Saturday, June 4, 2011

Yesterday...And Today

Capitol Records released the last of the "mish-mash" Beatles records of the 1960s for the USA and Canada in 1966. "Yesterday...And Today" has one of the most interesting histories of all Beatles albums released. Even it's release date is unsure: Some literature states that the LP was released June 10 1966. Another publication puts the released date at June 15 1966 but delayed (Spizer). The Canadian version was released either on or about June 24 1966 ( Hemmingsen - also claiming that the US release was June 20 1966). Take your pick.

The reason for the delay of the issue was a problem with the original front cover of the LP. The original cover is known in Beatles' circles as "The Butcher Cover". This front cover featured the band in a large colour photograph dressed in butcher smocks surrounded by raw meat, naked children's doll body part with the heads severed. George Harrison holds up a head while one is placed on Paul McCartney and John Lennon's lap. This photo was taken in March 1966 by Bob Whitaker and meant as a bizarre art concept alongside other photographs taken during that session and displayed together with the title: "A Somnambulent Adventure" (it WAS the 60s, after all, folks !! :)

The photo was delivered to Capitol a couple of months later and it was "textured" in order to appear as artsy by a Capitol employee (George Osaki). Not surprising, the sales people were getting negative feedback from their clients over the cover along with frowns and raised eyebrows by folks in the record industry at this time. Even more bizarre is the fact that Capitol Records in the US manufactured thousands of jackets with this original front cover.

Most record retailers refused to stock the LP with this cover and as a result the original "butcher" cover was recalled. According to Spizer, "Queens Litho was ordered by Capitol to destroy over 100,000 used butcher slicks.". Capitol employees were ordered back to work over that week-end and all records/ inner sleeves were removed from the original jackets. Original butcher jackets were removed from distribution trucks and brought back to the Capitol factories. All of the Jacksonville, IL factory butcher sleeves were destroyed. At some point, someone came up with the idea of simply pasting the new cover over the original cover. The new cover was a photograph of the Beatles sitting on/standing beside/ sitting in a luggage trunk. This pasting was done at the Scranton and Los Angeles plants.

Original "butcher" covers without the pasting and in the original state are very rare and largely never sold to the public (the exception being a limited number of places where the rack jobbers may not have known about the recall). Most copies were bought in stores by the public with the newer "truck" cover pasted over the original "butcher" cover. In Canada, there are a few sales slicks and a very, very limited number of "butcher" cover jackets that were all destroyed with the exception of a few empty jackets kept by then Capitol of Canada president, Paul White. No are not past-over jackets in Canada.

The replacement cover - the "trunk" cover - show The Beatles surrounding a luggage trunk with John sitting on the trunk, Paul sitting cross-legged within the trunk opening, George and Ringo standing behind the trunk. The back ground is white and the photograph is in colour. The tracklisting and Artist's name and LP title are to the right. The mono catalogue number for this release is Capitol T-2553 and the stereo catalogue number for this release is Capitol ST-2553.

The back cover is white with black lettering. The artist and LP title are at the top. The tracklisting is underneath with side one on the left and side two on the right. There are mini black and white LP promo covers shown underneath. US copies include "Meet The Beatles", "Second Album" and "The Early Beatles" while Canadian copies replace these with "Beatlemania! With The Beatles", "Long Tall Sally" and "Twist And Shout". The order of the LP covers are also in different orders on the two back covers. Mono back covers have the technical information on the bottom of the cover while stereo back covers have the information at the top.

The labels for the LP are the classic Capitol black and rainbow perimeter with the white/blue print within the perimeter of the rainbow.

The material for the LP consists of various tracks used as singles and taken from three (yes, 3) different UK LPs. Here's the run-down: Side one starts with "Drive My Car" (from the UK LP "Rubber Soul" track one, side one), "I'm Only Sleeping" (from the UK LP "Revolver" track three, side one), "Nowhere Man (from the UK LP "Rubber Soul", track four, side one), "Dr. Robert" (from the UK LP "Revolver", track four, side two), "Yesterday" (from the UK LP "Help!" track six, side two) and ended side one with "Act Naturally" (also from the UK LP "Help!" track one, side two). Side two opens with "And Your Bird Can Sing" (from the UK LP "Revolver" track two, side two), "If I Needed Someone" (from the UK LP "Rubber Soul" track six, side two), "We Can Work It Out" ( UK Parlophone single R 5389), "What Goes On?" ( from the UK LP "Rubber Soul" track one, side two) and finally "Day Tripper" (other side of UK Parlophone single R 5389).

The three "Revolver" tracks were sent to Capitol from EMI in mono only. This means that original stereo copies of "Yesterday...And Today" have fake stereo/ duophonic where the high end comes out of one speaker and the low end comes out of the other speaker.

Inner sleeves for this lp included the orange Capitol "Sounds Great !" inner sleeve with the mini black and white promo LP covers including "Rubber Soul" and the "Help!" soundtrack. Canadian inner sleeves included the red/white Capitol/Pathe sleeve.

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