Eddie Van Halen, Neil Peart and Others in Annual ‘Sgt Pepper’ Montage
British artist Chris Barker revealed the latest edition of his annual Sgt. Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band album-cover tribute, which pays tribute to public figures who have died during the year.
The 2020 montage included Eddie Van Halen, Neil Peart, Little Richard, Peter Green, Spencer Davis and others. Also present are actors Sean Connery, David Prowse, Max von Sydow, Kirk Douglas and Ian Holm.
Barker also marked the end of Donald Trump’s presidency and the global death toll from the coronavirus epidemic. A total of 108 deaths are commemorated, with almost all the faces wearing PPE masks.
You can see the image and its key in the tweet below.
“Early spring I thought the devastating wildfires in Australia would be the defining moment of the year but, goodness me, 2020 just kept piling it on," Barker told Billboard. “So I had a couple of options of how to show this year was a year like no other. My immediate thought was social distancing - to have the characters all really spread out. But that would have proved really impractical."
Inspired by the Beatles’ iconic 1967 sleeve, which showed the band alongside cutouts and wax figures of celebrities, Barker began the project in 2016 and describes each experience as an “emotional journey.”
This year he was most affected personally by the deaths of Kraftwerk’s Florian Schneider, veteran actress Diana Rigg and Monty Python team member Terry Jones.
“Every line a reminder of a life taken, a family ripped apart,” he reflected. “However detached I may get from the subject matter while I’m in the thick of the Photoshop [work], when I put the list together for the key at the end and look at it, it is a quite sobering moment. ... I know a lot of people who have lost family members this year, and I always try to remember that all the people I am including have left people behind, too. I have to try to be respectful to everyone and to pay tribute to them and the way they lived their lives."
He asked those who felt moved by his work to consider making a donation to the U.K.'s combined National Health Service charity.