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Lot #5010
Beatles 'Yesterday and Today' Butcher Cover Photo Shoot Documents

Arranging the infamous 'Butcher Cover' photo shoot

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Estimate: $3000+
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Arranging the infamous 'Butcher Cover' photo shoot

Two internal memos from NEMS Enterprises arranging for the infamous 'Butcher Cover' photo shoot, sent to Brian Epstein by Tony Barrow, each one page, 7.75 x 10, March 7 and 18, 1966. Both have the subject "The Beatles/Photography." The first, in full: "There is a new shortage of colour and black and white material on The Beatles to satisfy numerous demands—particularly for America, Germany and Japan. As soon as the four boys are together again towards the end of March I would like to arrange a Bob Whitaker studio session with Leslie Bryce ‘sitting in’ to take black and white for The Beatles Monthly Book. Does this have your O.K.?" Tony Barrow has initialed the memorandum "TB" in blue ballpoint, and Brian Epstein has written the word "Noted" in pencil.

The follow-up message from eleven days later, in full: "‘I am following up on the attached note to suggest next Thursday afternoon, 24 March, from 3.00p.m. to 5.30p.m. for The Beatles to attend a studio photo session for Bob Whitaker with Leslie Bryce ‘sitting in’ to take black and white for The Beatles Monthly Book. In fact I have in mind to suggest that John or another Beatle should lunch with Brazilian journalist Senhor Lengyl on Thursday prior to the session. Next Thursday afternoon had been agreed as the time for Lord Snowdon to photograph the group for LIFE but that project is now postponed. I would welcome a quick reaction from you on this, please." Barrow has also initialed this memo in blue ballpoint, "TB." Stapled together and in very good to fine condition, with creasing to the lower right side of each sheet.

Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Tracks and a letter from Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, in full: "‘I have been asked to authenticate these original pieces of paper. They are two separate internal office memos from Nems Enterprises (and Beatles) press officer Tony Barrow to Beatles manager Brian Epstein, the first (7 March 1966) requesting Epstein’s approval for a Beatles photo session with Robert/Bob Whitaker towards the end of March, when the group were reconvening after a long interlude. In the second (18 March 1966) Barrow is advancing his previous request, now specifying the afternoon of 24 March, a date that had been marked for a photo session for Life magazine with Lord Snowdon, which had since been shelved. It turned out that the session eventually took place 24 hours later, and that Whitaker had the idea to drape the Beatles in dismembered dolls and bloody meat, leading to the highly collectable ‘Butcher cover’ album cover."

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Marvels of Modern Music
  • Dates: #571 - Ended December 12, 2019