Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: The Beatles planned the infamous butcher cover as a protest against Capitol Records' "butchering" of their album releases in America.
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
Last updated: 20 May 2007
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