The Beatles Yesterday And Today " Butcher Album " Capitol Records Lp For SaleThe Beatles Yesterday and Today Capitol Records LP RECORD ST-2553
The "Butcher cover"
In early 1966, photographerRobert Whitakerhad the Beatles in the studio for aconceptual artpiece entitledA Somnambulant Adventure. For the shoot, Whitaker took a series of pictures of the group dressed in butcher smocks and draped with pieces of meat and body parts from plastic baby dolls. The group played along as they were tired of the usual photo shoots—Lennon recalled the band having "boredom and resentment at having to doanotherphoto session andanotherBeatles thing"—and the concept was compatible with their own black humour.Although not originally intended as an album cover, the Beatles submitted photographs from the session for their promotional materials. According to a 2002 interview published inMojo magazine, former Capitol presidentAlan W. Livingstonstated that it wasPaul McCartneywho pushed strongly for the photo's inclusion as the album cover, and that McCartney reportedly described it as "our comment on thewar".A photograph of the band smiling amid the mock carnage was used as promotional advertisements for the British release of thePaperback Writersingle. Also, a similar photograph from this shoot was used for the cover of the 11 June 1966 edition of the British music magazineDisc.
In the United States,Capitol Recordsprinted approximately 750,000 copies ofYesterday and Todaywith the same photograph asPaperback Writer.They were assembled in Capitol's four US plants situated in different cities:Los Angeles, California;Scranton, Pennsylvania;Winchester, Virginia; andJacksonville, Illinois. Numbers designating where the covers originated were printed near the RIAA symbol on the back; for example, stereo copies from the Los Angeles plant are designated "5" and mono Los Angeles copies are marked "6". Mono copies outnumbered stereo copies by about ten to one, making the stereo copies far more rare and valuable to collectors. A small fraction of the original covers were shipped to disc jockeys and reviewers as advance copies. Reaction was immediate, as Capitol received complaints from some dealers. The record was immediately recalled under orders from Capitol parent companyEMIchairman Sir Joseph Lockwoodand all copies were ordered shipped back to the record label, leading to its rarity and popularity among collectors.
At the time, some of the Beatles defended the use of the Butcher photograph.John Lennonsaid that it was "as relevant asVietnam" and McCartney said that their critics were "soft".However, this opinion was not shared by all band members.George Harrison(who became a vegetarian) was quoted as saying that he thought the whole idea "was gross, and I also thought it was stupid. Sometimes we all did stupid things thinking it was cool and hip when it was naïve and dumb; and that was one of them."Capitol Records apologised for the offence.
Capitol initially ordered plant managers to destroy the covers, and the Jacksonville plant delivered most of its copies to a landfill. However, faced with so many jackets already printed, Capitol decided instead to paste a much more conventional cover over the old ones. The new cover, featuring a picture of the band posed around an open steamer trunk, had to be trimmed on the open end by about 3mm (1/8inch) because the new sheet, known as a "slick", was not placed exactly "square" on top of the original cover. Tens of thousands of these so-called "Trunk" covers were sent out. As word of this manoeuvre became known to the public, owners of the altered cover attempted, usually unsuccessfully, to peel off the pasted-over cover, hoping to reveal the original image hidden beneath. Eventually, the soaring value and desirability of unpasted-over Butcher covers spurred the development of intricate and complex techniques for peeling the Trunk cover off in such a way that only faint horizontal glue lines remained on the original cover.
Copies that have never had the white cover pasted onto them, known as "first state" covers, are very rare and command the highest prices. Copies with the pasted-on cover intact above the butcher image are known as "second state" or "pasteovers". Today, pasteover covers that have remained unpeeled are also becoming increasingly rare and valuable. Covers that have had the Trunk cover removed to reveal the underlying butcher image are known as "third state" covers; these are now the most common (and least valuable, although their value varies depending on how well the cover is removed) as people continue to peel second state covers. The most valuable and highly prized first and second state Butcher Covers are those that were never opened and remain still sealed in their original shrink wrap. Since the first documented collector's sale of a mono Butcher cover LP in 1974, which fetched US$457.00, the value of first state mono versions has consistently appreciated, reaching $20,000 in 2006.
In 1987, former president ofCapitol RecordsAlan Livingstonreleased for sale twenty-four "first state" butcher covers from his private collection. When the original cover was scrapped in June 1966, Livingston took a case of already-sealed "Butcher" albums from the warehouse before they were to be pasted over with the new covers, and kept them in a closet at his home. These albums were first offered for sale at a Beatles convention at the Marriott Hotel near Los Angeles International Airport on Thanksgiving weekend 1987 by Livingston's son. These still-sealed pristine items, which included nineteen mono and five stereo versions, are the very rarest "pedigree" specimen "Butcher Covers" in existence. These so-called "Livingston Butchers" today command premium prices among collectors, the five stereo versions being the most rare and valuable of these. In April 2006,Heritage sale Galleriessold one of the sealed mono "Livingston Butchers" at sale in Dallas for about $39,000.
An extremely rare original "first state" stereo copy that was not from the Livingston collection was presented for appraisal at a 2003 Chicago taping of thePBSseriesAntiques Roadshow. It was still in the possession of the original owner, who had bought it atSears & Roebuckon the day of release in 1966, the only day that the original Butcher cover versions were on sale before being recalled by Capitol. Although not in its original shrink-wrap, it had rarely been played and was still in excellent condition, and Roadshow appraiser Gary Sohmers valued it at US$10,000 - $12,000.
Capitol Records of Canada vice president andA&Rhead at the time Paul White kept a mono cover and a stereo cover slick for his collection.
There were no music tape versions of theYesterday ...and Today"Butcher Cover".8-track tapeandreel to reel tapeswere issued approximately one month after the vinyl album was released in 1966 andcassettetapes were not issued by Capitol Records until 1968.
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