The Beatles Yesterday and Today mono version ‘butcher’ cover album jacket, accompanied by photocopies of two recall letters from Capitol Records. This example, known as a ‘third state’ butcher cover, owing to the fact the commercially released ‘trunk’ cover has been expertly removed from the album jacket, revealing the orignal butcher cover underneath. In VG+ condition, with some scattered light spine and edge wear and mild ‘ring wear’ to back cover. The record is VG.
One cannot deny the fact that the infamous album jacket cover, depicting The Beatles in butcher’s smocks draped with raw meat and decapitated, dismembered dolls, has achieved a notoriety not afforded any other record jacket art since the advent of recorded music. Little did The Beatles or photographer Robert Whitaker anticipate the controversy that would result from the planned release of Yesterday & Today in June 1966. Despite turned heads and raised eyebrows among some of the powers that be at the Capitol Records tower in Hollywood, the head of Capitol’s art department loved the photo, viewing it as ‘a departure from the usual four smiling heads.’ Capitol Records president Alan Livingston, however, expressed urgent concern, telling Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein that ‘we can’t put that out. Our dealers won’t take it and our sales managers won’t handle it.’
Advance copies dispatched to disc jockeys, and newspaper and magazine reviewers for their input garnered immediate and overwhelmingly negative responses. With 750,000 copies of the album pressed with ‘butcher’ album jackets, the cover which came to be referred to as the ‘trunk’ cover was affixed to the salvaged jackets that had already been shrink-wrapped for shipping; Capitol Records employees at 25 distribution centers were ordered to unseal and separate the albums from the covers. The unplanned trunk cover photograph session, also undertaken by Bob Whitaker several days prior to the butcher session in March ’66, was viewed by Whitaker during an interview with noted Beatles’ author Bruce Spizer as ‘spot on Surreal as I could get…as daft as I could get before I entered meat, dolls and false teeth.’ The Yesterday & Today albums bearing the butcher cover that were in circulation were recalled by Capitol Records via two letters from Capitol’s Press and Information Manager, Ron Tepper, who explained that the photograph was intended as ‘pop art satire’ which had been misinterpreted. RRAuction COA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.