The most collectable album cover in rock and roll history is the original Beatles ‘Yesterday and Today’ butcher cover. I actually has one as a teenager. The replacement cover had been pasted over the original ‘butcher’ image, and not knowing any better, I tried to peel the newly pasted cover off – with horrible results – so I ended up giving it to a co-worker who was a huge Beatles fan. (Leon Seifred: I hope you still have it) Some things are better left as is.
More on the cover in a moment.
‘Yesterday and Today’ was the ninth Beatles album released on Capitol, and was never issued outside the United States and Canada, until it finally came out in Japan in the 1970’s. Released on June 20, 1966, it entered the Billboard Album Chart on July 9 where it remained for 31 weeks, 5 of which were spent at #1. Eventually the album would sell over two million copies.
The original ‘butcher’ cover issue was only on sale for one day to the general public which contributed to its rarity. Despite the fact that Capitol had printed up around 750,000 copies of the controversial cover, all copies were pulled from sale on June 21 and replaced with what is known as the ‘trunk cover’ Capitol began the process of calling back all review copies that had been sent out in advance of the official release, and on June 14 sent out a letter from their pres and information services manager Ron Tepper which read as follows:
IN the past few days you my have received an advance promotional copy of ‘The beatles’ new album, “The Beatles Yesterday and Today.” In accordance with the statement from Alan W. Livingston, President, Capitol Records, Inc., the original album cover is being discarded a new jacket is being prepared:
“The original cover, created in England, was intended as ‘pop art’ satire. However, a sampling of public opinion in the United States indicates that the cover design is subject to misinterpretation. For this reason, and to avoid any controversy or undeserved harm to The Beatles’ image or reputation, Capitol has chosen to withdraw the LP and substitute a more generally acceptable design.”
All consumer copies of The Beatles’ album will be packaged with the new cover, which will be available within the next week to 10 days. As soon as they are, we will forward you a copy. In the meantme, we would appreciate your disregarding the promotional album, and if at all possible, returning it, C.O.D., to Capitol Records, 1750 N. Vine Street, Hollywood, Calif. 90028.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Ron Tepper Manager
Press & Information Services
Before the covers were recalled in June 1966, Capitol President Alan Livingston took a case (25) of already sealed ‘Butcher’ cover albums from the warehouse and took them home – where they remained until 1987 when he began selling the nineteen mono and five stereo pristine examples for thousands of dollars each. In 2006 one of his mono albums sold at auction for around $39,000. Nice return on the investment.
As for the music, eight of the 11 songs were written by Lennon-McCartney, one was credited to Lennon-Mccartney-Starkey, one track was written by George Harrison, and one was a cover of a song made popular by Buck Owens. Clocking in at about 27 minutes 30 seconds, the album , again, made up in quality, though The Beatles themselves were becoming increasingly irritated at the way Capitol was sequencing their American albums. That conflict would reach a boiling point within a year, when track listings after the ‘Revolver’ album were the same as those released in Britain.
The 2014 CD/download release of the album contains the 2009 mono/stereo mixes used on the British albums, with the exception of the 1966 mono mixes of ‘I’m Only Sleeping’, ‘Dr. Robert’, and ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’, and the 1966 stereo mixes of ‘We Can Work It Out’ and Day Tripper’.
‘Yesterday and Today’ was the first Beatles album to feature Ringo’s lead vocals on more than a single track.
MONO/STEREO – SONG – LEAD
2:25 2:25 Drive My Car – Paul and John
2:59 2:58 I’m Only Sleeping – John
2:40 2:40 Nowhere Man – John
2:40 2:39 Doctor Robert – John and Paul
2:04 2:04 Yesterday – Paul
2:27 2:27 Act Naturally – Ringo
2:02 2:02 And Your Bird Can Sing – John
2:19 2:18 If I Needed Someone – George Harrison
2:10 2:10 We Can Work It Out – Paul
2:44 2:44 What Goes On – Ringo
2:27 2:46 Day Tripper – Paul
JOHN LENNON ON THE BUTCHER COVER
‘DAY TRIPPER’ OUTTAKES