BEFORE LADY GAGA, THERE WAS THE BEATLES

MIchael Ochs Archives/Getty Images. Photograph by Robert Whitaker.

Few people got to see this album cover that showed the Beatles in white butcher coats wearing chunks of raw meat and dismembered dolls that was to be officially released on June 15, 1966. The day before its release, Capitol Records killed it due to distributors’ objections. Known in Beatles lore as “the butcher cover”, the album was a compilation record offering songs from previous albums in addition to songs from the then coming “Revolver’ album.

Hundreds of thousands of copies were believed to have been recalled, but 25,000 may have been sold. While this was the only Beatles record to lose money for the record label, it did make it to Number 1 on July 30th and remained there for five weeks.

Robert Whitaker said the idea for the cover was solely his. Unopened copies of the album, originally sold for $2.99 have gone for more than $20,000. The photographer never owned one.

Robert Whitaker passed away on September 20th. RIP