FOR NO ONE: A Look At Unused Beatles Album Covers
Over the course of their career the Beatles had a number of album cover ideas, concepts, and even finalized artwork that was eventually rejected in favor of the covers we know today. Here’s a look at a few of them.
Yesterday And Today
After receiving extremely negative feedback for the “Butcher Cover” version of the US album Yesterday And Today, Capitol Records prepared a number of alternate designs to choose from.
The “purple trunk” variation was pulled mid-press and turned into a white cover with much of the background airbrushed out.
The blue variant was ultimately not used. This mockup was created from the plate separations.
The first design for Revolver was by artist Robert Freeman and was designed to display an optical illusion when spinning on a turntable.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Fool was an art collective that designed elements of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, including the cutout sheet and the psychedelic red dyed sleeve. They also prepared an inner gatefold upon which the Beatles were supposed to be airbrushed, but the idea was scrapped in favor of the photo of the boys in their Sgt. Pepper outfits against a yellow background.
According to pre-press plans for “The White Album“, The Beatles was to be anything but white. Paul had requested “…as stark a contrast to Peter Blake’s vivid cover art for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as possible; the complete opposite of it.” Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn confirmed that Apple “commissioned various designers to come up with sleeve ideas.” Paul had wanted to include an elaborate booklet, which became the lyric poster and photos idea. The album was recorded partly under the working title “A Doll’s House” but the title was scrapped when progressive rock band Family released Music in a Doll’s House earlier in the year. Shown here is what is believed to have been intended as a front gatefold cover by artist Paul Whitehead.
An illustration of the Beatles by artist John Byrne (Patrick) is widely reported to have been considered for the cover as well, but this is not true. The illustration did appear on covers for the Netherlands LP De Mooiste Songs as well as the UK release The Beatles Ballads.
Let It Be was originally Get Back – an album of back-to-roots rock recorded live with no overdubs. The originally planned cover art drew on that concept by recreating the cover of their first LP Please Please Me, even including an updated version of the balcony photo.
Beatles Again / Hey Jude
After repackaging the Beatles music for the first half of their recording career, Capitol Records still had a number of songs that had not been issued on a U.S. album. Whereas the original albums issued by Parlophone in Britain had 14 songs each, Capitol refused to issue an LP of 14 songs, instead issuing 12 song albums and completely changing the original releases, as well as putting out new albums (in America only) that didn’t exist, in order to use the “leftover” songs. Beatles Again was to be a record in that same vein, although many of the songs were only released as singles. Several covers were designed, although ultimately none would be used.
A small number of copies of Beatles Again were pressed before the title was changed to Hey Jude, and in some cases the sleeves of the album read “Hey Jude” and the disc itself read “Beatles Again”. Actually, the two names bore different catalog numbers, so Beatles Again is an album that never was…but was. The track lists were the same and the covers were identical. Shown here are two unused cover ideas.
Has there ever been an attempt, recorded on video, to actually spin that unused Revolver cover and indeed see how the faces would merge into one?