Origins: When advance promotional copies of the Beatles' Yesterday and Today album were issued to American radio stations and record retailers in June 1966, many recipients were shocked by what they saw: a cover photograph featuring the Beatles, dressed in butcher's smocks, sitting amidst chunks of meat and cigarette-burned doll parts. Capitol Records quickly recalled all copies of the album before they reached the sales racks and pasted a more innocuous picture of the Beatles sitting around a steamer trunk over the original cover. Years later, the claim arose that the "butcher cover" (as it became known among those who peeled off the substituted cover to reveal the grotesque original photograph) had been intended as a protest by the Beatles over Capitol Records' "butchering" of their albums (i.e., releasing them in different configurations and with fewer songs) in the North American market. As it turned out, the disturbing "butcher" photograph not only hadn't been intended for an album cover, it wasn't even the Beatles' idea. The picture was the brainchild of photographer Robert Whitaker; taken as part of a series of photographs, it was used, unfinished and out of context, for the Yesterday and Today cover.
The picture used for the "butcher cover" was taken at the
Additional Information: The two articles linked below provide
|   ||Origins of the butcher cover|
|   ||Notes on Capitol Records' Beatle releases|
|   ||Everything You've Always Wanted To
Know About the Beatles' Butcher Cover
Last updated: 20 May 2007
Castleman, Harry and Walter J. Podrazik. All Together Now. New York: Ballatine Books, 1975. ISBN 0-345-25680-8. Lewisohn, Mark. The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books, 1988. ISBN 0-517-57066-1. Lewisohn, Mark. The Complete Beatles Chronicle. New York: Harmony Books, 1992. ISBN 0-517-58100-0. Norman, Philip. Shout! The Beatles in Their Generation. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981. ISBN 0-671-43253-2. Schaffner, Mark. The Beatles Forever. New York: Harrisburg, PA: Cameron House, 1977. ISBN 0-8117-0225-1. Schultheiss, Tom. A Day in the Life: The Beatles Day-By-Day 1960-1970. Ann Arbor, MI: Pierian Press, 1980. ISBN 0-86750-120-X. Tamarkin, Jeff. "Photographer Bob Whitaker Talks About the 'Butcher Cover'." Goldmine. 15 November 1991. Whitaker, Bob. The Unseen Beatles. San Francisco: Collins Publishers, 1991. ISBN 0-002-15953-8. Melody Maker. "George: More to Life Than Being a Beatle." 25 June 1966 (p. 3).