Album facts: Yesterday and Today

 The original Butcher Cover from Yesterday and Today, 1966.

The original Butcher Cover from Yesterday and Today, 1966.

Yesterday and Today is a US Beatles' album released in 1966. The LP is most famed for its controversial cover, known as the Butcher Cover. On June 15th 1966 a select number of DJs were given a copy of the album; but reaction to The Beatles draped in raw meat and dolls didn't go down well with the US public. The original cover was withdrawn and an apology issued. The album was re-released on June 20th with a less incendiary photo of The Fab Four.

As Capitol Records had already printed 750,000 copies of Yesterday and Today with The Butcher Cover, they simply pasted a new cleaner image of The Beatles over the original covers.

Chart success

The album was released on June 20th 1966 and despite the controversy surrounding the initial cover, it reached number one on the US Billboard, on July 30th 1966; remaining there for 5 weeks. 

Track listing  

Side one

  1. "Drive My Car" – 2:25
  2. "I'm Only Sleeping" – 2:58
  3. "Nowhere Man" – 2:40
  4. "Doctor Robert" – 2:14
  5. "Yesterday" – 2:04
  6. "Act Naturally" (Morrison–Russell) – 2:27

Side two

  1. "And Your Bird Can Sing" – 2:02
  2. "If I Needed Someone" (George Harrison) – 2:19
  3. "We Can Work It Out" – 2:10
  4. "What Goes On" (Lennon–McCartney–Richard Starkey) – 2:44
  5. "Day Tripper" – 2:47

Robert Whitaker Photo Shoot

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

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

Share this post