Many of the Beatle’s controversial album covers from the 1960’s have become rare, but there are cheap Butcher Covers that are being made available. With the access of the Internet it has become easier to pair up buyers and sellers. The name “Butcher Cover” was due to the LP photo showing the fab four in butcher coats with dismembered baby parts, adorning them with raw meat, and other various bloody body parts. For the 60’s this cover was a little progressive and repulsive. We were barely on the other side of Pat and Debbie Boon, and Elvis still had a squeaky clean image.
Capitol records were releasing Beatles albums at such a fast rate, cutting British EMI Production’s from 14 to 11 songs per album. Filler for the albums included interviews, and instrumental music on the flip side. The cover shot by Robert Whitaker, was one of a collection of 4 photos, and on the photographer’s account was his idea to use as the cover. Shock value was the expectation to increase record sales. According to corporate executives, the cover represented the Beatles feelings about how Capitol Records chopped up their music. Others claimed it was a political protest of the war in Vietnam from John Lennon, Paul McCarthy, George Harrison, and Ringo Star, all claims to this day believes their story true.
Within 5 days, an uproar from DJ’s across the country yelling that the Yesterday and Today album cover was unacceptable and Capitol Records ordered all the Beatles Butcher Cover albums destroyed, then changed their minds to revamp the existing LPs. The revamp included placing a new cover photo pasted onto the old cover and redistributing. Some of the albums were release in mono sound, but many were release in a newer stereo sound, mixing different tracks of sound together, a very new process for the time period.
1st state albums represent an album not pressed, or covered over with the new photo; Stereo recordings are of more value than mono recordings. These albums can bring, as much as $40-50,000, but it is difficult to authenticate since they need to be sealed albums to bring that high of a price. 2nd state Butcher Cover is a pressed album, but unpeeled can bring as high as $500, to 20,000 dollars, sealed it is hard to tell if it is in fact a Butcher Album. 3rd state is a pressed album that has been peeled; depending on the condition of the peeling determines the value.
Most cheap Butcher Covers provide copies of the recall letters. There are many knock off reproductions available, in pristine condition. They have the vinyl inside to simulate the real thing but it probably blank or something else. These dubbed, fantasy copies, run about 30-40 dollars to purchase. Ebay has an ongoing availability of these albums, some people purchase them to put their original albums in and sell off the older collectable covers.
If you purchase these reproductions online, make sure you are buying from a reputable dealer. Anyone with a blog can fabricate positive reviews, so a reputable company with credentials is essential with any online purchase. Cheap Butcher Covers may be a knock off or a good reproduction, you have to decide what you are interested in purchasing.