When the individual members were asked about the Beatles Butcher Cover album, each band member had a different response. The controversial cover of the 1966 album portrays the band as butchers in white smocks covered in fresh meat and baby body parts. John Lennon and Paul McCartney supposedly protested the Viet Nam war in their willing participation while Ringo Star was rebelling the way the songs had been cut up, mixed and scattered throughout the album. George Harrison reportedly thought the idea was gross and stupid from the beginning.
Previous albums had been customized for the US and recorded differently for the English version. The Beatles wanted to integrate their music under one sound in recording Yesterday And Today. The Butcher Cover photo was originally intended for a different project. Once released however, the controversy began. After more than three quarters of a million albums hit record stores they were recalled. Throwing them in a landfill was too much of a loss or Capitol Records and they therefore recycled the records with new covers. These new covers, called Trunk Covers were sealed over the original Butcher Cover. Once it was discovered that the sealant was removable, the exposed Butcher Covers became almost as popular as the original covers.
Alan Livingston, Capitol Records reigning president during the 60’s kept 25 copies of the controversial album covers and stored them untouched for 20 years. At a Marriott convention in the mid 80’s Peter Livingston, Alan Livingston’s’ son started a buying cycle that has escalated to unexpected proportions. Sales on Ebay continue to rise and surprise. The different states of condition determine the value of the Beatles Butcher Cover. For every ten mono copies, a stereo copy was made. Therefore, the stereo copies bring the most return. Then the rest are as follows:
Beatles Butcher Cover Prices
In original form – stereo and mono copies with slight variations in shrink wrap condition – $85,000 highest sale
In modified form –
- 1st state Beatles Butcher Cover – No peeling of the seal
- 2nd state Beatles Butcher Cover – A portion of the seal peeled
- 3rd state Beatles Butcher Cover – Entire seal peeled off
Modified forms of the Butcher Cover version of Yesterday And Today, range from around $4,000-$15,000. Stereo and Mono copies are not as easy to come by as current owners are holding on to their investments while watching the increase in demand for them on Ebay.
As the two most visible Beatles, John Lennon and Paul McCartney may have had two different views on the demand for the Butcher Cover. If John Lennon were here today his sense of satisfaction would possible be on the insistence of freedom of expression, and the right to protest a war that he did not support. Paul McCartney is possibly satisfied with the popularity of the album itself despite the controversy that surrounds it.
As in George Harrisons’ view, Paul McCartney may have a somewhat different view about the Butcher Cover of Yesterday And Today than when he participated in the photo shoot. Whether he was also protesting the war or rebelling against the layout of the album, we learn things over time that support our position or change it. After all, maturity tends to have that affect on a person.