Beatles By Day

Long time ago when we was fab

Photo shoot: The Butcher Cover

On March 25th 1966, The Beatles met with photographer Robert Whitaker in London, for a conceptual photo shoot; Whitaker called it a Somnambulant Adventure. This shoot would turn out to be one of the most controversial of the band's career and cause a backlash when one of the photographs was used for the front cover of The Beatles' Yesterday and Today album.

The concept for the shoot was Whitaker's; who had John, Paul, George and Ringo dress in butcher smocks, donned with baby dolls and raw meat.

"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 worshipping 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." - Robert Whitaker
The original Butcher cover from Yesterday and Today, 1966.

The original Butcher cover from Yesterday and Today, 1966.

Yesterday and Today re-released cover from July 20th, 1966.

Yesterday and Today re-released cover from July 20th, 1966.

Below are 16 photographs taken by Robert Whitaker on that day.

George Harrison and John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

George Harrison and John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

George Harrison at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

George Harrison at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

The Beatles at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

The Beatles at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

Ringo Starr and John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

Ringo Starr and John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

The Beatles at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

The Beatles at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

The Beatles at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

The Beatles at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

The Beatles at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

The Beatles at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

The Beatles at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

The Beatles at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

Ringo Starr and John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

Ringo Starr and John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

George Harrison and John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

George Harrison and John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

George Harrison and John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

George Harrison and John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

John Lennon at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

The Beatles at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

The Beatles at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

Paul McCartney at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966. 

Paul McCartney at the butcher photo shoot, March 25th 1966.