Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Incredible! Capitol Records Re-Releases Beatles' Yesterday...And Today With Infamous 'Butcher Cover'

With what can only be described as an almost unhealthy obsession, I may get to own my very own copy of The Beatles' album Yesterday...And Today with a reproduction of the infamous "Butcher's Cover."

Capitol Records-evidently still timid after the Capitol Records Vol. 2 box set, the one where they presented the titles Rubber Soul and VI as true mono mixes from the original sources, when in fact they were merely fold-down mixed of the newly mastered stereo versions-has decided to forgo a Vol. 3 box set entirely. Instead, the folks at the record company are releasing the American Beatles albums as a pricey box set (what else is new) and as individual offerings, albeit for a limited time.

While this is another case of Beatles' redundancy and probably not worth a hill-of-beans to the average fan of the Fab Four, for me it means an opportunity to obtain an official (and modestly priced) Butcher Cover of the band's Yesterday...And Today release, a cover that I have dreamed about for decades.

Sure, this is another case of owning another Beatles album after I already have multiple sources of every song on the release-including a 70's reissue of the title with the boring orange label-it is a chance to finally own one of the most bizarre covers ever to grace a major release, including a sticker to represent the regular "trunk cover" that replaced the offending cover.

It's an idea-not to toot my own horn, but "Toot toot!"- that I have suggested to family members, stray cats, and random co-workers for several years now.

Here's the story for all you dipshits that have no idea what I'm talking about: Capitol records released American versions of Beatles albums complete with different artwork and, on occasion, heavily processed mixes that included phony baloney stereo and lots of reverb. For dipshits like me, these are the titles and mixes that I grew up with.

On one particular release, Yesterday...And Today, the Beatles were photographed wearing butcher covers and holding plastic baby doll parts and random pieces of meat. It was "controversial" to some, but for others (like George Harrison) it was a stupid idea.

Anyway, some moron green-lighted this photo as the cover for the latest Beatles record and stores began to ask "What the fuck?"

So Capitol panicked and ordered the stores to return the offending covers, whereby they promptly destroyed or covered the artwork with a very homogeneous shot of the band standing around a fucking trunk.

When the public found out about this, they began seeking out the original artwork-even going so far as to peel back the replacement cover that was merely glued on to the original one.

To put this in a price perspective: an original Butcher Cover is mint condition can run in the tens of thousands. A covered copy can fetch several thousand in decent condition, and the ones that people have peeled (both effectively and poorly) can range from the hundreds to thousands and are the least sought after.

I was only able to come away with a poster of the cover, featuring the words "Incredible!" directly above the shot. This poster stayed in my bedroom growing up for many years, drawing attention from friends who came over. I remember George looking very crazed in the shot and I remember checking out prices for an original cover-in any state I could find-while contemplating just how silly it would be to fork over large chunks of cash for one measly record.

A friend who owned a few record stores in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area had a copy of one (second state, if you give a shit) but was totally nonchalant about it, which prompted me to offer $50 for it.

He declined.

But now I can have my own copy for $15, albeit in the "milking it for all its worth" format of the compact disc.

I'm in!

I'm doing this solely for the cover, because it sounds like the mixes of the remaining American titles (Yesterday...And Today, Revolver-which cuts three Lennon tracks, making this title a pointless relic, Hey Jude, the soundtrack to Hard Day's Night and the documentary The Beatles Story) are all from the 2009 master tapes, not the original ones that Capitol based the records on back in the 60's.

In other words: these titles aren't even the proper mixes from the original masters, but newly created ones that are supposed to "enhance" the listening experience, whatever that means.

Which will have me stopping at the Y&T album as I'm not interested in hearing new "American" mixes, or whatever you want to call this clusterfuck of a moneygrab.

I suppose that it isn't that big of a deal since the controversial Dave Dexter Jr. mixes stopped with the U.S. version of Rubber Soul, making the remaining American titles mostly hatchet jobs of the original mixes.

Whatever. This box set will sell and completists will eat. it. up. Just as they do with any Beatles releases. And they'll also whine about how the original Vee Jay record wasn't included, or any of the other questionable titles that flooded the U.S. market before Capitol secured the rights.

Below is the Captiol Records video for this title as well as the company's press release.

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