The Beatles, Outtake for the Butcher Cover | Photos by Robert Whitaker, 1966

Paul McCartney and George Harrison in an outtake from the cover session for the 
'Yesterday & Today' album, Vale Studios, Chelsea, London, 1966

Robert Whitaker, George Harrison has a birdcage placed over his head during a studio session 
in Chelsea, London, 1966    

Robert Whitaker, Paul McCartney has a birdcage placed over his head during a studio session
 in Chelsea, London, 1966
Robert Whitaker - The Beatles, Outtake for the Butcher Cover, 1966


On March 25, 1966 Whitaker took a series of promotional photographs of the Beatles. 
Instead of the typical boring shoot, Whitaker had the Beatles doing wacky things with
 props in unconventional poses.

Whitaker had the idea of creating a satirical commentary on The Beatles’ fame, 
inspired by the German surrealist Hans Bellmer’s images of dismembered doll 
and mannequin parts.


Robert Whitaker, George Harrison  in a playful pose about to knock a nail into 
the head of John Lennon during a studio session in Chelsea, London, 1966
Robert Whitaker, George Harrison  in a playful pose about to knock a nail into 
the head of John Lennon during a studio session in Chelsea, London, 1966
 Robert Whitaker - The Beatles, Outtake for the Butcher Cover, 1966
John Lennon and Ringo Starr of The Beatles in an outtake from the cover session for 
the 'Yesterday & Today' album, Vale Studios, Chelsea, London, 1966
Paul McCartney in an outtake from the cover session for the 'Yesterday & Today' album, 1966
The Beatles in an outtake from the cover session for the 'Yesterday & Today' album, 
Vale Studios, Chelsea, London, 25th March 1966

Soon after the photo shoot, the Beatles were informed that Yesterday and Today would
 be the next Beatles album released America by Capitol Records. The Beatles management
were asked to provide some suggestions for the LP cover. Whitaker’s new photos of the
Beatles were chosen. Capitol executives wanted to use one of Whitaker’s steamer trunk
photos for the album’s cover. But John Lennon preferred the butcher shots. Beatles
manager Brian Epstein conveyed Lennon’s preference to Capitol and the artwork.
(...)

The Beatles in an outtake from the cover session for the 'Yesterday & Today' 
album, Vale Studios, Chelsea, London, 1966
John Lennon in an outtake from the cover session for the 'Yesterday & Today' album, 1966
Paul McCartney in an outtake from the cover session for the 'Yesterday & Today' album, 1966
The Beatles in an outtake from the cover session for the 'Yesterday & Today' 
album, Vale Studios, Chelsea, London, 1966

"I did a photograph of the Beatles covered in raw meat, dolls and false teeth. Putting meat, 
dolls and false teeth with The Beatles is essentially part of the same thing, the breakdown 
of what is regarded as normal. The actual conception for what I still call “Somnambulant 
Adventure” was Moses coming down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments. 
He comes across people worshipping a golden calf. All over the world I’d watched people
 worshiping like idols, like gods, four Beatles. To me they were just stock standard normal 
people. But this emotion that fans poured on them made me wonder where Christianity 
was heading."


The Beatles decided to use this photograph for their Yesterday and Today album cover.


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