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The_Beatles_-_Butcher_Cover

In today’s session three of the tracks recorded for The Beatles’ as-yet-untitled new album — “Dr. Robert,” “I’m Only Sleeping,” and “And Your Bird Can Sing” — were mixed for use on the upcoming U.S. compilation called Yesterday and Today. As I’ve noted before, these are all John songs, and all would subsequently be omitted from the U.S. version of Revolver.

I’d always sort of assumed that this was an intentional Capitol Records plot to make Revolver more Paul-heavy, and thus more commercial. But that may not be the case; it may simply be that these three songs were considered the most ready for inclusion on Y&T.

In any case, cutting songs from Beatles albums to make more money through compilations was Long Plastic Hallway avarice at its worst. There is some small amount of justice in the fact that Yesterday and Today would become a fiasco for Capitol when the whole “Butcher cover” controversy necessitated the recall of something like 750,000 albums. That’s all in the future from our vantage, but I can tell you that:

On 25 March 1966, photographer Robert Whitaker had the Beatles in the studio for a conceptual art piece titled A Somnambulant Adventure. For the shoot, Whitaker took a series of pictures of the group dressed in butcher smocks and draped with pieces of meat and body parts from plastic baby dolls.

So the seeds of the disaster had already been sown at this point; it was just a matter of time before the chickens came home to roost.