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There are several theories why the Beatles appeared in this guise on the front cover. According to one, the story goes that by doing this the Beatles found a way of protesting against "Capitol" who minced or shredded (like butchers) the group's British albums. The author of the shocking photograph himself was Robert Whittaker and he called his work "Pop Art".

The second theory runs along the lines that, whilst preparing for the release of the album, "Capitol" decided, to put it mildly, to "originalise" and release 750,000 copies of "Yesterday ... And Today" with a very interesting photograph on the front cover of the album on which "The Beatles" are shown as butchers holding pieces of meat in their hands and body parts taken from children's dolls. (Butcher Cover) and, although it is well documented that the Beatles themselves enjoyed a joke and liked to be original, the cover of the record seemed to backfire. To be more precise, it shocked many who wanted to acquire the album.

And it was not just among music lovers - but also the powers that be - that there was a huge desire to do something urgently. Generally speaking, the cover bearing this photograph was banned, and the album was urgently withdrawn from sale so that the cover could be redesigned in a matter of days. And, as if to prove the point, it can be pointed out that on 15 June 1966 "Yesterday ... And Today" appeared on sale featuring this very photograph with all its shock value, but by as early as on 20 June 1966 it appeared with a new cover design showing the Beatles sitting on, and standing by, a large upturned trunk. (known as the trunk cover )

The album turned out to be a loss-maker for the company since in addition to the work to change the cover, they also had to change all the promotional material about the launch of the album. However, it should be added that even by 8 July 1966, i.e. less than one month later, "Yesterday ... And Today" achieved the status of a "Golden Disc".

By the way, not all the covers sporting the original photograph were destroyed; in many cases a new photograph was simply pasted over the top of the old one. Such records of "Yesterday ... And Today" with covers bearing photographs pasted over the top can today fetch several hundred dollars. Although some collectors of these records are prepared to pay tens of thousands of dollars for records that were sold during those few days - i.e. from 15 June 1966 to 20 June 1966 - i.e. for ones that did not end up being recalled and did not have their covers changed for another design, and neither did they have a new photograph pasted over the top - proded the albums have beautifully preserved covers and show the familiar butchers (the Beatles) and come from the first pressing. Interested ?

I would also like to say a little bit more about the first, rare cover of "Yesterday ... And Today" - the so-called "Butcher Cover". First of all, because more and more people are starting to engage in the collection of vinyl recordings of the Beatles, so much so that it is even possible to talk of a "new wave of Beatlemania", and secondly because the "Butcher Cover" is a veritable jewel for any collector. In fact you could write a complete book just about the story of the cover of the album "Yesterday ... And Today", but I simply wanted you to get an idea of the feeling a collector would have if he /she were to have such a rarity in his or her collection.


Over a period of many years, there have been a small number of unusual discoveries surrounding the collection of recordings by the Fab Four, with probably the most important discovery happening in 1986 when 24 " first state Butcher covers" of the album "Yesterday ... And Today" which had not been reprinted were discovered. Up until this time the existence of just 2 non-reprinted copies of "Yesterday ... And Today" in STEREO and about 6 MONO copies were known about. It all happened during Thanksgiving in Los Angeles, where the Beatlefest convention was under way. On this day Peter Livingston, son of Alan Livingston, former President of Capitol Records in the 1960s (and he was also the man who secured the Beatles for Capitol) went into the room of one of the dealers carrying 4 non-reprinted albums of "Yesterday ... And Today" in his hands: 2 mono and 2 stereo versions. In actual fact, the dealers were not initially able to believe that this discovery was authentic.

After much debate and argument, Peter Livingston contacted his father by telephone, who lived in Beverly Hills. Perry Cox and Gary Johnson were witnesses to the call (from Rockaway Records) as was Doug Leftwich (owner of Rave Up Records). Perry Cox did not doubt the authenticity and this explains why even before Peter Livingston set about making his telephone call he offered him $2,500 for one stereo copy. After the authenticity of the copies had been established, Peter was surrounded by a veritable throng of interested people. To begin with, he was offered 1000 dollars for the mono copies and within a couple of minutes both mono copies had been transferred to the ownership of two lucky people - Gary Smith from Oregon and John Hansman from Washington. By the time the purchase had been completed, other collectors - finally having overcome their scepticism - were also ready to invest handsome sums of money in a copy of "Yesterday ... And Today". However, Peter Livingston, having only now understood the value of his finding, decided not to give his remaining records up. Peter now still had 18 mono copies and 3 stereo ones left.

Just one week later, he offered his find for $2,000 for a mono copy and $10,000 for a stereo one.

Let us now return to 1966 when the original version of the cover of "Yesterday ... And Today" was released. On the photo below you can see a copy of the "Butcher Recall Letter", sent to Ron Tepper (manager of "Capitol Records" in the press and information department) at "Capitol Records" to stop the supply and to recall the "Butcher cover" from the LP and to replace it with the new version of the LP with the "trunk cover".

 

At this time, Alan Livingston, probably through a sixth sense, had fully understood the value of the "opal" cover and took home the whole box of "Butcher Cover" albums - 4 stereo and about 20 mono ones - from those copies which had yet to be packaged with new jackets. From this time onwards, his son, Peter, placed the records away - locked in a cupboard and stored under ideal conditions - never again to be touched, where they would not attract the world's attention. To avoid any further doubts and arguments about their authenticity, Peter obtained a number of notarially certified copies from his father attesting the authenticity of the records. This letter now accompanies each of these records as they are sold. A copy of one of these very letters is shown below.

A few months later, under pressure from collectors, Peter gradually sold his remaining mono copies since by this time the price had gone up to 3000 dollars per copy. At this time one particular collector from Santa Monica (California) traded with Peter the minute he returned home and Peter accidentally let him have a stereo copy for the price of a mono version. This collector did not tell Peter and soon sold the stereo copy - he soon sold it for $15,000 to a Japanese collector.

As time went by, the collection of the recordings of the Beatles gained in popularity and after just a few years the price for a mono copy from the Livingston collection (so-called "Livingston copies") reached 5000$. Stereo copies did not change hands for a long time until the start of the 1990s when one collector from Washington (USA ) managed to get a stereo copy for $20,000 (!) in cash. This was a record price for the disc. This was not only one of the 3 stereo copies from the Livingston collection, this was as good as a 100% copy, as if it had just come off the factory floor.

In 1994, this copy was resold for $25,000 and is now to be found in California at the home of one of the collectors, who is extremely proud of his acquisition and does not want to swap it for anything. Around about this time one of the collectors tried to contact Peter, to enquire about is health (Peter was seriously ill), when he found out from Alan Livingston, that Peter had passed away. The shocked collector nevertheless asked his father of the deceased about the remaining "Butcher covers" and Alan told him that he still had a pair of stereo copies, which he then offered to the collector for $7,500. One of these copies was open (the film had been removed), the second one had not been repackaged and later the collector sold it for $25,000. At the present time, Livingston family retain 2 mono copies of the "Butcher cover" - they are kept by the widows of Alan and Peter.

Over the next few years, some copies which had never belonged to the Livingston family changed owners. At the present time these " Livingston issues" are deemed to be especially valuable, not only thanks to their first class condition but also because they had belonged to the former president of "Capitol". The most recent sale of a mono copy was in 1996. The price of this copy stood at $7,000. To compare the prices let us say that the first non-repackaged "Butcher cover" of the album was sold at auction in 1974 by veteran vinyl record collector Jerry Osborne, among thousands of other albums. Collector Mitch McGeary won the auction at the time, having paid a full $456 (!). Some years later the record was re-sold for $800.

In recent years, information about the sale of the "Livingston copies" has not come to light. A beautifully preserved (99% mint) non-Livingston mono variant was sold in August 1997 for $5,500. A full 3 years later this copy was resold at double the price. At the present time, the market value for the 24 "Livingston copies" is $300,000 (!!!) Just imagine!? This is almost like a detective story.

 
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