|What, then, was the point behind the photograph? As Whitaker explains
it, the idea for the photo session came about because they "were all
really fed up at taking what one had hoped would be designer-friendly publicity
pictures". John Lennon, in an interview shortly before his death in 1980,
echoed this sentiment: "It was inspired by our boredom and resentment at
having to do *another* photo session and *another* Beatles thing. We were sick
to death of it." Whitaker had intended the session, of which the butcher
photo was only one part, to be "his personal comment on the mass adulation
of the group and the illusory nature of stardom". As he later said, "I
had toured quite a lot of the world with them by then, and I was continually
amused by the public adulation of four people . . ." To that end, what he
had planned was to form a triptych of pictures, something resembling a
religious icon, to make the point that the Beatles were just as real and human
as everyone else. The butcher photos, along with the other pictures from that
session, can be seen in Whitaker's book "The Unseen Beatles" The
photographs taken, and the reasons behind them, are explained as follows:|
- The first photograph is of the Beatles, facing a woman with her back to the
camera, hanging on to a string of sausages. This picture was supposed to
represent the 'birth' of the Beatles, with the sausages serving as an umbilical
cord. Whitaker explained: "My own thought was how the hell do you show
that they've been born out of a woman the same as anybody else? An umbilical
cord was one way of doing it."
- The photograph that would have been used for the other side of the triptych
is one of George Harrison standing behind a seated John
Lennon, hammer in hand, pounding nails into John's head. Whitaker explained
that this picture was intended to demonstrate that the Beatles were not an
illusion, not something to be worshipped, but people as real and substantial as
"a piece of wood".
- The center of the triptych (and the only pose taken in color) was to to
have been the infamous butcher photo, showing the Beatles surrounded by slabs
of red meat and dismembered dolls. This picture was actually titled "A
Somnambulant Adventure", and its intent was to present a contrast,
something shocking and completely out of line with the Beatles' public image.
As Whitaker revealed, the picture used on the "Yesterday and Today"
cover was a rough, unfinished version: "If you could imagine, the
background of that picture should've all been gold. Around the heads would have
gone silver halos, jeweled." The finished picture would have offered a
striking contrast between the Beatles' "angelic" image and the
reality of the photograph.
- A fourth picture, apparently not planned as part of the triptych (Whitaker
isn't clear about this, mentioning only three pictures in his interview), is
also included in "The Unseen Beatles". It features
John framing Ringo's head with a cardboard box, on
one of the flaps of which is written "2,000,000". Whitaker again: "I
wanted to illustrate that, in a way, there was nothing more amazing about Ringo
than anyone else on this earth. In this life he was just one of two million
members of the human race. The idolization of fans reminded me of the story of
the worship of the golden calf."
|That's all there is to it. The butcher photo was, as Whitaker says, "snatched
away and eventually was pretty well taken out of context". As happened so
many other times where the Beatles were concerned, someone retroactively
invented an explanation for something that was mere coincidence or
happenstance, and to a public largely willing to believe almost anything about
the Beatles, it became an accepted truth. As usual, the reality was far
|Details of Capitol Records Beatles releases, 1964-66:
|1/20/64: "Meet the Beatles!" -- This,
Capitol's first album release in the US|
|was actually the Beatles' second LP ("With The Beatles"), minus
the cover versions of songs originally performed by American artists that
Capitol felt would seem "old hat" to an American audience. Thus, it
contained the nine original Beatles songs from "With The Beatles" ("It
Won't Be Long", "All I've Got To Do", "All My Loving",
"Don't Bother Me", "Little Child", "Hold Me Tight",
"I Wanna Be Your Man", "Not A Second Time"), plus the
Beatles' cover version of Meredith Wilson's song (from "The Music Man")
"'Til There Was You". (Capitol apparently felt it was safe to include
this one cover version because it was *too* old -- or too non-rock-and-roll --
to be considered "old hat".) Capitol also added the single "I
Want To Hold Your Hand" and its UK B-side, "This Boy" (neither
of which was included on the UK LP), along with its American B-side, "I
Saw Her Standing There" (from the Beatles' "Please Please Me"
album, which Capitol had earlier turned down).
|4/10/64: "The Beatles' Second Album"
-- This album was quite a hodgepodge, encompassing:
- Five cover versions of Motown songs that Capitol had feared just three
months earlier would sound "old hat" to Americans: Chuck Berry's "Roll
Over Beethoven", Smokey Robinson's "You Really Got A Hold On Me",
The Donays' "(There's A) Devil In His Heart" (with a suitable gender
change), Barret Strong's "Money", and The Marvelettes' "Please
- An incredible *three* B-sides: Two from singles Capitol originally turned
down -- "Thank You Girl" (B-side of "From Me To You"), and "I'll
Get You" (B-side of "She Loves You"), and one from the Beatle's
then-current single, "You Can't Do That" (B-side of "Can't Buy
|Also included was one A-side, "She Loves You", most likely
because the Swan Records re-release of this 45 had replaced "I Want To Hold
Your Hand" as the #1 single in America. (Capitol never did release any of
the Beatles' first four UK singles in America."She Loves You", as
explained above, was merely an album track. "Please Please Me"and "Love
Me Do" were not issued by Capitol until they repackaged the Beatle's first
album as "The Early Beatles" in 1965. And "From Me To You"
didn't make an appearance on the Capitol label until the "The
Beatles 1962-1966" compilation was released nearly ten years later.)
- Two songs recorded just a month earlier (for possible use in the Beatles'
first film, "A Hard Day's Night"): "Long Tall Sally" and "I
Call Your Name". (Neither ended up being used in the film, and they were
released in the UK on an EP two months later.)
|6/26/64: "A Hard Day's Night" (United
|UA's version of the "A Hard Day's Night" LP was quite a rip-off
indeed. It contained a meager eight songs, seven of which were from the movie
(and not even sequenced in the order they appeared in the film): "A Hard
Day's Night", "Tell Me Why", "I'm Happy Just To Dance With
You", "I Should Have Known Better", "If I Fell", "And
I Love Her", and "Can't Buy Me Love" (which had already been
released as a single three months earlier). Interspersed with these tracks (and
the one non-film song included, "I'll Cry Instead") were four
instrumental versions of various film songs, performed by George Martin and
Orchestra. (Instead of instrumental tracks, the UK version of the LP contained
five more non-film songs.)|
7/20/64: "Something New" -- Another mishmash of songs,
- Four songs from "A Hard Day's Night": "Tell Me Why", "And
I Love Her", "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You", and "If I
|The other three film songs were not included. "Can't Buy Me Love"
was (mercifully) omitted because it had already been issued as a single by
Capitol (and appeared on the UA soundtrack album), and "A Hard Day's Night"
and "I Should Have Known Better" were left off because they comprised
both sides of Capitol's then-current Beatles single.
- Four of the five non-film songs from the UK LP: "I'll Cry Instead",
"Things We Said Today", "Any Time At All", and "When I
- Two UK EP tracks: "Slow Down" and "Matchbox". (Released
as a single in the US a month later.)
- A German-language version of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" ("Komm,
Gib Mir Deine Hand"), recorded for EMI's West German branch, Electrola
Capitol didn't include the other side of this single, the German-language
version of "She Loves You" ("Sie Liebt Dich"), presumably
because Swan Records held the rights to it. (Swan had released it as a single
two months earlier.) As a result, it would not appear on a Capitol
release until the issuance of a rarities album over fifteen years later.
|11/23/64: "The Beatles' Story"|
|No new songs (or any songs at all, for that matter) appeared on this
double album. It consisted entirely of interviews with the Beatles,
interspersed with song snippets and overly-dramatic narrations, and bridged by
syrupy string renditions of Beatles tunes. The four sides of this album (one
for each Beatle), totalled less than fifty minutes' worth of running time, an
amount which could easily have fit on a single LP.|
|12/15/64: "Beatles '65"|
|This was really "Beatles '64", the songs having been recorded in
October of 1964, but Capitol had to ensure that the album would still seem
'new' after the Christmas selling season ended, hence the title. The LP offered
a skimpy eight of the fourteen songs released on the UK "Beatles For Sale"
LP eleven days earlier: "No Reply", "I'm A Loser", "Baby's
In Black", "Rock And Roll Music", "I'll Follow The Sun",
"Mr. Moonlight", "Honey Don't", and "Everybody's
Trying To Be My Baby". Also included were a leftover non-soundtrack song
from the "A Hard Day's Night" LP ("I'll Be Back"), plus
both sides of the Beatles' then-current single ("I Feel Fine" b/w "She's
A Woman"). (One can only conclude that the prospects of a potentially huge
Christmas season induced Capitol to include a current single on an album
|3/22/65: "The Early Beatles"|
|Capitol repackaged the Beatle's first UK LP ("Please Please Me",
an album they originally turned down) to create yet more product. Once again
the US consumer got the short shrift, as "Misery" and "There's A
Place" were omitted from the LP (possibly because of legal wrangling with
Vee Jay, which had now become Tollie Records). "I Saw Her Standing There"
was also left off, but at least it had already been issued on the "Meet
The Beatles!" album.
|6/14/65: "Beatles VI"|
|The Beatles had actually recorded four LPs at this point, but never mind
that. Capitol managed to squeeze six albums out of those four LPs, and that
didn't include United Artists' "A Hard Days Night" soundtrack LP.
This album was the remaining six songs from "Beatles For Sale" ("Eight
Days A Week", "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party", "Kansas
City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey", "Words Of Love", "What You're Doing",
and "Every Little Thing"), three non-soundtrack songs from the
forthcoming UK "Help!" LP ("You Like Me Too Much", "Dizzy
Miss Lizzy", and "Tell Me What You See"), the B-side of the
Beatles' previous single ("Yes It Is", the flip side of "Ticket
To Ride"), and one leftover track ("Bad Boy").
|"Eight Days A Week" and "I Don't Want To Spoil The
Party" had already been used to comprise yet another Capitol single
release four months earlier. The appearance of the three "Help!" LP
songs (and "Bad Boy") marked one of the few instances when Beatles
songs appeared in the US prior to their official UK release. (The "Help!"
LP would not be released in the UK until nearly two months later. "Bad Boy",
a leftover track from this LP, did not appear in the UK until the "A
Collection of Beatles Oldies" LP was released in December of 1966.)
|Another United Artists rip-off, this time containing a pitiful seven
songs. This album included only the songs from the film ("Help!", "The
Night Before", "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away", "I Need
You", "Another Girl", "Ticket To Ride", and "You're
Going To Lose That Girl"), but at least this time they were sequenced in
the proper order. Six instrumental tracks by George Martin and Orchestra, plus
the album's lavish fold-out sleeve, were no doubt intended to compensate for
the seven other new Beatles songs that didn't make the cut.|
|12/6/65: "Rubber Soul"|
|The US "Rubber Soul" album appeared nearly simultaneously with
the UK version, but they still weren't the same. They had ten tracks in common:
"Norwegian Wood", "You Won't See Me", "Think For
Yourself", "The Word", "Michelle", "Girl", "I'm
Looking Through You", "In My Life", "Wait", "Run
For Your Life". Capitol excluded four other tracks that appeared on the UK
version, and replaced them with two non-soundtrack "Help!" songs: "I've
Just Seen A Face" and "It's Only Love".
|This was the one case where Capitol's rearrangement of tracks actually made
some artistic sense (although Capitol undoubtedly had no such intentions in
mind). They removed the four 'electric' songs ("Drive My Car", "Nowhere
Man", "What Goes On", and "If I Needed Someone") from "Rubber
Soul" and replaced them with two folksy, acoustic "Help!" songs
that fit in quite nicely with the rest of the album. ("Wait", in
fact, was a "Help!" outtake, used by the Beatles to help fill out "Rubber
Soul" when they came up a song short.) Inexplicably, the version of "I'm
Looking Through You" used on the US album included a false start not found
on the UK version.|
"Nowhere Man" and "What Goes On" were released as a single
by Capitol two months later.|
|6/15/66 "Yesterday and Today" -- The
- Two songs which had been withheld from the previous year's "Help!"
LP and issued as a single by Capitol nine months earlier: "Yesterday"
and "Act Naturally".
- Both sides of the Beatles' previous single: "We Can Work It Out"
and "Day Tripper".
- Four songs lopped off the US "Rubber Soul" album (two of which
had already been issued as a Capitol single): "Drive My Car", "Nowhere
Man", "What Goes On", and "If I Needed Someone".
|"Revolver" was released in the US
several weeks later, minus the three songs pulled for the "Yesterday and
Today" album. From this point on, all of Capitol's releases (both singles
and albums), would match their UK counterparts.|