In February 1967, The Beatles were asked to contribute a drawing to the upcoming Monterey International Pop Festival that was being organized by John Phillips from The Mamas and The Papas, promoter Lou Adler and The Beatles’ publicist Derek Taylor. Paul McCartney was on the Board of Governors for the Festival and he insisted that the relatively unknown Jimi Hendrix appear at the show.
In 1967, The Beatles had stopped touring, so they did not want to appear at the festival. Instead, the Art Director for the Festival, Tom Wilkes, asked Derek Taylor if the Beatles could contribute something for the official festival program. The Beatles created an original illustration with felt marker, colored pencil and ink which said “Peace to Monterey” at the top.
The Beatles were busy working on their landmark album, Sgt. Pepper, at the time, so the drawing is “from Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The message on the drawing continues: “Loving You, it happened in Monterey a long time ago.”
In classic Beatles humor, the drawing is signed “Sincerely, John, Paul, George and Harold.”
Art director, Tom Wilkes, was given the illustration to use in the Monterey Pop Festival’s official program which contained photos of the festival performers, artwork and advertising. Today, there are not many copies of the program still in existence. The original program was 80 pages and sold for $3.
Tom Wilkes went on to design album covers for many rock artists including George Harrison and Ringo Starr. He also designed the covers for the Beatles greatest hits (red and blue) albums.
Tom Wilkes passed away in 2009. For more information on Wilkes’ artwork involving The Beatles, visit his website.
The Monterey International Pop Music Festival was held from June 16 to June 18, 1967, and featured career-changing appearances by Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and Janis Joplin. Monterey Pop would inspire many rock festivals to come including Woodstock.
“Peace to Monterey” is one of the few pieces of artwork that all four Beatles created together. At least one other piece of artwork created by all four Beatles is known to exist — a painting from 1966 called “Images of a Woman.”
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