identities for Sgt. Pepper’s. Each member played a character and wore colorful army-type outfits, as seen in the renowned album artwork. McCartney came up with the idea and said he wanted to make a “very free record.”
“The whole idea for that record was that we were gonna have alter egos because we thought if we make another record under The Beatles when I walk up to a microphone, it’s Paul walking up to a microphone, or John walks up, it’s John singing the song,” McCartney said in an interview with Barnes & Nobles. “So you know, it’s kind of quite nice if it’s not Paul, if it’s this guy out of another group. We freed ourselves and made a very free record because of that. That was the one that we were pretending to be.”