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Author Topic: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover  (Read 10964 times)

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Bobber

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #40 on: June 27, 2008, 10:18:16 AM »

I thought I remembered that!
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Geoff

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #41 on: June 27, 2008, 06:42:45 PM »

Quote from: 483

Check the bootleg forum:

http://www.dmbeatles.com/forums/v-post/b-bootlegs_related/m-/post-1/


Sorry; bad wording on my part: I meant that I was surprised when it turned up on your blog. But thanks again to both of you for making that available.  :)

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Andy Smith

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #42 on: June 29, 2008, 01:36:48 AM »

Quote from: 1161
it's probably time to fit yourself out with a straitjacket and throw yourself over the fence of the nearest asylum.  ;D


 ;D i guess we're just obssesed!

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Geoff

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #43 on: June 29, 2008, 01:48:14 AM »

Quote from: 614
;D i guess we're just obssesed!

I once had a dream about falling over dead from a heart attack and waking up in the EMI tape vault instead of heaven.  ;D

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aspinall_lover

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #44 on: June 29, 2008, 09:06:02 PM »

^^^^^^^^That is SO BAD Geoff!!!!!  The EMI tape vault is more "heaven" than heaven???
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Geoff

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #45 on: June 29, 2008, 09:09:54 PM »

Quote from: 1255
^^^^^^^^That is SO BAD Geoff!!!!!  The EMI tape vault is more "heaven" than heaven???

Well... I made that up actually; my real dreams usually make even less sense than that.

(bigeyes1)
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aspinall_lover

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #46 on: June 29, 2008, 10:47:54 PM »

Off the subject..............I always dream of my parents yelling and screaming at me and I wake up in a cold sweat....................
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Andy Smith

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #47 on: July 02, 2008, 09:25:26 PM »

Quote from: 1161

I once had a dream about falling over dead from a heart attack and waking up in the EMI tape vault instead of heaven.  ;D


proves my point then  ;D

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aspinall_lover

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #48 on: July 02, 2008, 10:48:36 PM »

FYI..........I think I've beat all of you...........I've already seen a "shrink" years ago about my "obsessive/compulsive" behavour I have...............ummmmmm..........Greg Lake????
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PaulieBear

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #49 on: July 18, 2008, 08:39:18 PM »

I think it's funny!
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TomMo

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #50 on: June 09, 2012, 10:58:04 PM »

Any of you out there own a "Butcher Cover" album of the Beatles' 1966 US release, "Yesterday and Today"????  Either original or the "peeled" version????
The guy at the local used record store has a "peeled" one that is in awesome condition.  I think it's worth a couple grand.  Back in the late 1980's, I went one weekend to Austin, Texas to the huge record show they hold down there twice a year.  I saw an original, "still SEALED" butcher cover and the dealer was wanting 25 THOUSAND dollars for it.  Amazing...............let's hear your thoughts..........

I realize this is an old thread, but I had to comment. The last time I checked (May, 2012) peeled copies were going for between $300 - $1,200. I can imagine an original still in shrink wrap would be worth far more. But then I read that some Capitol Record "suit" flooded the market with originals found in a warehouse somewhere and that brought the asking price down.
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TomMo

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #51 on: June 10, 2012, 12:02:40 AM »

Excuse me if I am reposting a previously threaded topic, but I haven't found it elsewhere.

I once got into a bit of a heated exchange on the alt.beatles board years ago. Can anybody back me up or set me straight on this:

I know the photo session where the Beatles posed for the butcher photos had nothing to do with the "Yesterday and Today" cover. I am familiar with it being a part of "A Somnambulant Adventure" conceptual art piece by photographer Robert Whitaker. No argument there.

But when the time came for "Yesterday and Today" to be prepared for release, someone needed to send Capitol Records a picture for the cover. But who? I do not believe the Beatles were in a power position to select the photo themselves without the approval of others. But I DO believe it was their choice originally. Someone in EMI had to go along with it. But why?

John said the photo was as "relevant as the Vietnam War" and Alan Livingston, then President of Capitol Records, said that Paul told him it was their comment on the war itself.

I find it hard to believe that EMI would want to involve itself in a political protest by the Beatles against an American war, in the year 1966, when the war was still supported by a majority of U.S. citizens.

Even though EMI was the parent company of Capitol Records, Capitol still had autonomy when it came to the U.S. market.

My opinion is that it was mainly a comment by EMI about Capitol's continued "butchering" of Beatle albums in the U.S., regardless of what the Beatles' intention happened to be.

My speculation: Did EMI think that Capitol Records would REALLY use that picture? Is it possible that EMI thought Capitol Records would say, "You've got to be kidding?" and insist on another picture?

In any case, that WAS the last time Capitol butchered a new release by the Fabs. So maybe the point was well taken.

So what's the most recent "official" account of the butcher cover story?

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7 of 13

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #52 on: June 13, 2012, 05:55:06 PM »

there is nothing to say. it does appear to be a strong anti-war statement from the beatles.

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peterbell1

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #53 on: June 13, 2012, 06:06:15 PM »

Yeah, if they wanted to make a comment on "butchering" albums, then why use the dolls babies heads?
They could have used the butcher coats and the meat and that would be that.
It would still have been an odd photo for an album cover, but I don't think it would have caused the same level of fuss.

But I think it's the dolls heads that takes the picture beyond what would be acceptable for a record company to use as a sleeve. I'm always very surprised that the picture even made it out of Whitaker's studio, never mind into an EMI UK magazine advert and also onto a Capitol album sleeve.
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Dcazz

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #54 on: June 14, 2012, 02:49:13 AM »

I had always heard that they considered the albums their "babies" and disliked Capitol chopping them up. If so they probably didn't figure on it being printed but used it to make their point. IMO
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TomMo

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #55 on: June 17, 2012, 04:41:02 PM »

I had always heard that they considered the albums their "babies" and disliked Capitol chopping them up. If so they probably didn't figure on it being printed but used it to make their point. IMO

I agree.

A few other thoughts:

John has been quoted as saying the the cover was as relevant as the Vietnam War. I believe he said it, but when did he say it? Was that his opinion at the time or did he say that in hindsight? Anybody know the source of that quote? John's memory was often suspect. In one interview, he said that "Eight Days A Week" was an attempt to write a song for the new movie, "Help". Was he thinking of "Eight Arms To Hold You", the original title of the film? Paul says that "Eight Days A Week" was inspired by his limo driver.

The Beatles had nothing to do with the photo shoot by Robert Whitaker, other than being photographed. It was his concept and, according to him, had nothing to do with Vietnam. The meat and baby doll parts were his idea, not theirs. The Beatles, especially John, agreed to go along with it because it was a welcomed break from the usual photo shoots they suffered through, plus the conceptual aspect (which appealed to John).

George has been quoted as saying, in retrospect, that he thought the whole thing was "gross".

Ringo Starr: "It was a commentary on how Capitol Records “butchered” our original albums." This quote appears here and there on the Internet. What's the original source? Was it in the "Anthology" transcript (not included in the documentary)?

I don't believe the Beatles had any message in mind when they sat for the photo. Whitaker had his own message/concept. Someone at EMI gave their approval before shipping the image off to Capitol, with or without the Beatles' consent, but even if they had chosen that shot, who at EMI would have approved it? I think it must have been someone in a position of authority who was frustrated with the way Capitol Records had treated the Beatles since 1963. I can't help believe that as conservative as EMI was at that time, it was an "extreme" measure to take, with an ulterior motive that had nothing to do with Vietnam.

We can rule out George Martin, who in 1965, become an independent producer, contracted by the Beatles and no longer employed by EMI. Did he give tacit approval? Quite likely, especially since he was among those who had done battle with Capitol from the beginning.

And again, please note that "Yesterday and Today" was the last "butchered" album Capitol released. Why? Did Capitol finally see the light and decide to stop the butchering practice? Or did they get the "message"?
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peterbell1

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #56 on: June 19, 2012, 10:22:45 AM »

And again, please note that "Yesterday and Today" was the last "butchered" album Capitol released. Why? Did Capitol finally see the light and decide to stop the butchering practice? Or did they get the "message"?

Revolver came out later and the US version was "butchered" (but there was obviously no choice as by then Revolver tracks had already been "stolen" to include on Y&T).

It would have been very difficult for Capitol to "butcher" the album after Revolver - Sgt Pepper - because it was put together as something of a concept piece, and the track listing and running order were crucial to its overall feel.

But remember that Capitol went on to disregard the UK output once again after that by rehashing a few old singles to include on MMT rather than releasing it in the same format as the UK (in this case they actually improved on the UK release, but that's not the point - they still tinkered with the UK version and attempted to get more cash out of fans by re-selling product that had already been released on singles rather than releasing the double-EP set at a slightly lower price).

And let's not forget the Hey Jude compilation, which was another US-only release to fill a gap between Abbey Road and Let It Be.

So the "butchering" did continue after Yesterday and Today.

Actually one area where the US did fall in line with the UK output after mid-1966 was with the singles - after the February 1966 release of Nowhere Man/What Goes On (which didn't appear as a single in the UK), all the US singles matched the UK ones until after the break-up when Capitol put out Long And Winding Road.


But, away from whether or not Capitol actually got the message and stopped the "butchering" or not, you do ask a very good question on who actually made the decision to choose the photo as the cover for the Y&T album? Would Epstein have been involved? I assume he would have been since he was still in a strong enough position to dictate about Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane being put out as a single rather than being held back for the Sgt Pepper LP. Something important like an LP cover design would surely have had to have gone through Epstein first - even if it was for "butchered" product in the US.

Or maybe the decision wasn't even made in the UK - maybe the UK people just sent over all the latest promo photos and someone in the US chose that particular image.

With regard to the actual butcher cover picture, I assume Whitaker himself couldn't give a hoot about Capitol's "butchered" product, so he must have had another reason for setting up that shoot the way he did. In fact, when the shoot was done it wasn't specifically for the US album cover - it was first used in a UK print advert for the Paperback Writer single. So perhaps Whitaker was indeed making a comment on Vietnam, or perhaps it was just an attempt to shock, with no political overtones at all. Has Whitaker ever explained it since then?
« Last Edit: June 19, 2012, 10:34:58 AM by peterbell1 »
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peterbell1

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #57 on: June 19, 2012, 10:43:36 AM »

Here's a cool page with a few alternate shots taken from the same photo shoot ...

http://www.feelnumb.com/2012/03/23/the-beatles-infamous-butcher-cover-photo-session-and-alternate-shots/

Interesting to see the ones without the butcher's white coats, where they are just playing with broken doll parts, and also the butcher ones with no doll parts in them. Perhaps these were two separate ideas and they were combined on a whim, just using the stuff Whitaker had in the studio that day.

And the "A Somnambulant Adventure" name for the whole shoot - is it meant to represent The Beatles in a sleep-walking, dream-like state?
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peterbell1

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #58 on: June 19, 2012, 10:50:02 AM »

Just found this page ... https://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/robert-whitaker-1939-2011/

which includes the following text as part of an obituary of Robert Whitaker ....


"In three short years he covered the band, from 1964 to 1966, he complied a remarkable dossier, shooting the band at home, in recording studio, during private moments and in formal photo-sessions, often involving unusual props. In one session, he had the group holding a car spring, a sun parasol, a broom, and an umbrella to represent spring, summer, autumn and winter. And the Fab Four enjoyed his company and his creative mind, mainly because they were fed up with taking market-friendly publicity pictures.

But the most notorious use of props came in March 1966. Inspired by the German surrealist Hans Bellmer, Whitaker created the infamous butcher cover, which featured the group  with slabs of raw meat and the dismembered body parts of children’s dolls. He called it “Somnambulant Adventure” and conceived it as a triptych in which he would present The Beatles as religious icons, adding halos to the picture and referencing the story of Moses and the Israelites worshipping a golden calf. He wanted it to be a cynical commentary on adulation and stardom:

    All over the world, I’d watched people worshipping them like idols, like gods. I was trying to show that The Beatles were flesh and blood”.

The photos were used in Britain without controversy, but when they were sent to America to be used at Capitol Records, the distributors refused to handle the record. While it was not the case, the fans viewed the cover as a commentary on Capitol Records’ periodic “butchering” and rearranging of The Beatles records. The retailers denounced the cover as “sick”. The band also was divided; Lennon and McCartney defended the cover, while vegetarian Harrison thought the whole idea was gross and stupid. Still concerned by the commercial backlash following John Lennon’s “bigger than Jesus” comment, Capitol Records withdrew the cover and apologized. The rare original covers went on to become one of the most sought-after Beatles memorabilia.

Whitaker’s association with The Beatles ended soon afterwards. He never had the chance to finish his triptych, but he went on to become a key figure in London’s emerging counterculture, to create Cream’s seminal 1967 album Disraeli Gears, and to take a series of famous pictures of Salvador Dali, his lifelong idol."


So Whitaker was trying to show the Beatles as "flesh and blood" by covering them in ... flesh and blood - interesting. Looks like there was no Vietnam comment underneath the shoot - that was presumably added later by Lennon, or at least picked up by him after it was suggested by someone else.
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TomMo

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Re: Yesterday & Today Butcher Cover
« Reply #59 on: June 19, 2012, 09:36:26 PM »

Revolver came out later and the US version was "butchered" (but there was obviously no choice as by then Revolver tracks had already been "stolen" to include on Y&T).


Yes, you are correct. Revolver WAS butchered for the reason you've given. Other Capitol releases (Love Songs, Rock and Roll, Hey Jude, etc.) were compilations, so I didn't count them as part of the usual "butchering". MMT didn't bother me (and probably not the Lads, either) because the U.S. was not a good market for EP's, and there was a demand for the songs from Side B to be released on an album, in stereo, etc.

I agree that Sgt. Pepper would be difficult for Capitol to butcher for "artistic" reasons, but wasn't that the first British album release by the Beatles that did not include more than 12 tracks? For that reason alone, maybe Capitol didn't see the need to butcher it. I seem to remember Capitol claiming that 13-14 tracks on vinyl reduced the sound quality, which I believe is nonsense.

I think Brian Epstein was told on several occasions that he had NO input on the Beatles' recordings, including the packaging. Remember, if it had been up to him, Sgt. Pepper would have been in a plain brown wrapper.

I can see the Beatles providing the photo to EMI for "Yesterday and Today", but someone in EMI must have made an "official" decision, and I don't see EMI sending it to Capitol without some "non-artistic" motive. The crazy thing, to me, is that Capitol actually printed that cover.
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