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The Beatles' UK album covers

by Patrick Roefflaer

For the writing of this article I have used information found in the following books: 'Yesterday' by Robert Freeman, The Beatles Anthology book, 'Many Years From Now' by Miles, 'In My Life' by Pete Shotton, 'The complete EMI Recording Sessions' by Mark Lewisohn and 'The Beatles London' by Mark Lewisohn and Peter Schreuder.

Furthermore I found interesting information on countless websites.


THE BEATLES - ALBUM COVERS

Almost as much as their music changed the world, the album cover art of the Beatles rewrote the book of how a sleeve should look like. Almost all of the covers of their original UK albums are imitated and parodied to this day.

Unfortunately most of their sleeves were, like the music on the albums themselves, truncated and modified in their US counterparts. The same is true for most of the cd-reissues. With the exception of Sgt. Pepper’s and the limited edition of the 'White Album', many sleeves are only pale imitations of the originals.

Of course, like for the recordings of the songs, several attempts were tried before finding the right cover for each album. A number of album covers were designed but never used. Here's the story behind the sleeves of the original UK Beatles albums.

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT


A Hard Day's Night - Robert Freeman

For the cover of the third Beatles album, Robert Freeman was asked again. He wanted to suggest the idea of movement, by expressing a flow of a pictures: four rows of four head shots, set up as though they were frames from a movie. The pictures of the four individual Beatles were taken in Freeman’s studio, in London. He asked them to make another facial expression for each new photo.


This UK movie poster had even more images

The photos were also used at the end of the movie.

While there was a blue frame for the British albums, in some countries they used a red frame. For example for the Brazilian and the American album. The US counterpart of A Hard Day's Night had only four large frames instead of sixteen small ones, thus ruining the original idea.


US and Brazilian albums


The german film programme was also designed with a red frame. Notice Wilfred Brambell as one of the heads.

For the last time, the back cover notes are written by Tony Barrow. There are also four head shots of the Beatles, taken from the movie.


A Hard Days Night back cover - Robert Freeman

Click on an album cover to read about it:


                           


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