Monday, June 06, 2005

Beatles Butcher Cover

I'll tell you my "classic" Beatles Butcher Cover story. If you are a hard core Beatles fan like I am, you know that one of the most prized possessions to obtain is an original copy of "Yesterday and Today" featuring the original cover shot of The Beatles adorned with hunks of raw meat and baby doll parts. Still in questionable taste today, this was completely over the top in 1966. So, Capitol Records in its infinite wisdom in trying to save a buck, decided to paste over the butcher shot with a tamer pose of The Beatles standing around or sitting in a trunk. Ho-hum.

Anyway, fans soon figured out that if you looked closely at the cover you could discover that the butcher cover could be lurking behind this trunk photo, and Voila! Instant collector's item! I had always wanted one of these, but the price was way out of my range. I lived in San Francisco for a time, and scoured record shops frequently (not for this album necessarily, but for lots of things).

Somewhere along the line, a friend of a co-worker showed me his copy of the butcher cover complete with pasteover trunk cover. He would not part with it, and said that a relative of his used to work for Capitol Records, and that's how it came into his possession.

I was jealous and felt that I would not be so lucky to find a copy in such pristine condition. Little did I know. I went to a record store in SF called Revolver Records a few months later and started thumbing through the Beatles section. Lo and behold, in the stack was a butcher pasteover copy in near mint condition! My heart started beating really fast kind of like how Charlie's did in "Willy Wonka" when he found the golden ticket.

The record was priced at $7.50. Surely, that must be a typo I thought, for the record was selling even back then at close to $1000.00. Stupid me didn't have any money on me, and I didn't want to risk going home and coming back for fear it might sell to someone else. So I was with a female friend at the time and asked her, "Do you have $10 that I can borrow and no questions asked? I'll pay you back as soon as we leave here." She said alright and lent me the 10.

I calmly walked up to the counter thinking that they would not sell it to me because they would figure out that the item was severely undervalued. I tried not to blow my cool and paid the bill and calmly walked out of the store. My friend asked me what this all was about and I told her the whole story as we walked to the bank. She said, "That should really be mine, then." I said, "Uh-uh, you said no questions asked." She said, "Alright."

I still own the album to this day and have never steamed off the trunk cover. I have heard that since so many people have steamed off the trunk cover, that the pasteover version has now become particularly rare. It's valued now at over $2000 I believe. Right now, I would not part with it, but maybe someday I will when I am older.

I am still thrilled to have such a rare find, and at such a bargain!


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