Beatles Album Art: The Stories Behind 16 Famous LP Covers

In some ways, the Beatles‘ album art could be just as fascinating as the music inside. The stories behind 16 of their famous LP covers include a lengthy creative relationship, one-off moments of inspiration and weird experimentation, a memorable public outcry and a very sad goodbye.

Five of these 16 features images came courtesy of late photographer Robert Freeman, who worked with the Beatles from 1963-66. This fruitful era produced career-defining early cover art for With the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, Beatles for Sale, Help! and Rubber Soul, as well as a number of the band’s EPs and John Lennon‘s books In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works.

The tasteful Freeman was notably absent from the creative process surrounding their most controversial cover from that period – the quickly yanked Yesterday … and Today, which featured the in-famous “butcher cover.” A series of iconic moments followed as the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, their self-titled White Album and then Abbey Road while working with a rotating group of new collaborators including Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton and Iain Macmillan. The first two were a study in contrasts, one busy and the other almost completely empty. The last created a must-do photo op for thousands of London tourists.

Yesterday … and Today actually wasn’t the only Beatles album to receive a complete mock-up before being pulled. Another Beatles project – though, curiously, not their last – featured an image from their final photo shoot together as a group. One has a notable misspelling. Then there were the times when they wanted to gather at a local zoo or atop Mount Everest, only to be thwarted. Find out more as we explore Beatles Album Art: The Stories Behind 16 Famous LP Covers.

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Author: showrunner