A Guide To Unused Beatles Album Covers

It goes without saying that the covers of The Beatles’ albums are iconic. It seems like an obligatory tourist thing when one is in London to stop by the Abbey Road crossing and recreate the cover of the album of the same name. And whenever someone makes a list of the ‘best album covers’, The Beatles feature pretty prominently in them. And not to mention the millions of artists that have recreated the images for their own albums: among them Gorillaz, Queens of the Stone Age, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and, oh, The Rutles.

But like a lot of iconic things, The Beatles’ album covers went through a few changes before settling on the iconic images we all know and love. You may have seen a picture of The Beatles walking the opposite way across Abbey Road, or maybe the uncropped and unstretched Rubber Soul cover. (Or any of the following shots, too.) After seeing a few of of these different images, I decided to try and find an unused photo for each album. Each of these are either pictures that are a little different to the final image, or a discarded piece of cover art, or a draft for the cover — or maybe even all three! So here goes…

Please Please Me

The original cover:

beatles please please me

The unused images:




The story:

The cover of Please Please Me was shot in around February or March, 1963. ‘Cos George Martin was an “honorary fellow” of the Zoological Society of London, the original plan was to shoot the cover in front of the Insect House at the London Zoo. The Zoo, however, didn’t consent, so the cover was famously taken on the stairwell at EMI headquarters by a guy called Angus McBean. Since it was a session, it’s no surprise that there’s a number of outtakes. The three above are probably just a few!

With The Beatles

The original cover:

with the beatles

The unused images:



images (4)

The story:

In the Summer of 1963, The Beatles were touring England and were staying in Bournemouth. Photographer Robert Freeman was hanging with the band, and they needed an album cover. So The Beatles and Freeman set up a makeshift studio in their hotel. The “shadow” technique was suggested by the band, from when their German friend Astrid Kirchherr would take similar shots of them in their time in Hamburg. When they received the shots, EMI were originally unhappy with the sultry expressions of The Beatles, and wanted something a little cheerier. But The Beatles won, and hence the creation of a very iconic album cover!

A Hard Day’s Night

The original cover:

a hard day's night

The unused images:


ahdn outtakes


The story:

The cover of A Hard Day’s Night was again shot by Robert Freeman. Apparently the idea for the shots was to make it look like a roll of film, and each Beatle does a different facial expression with every frame. Although only 16 were used on the actual album, many photos were taken so there are heaps of outtakes! The above are only a few… Many of the photos were also used over the credits of the same name.

Beatles For Sale

The original cover:

beatles for sale

The unused images:



The story:

The Beatles For Sale cover was shot by Robert Freeman, too! The pictures were shot at the end of 1964 in London’s Hyde Park. Apparently, it was 7 PM (and getting dark!), so the pictures were taken within half an hour. The coloured spots on each image are leaves, which an assistant held in front of the camera. The cover shows The Beatles looking serious, showing how they were quickly becoming disillusioned with their fame…


The original cover:


The unused image:


The story:

And Help! is again Robert Freeman’s work. The cover was inspired by The Beatles’ snow scene in the film of the same name, and Freeman recreated the scene in his London studio. Their poses were supposed to read ‘HELP’ in semaphore spelling, but that didn’t work, so they spell ‘NUJV’ instead. It was kind of hard to find outtakes for Help! — maybe there aren’t any, or maybe they’ve just not been released. But I found a picture of John and Ringo in slightly different poses to the cover, so that’ll do.

Rubber Soul

The original cover:

rubber soul

The unused image:


The story: 

Rubber Soul was just the last Robert Freeman-taken cover. It was shot in the gardens around John’s house. The famous distortion of the photo happened when Freeman was projecting the picture onto cardboard to show The Beatles, and the cardboard wasn’t straight. The Beatles really liked the way it looked, hence the cover… However, an uncropped and unstretched version resurfaced a couple of years ago, and that’s the outtake for here. There’s still debate over whether it’s legitimate, but I like to think it is…


The original cover:


The unused images:



The story:

Revolver was when The Beatles’ covers went very arty! The cover was drawn and collaged by Klaus Voorman, a friend of the band going back to Hamburg days. The second picture was his draft of what he was going to do. (Which he then turned into the iconic cover!) Brian Epstein in particular adored the picture, though The Beatles loved it, too. However, the very first design (the first image) was designed by Robert Freeman. When the image is spun, the faces supposedly merge into one. But it wasn’t to be. Klaus finished the cover long before the album was named, funnily enough.

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The original cover:

Sgt Peppercomp

The alternative covers:





The story:

The inspiration for the cover of Sgt Pepper was inspired by a picture of the jazz band that Paul’s dad was in, believe it or not! Paul and art gallery-owner Robert Fraser devised the idea, and then enlisted the help of acclaimed pop-artist Peter Blake. The Beatles then designed the cover along with Blake, which included choosing the people famously behind The Beatles on the picture. A guy called Michael Cooper shot the photos, and there are plenty of different poses. Picture 2 shows a different drumhead, too. However, the original cover was very different! Picture 1 was designed by Dutch design collective The Fool, who would go on to help The Beatles with the Apple Boutique. Though they did end up designing the inner sleeve, I think their cover wasn’t considered for long…

The Beatles (or The White Album)

The original cover:

the white album


The alternative covers:

images (5)

images (6)

The story:

The other covers considered for The White Album couldn’t be more different to the famously-minimalist design they went with. Paul wanted a cover that was the absolute opposite to Pepper, and he ended up with the first picture; a detailed ink drawing. Another image that was also considered was Picture 2, which was illustrated by a guy called John Byrne. (This would later be used for a Beatles compilation called The Beatles’ Ballads.)

Abbey Road

The original cover:


The alternative covers:





The story:

Definitely The Beatles’ most iconic cover — if not the most iconic of all time — the design for Abbey Road was created by Paul in an untidy sketch. Photographer and friend of John and Yoko’s Iain Macmillam was enlisted to take the cover art, and the session took place on the crossing outside EMI’s Abbey Road Studios on August 8, 1969. But there were plenty of different positions that were tried before settling on the final product. So many outtakes have resurfaced over the years, and the above are just a few. They show The Beatles walking in a different direction, or with George instead of Paul out of step. But Paul still has bare feet. 😉

Let It Be

The original cover:


The alternative covers:



The story:

At the beginning of 1969, The Beatles were working on The Get Back Project. (This would later become Let It Be.) They were working on new songs in Twickenham Film Studios and in the basement of Apple HQ, and George quit the band, briefly. Not to mention The Rooftop Concert. But in between all of this work, The Beatles found time to shoot the cover for the album that would result. They decided to go for a parody of their first album cover, and it — like Please Please Me — was shot on the stairwell at EMI headquarters. You can see the result (+ an outtake) above. But this idea was vetoed along with The Get Back Project, and was forgotten when it was released a year later. As far as I can see, there are no known outtakes of the used cover.

What’s your favourite unused Beatles album cover? Have you seen another image that I haven’t got here? Be sure to send me a postcard, drop me a line…

Happy Summer, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere! And stay warm, fellow Southerners… Good day sunshine ’till next post! 🙂



Happy birthday, Georgie!

Happy birthday, Georgie!

[PLEASE NOTE: I did start writing this post on the 25th, and I meant to publish it then. But I had a Science assignment to finish. Sorry George. But I managed to finish and get the post up today!]

The 25th was a great day for all Beatles fans, for it would have been the 72nd birthday of the great George Harrison! I listened to All Things Must Pass to celebrate, and I might even get around to listening to some of my George vinyl, too! Happy birthday, Georgie!

As most Beatles fans know, there is considerable doubt over whether George’s birthday is on the 24th or 25th of February. George himself supposedly found out in later life – after being told that he was born on the 25th – that his “real” birthday was on the 24th. But his birth certificate says that it is the 25th. (And apparently George’s mother rang a friend almost immediately after George was born.) So I think the jury’s still out on which day he was actually born, but anyway…

I said a lot about George on the 29th of November, but I still have heaps to say about the “Dark Horse” – so here goes!

I cannot emphasise how much I think George is underrated when it comes to songwriting. Though virtually everyone who knows a little about The Beatles knows that George wrote ‘Something’ and ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, a whole chunk of people forget that he wrote so many other great songs, too! It’s such a pity (not to mention totally unfair) that John and Paul and George Martin underestimated — and undermined — George so much, as well. Especially since people such as Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton (who had been working with George during the break between the White Album and Get Back/Let It Be) had nothing but the utmost respect for him. (Though it did make for one of the greatest albums of all time – All Things Must Pass…)

(‘Think For Yourself’) This gem off Rubber Soul was one of the very first Beatles songs I heard, and it made such an imprint on me. I thought it was a Lennon/McCartney song for ages. It was only a number of months later that — spurred to look it up on Wikipedia — that I discovered that George wrote it! George said that he probably wrote it about the government. Still so relevant today…

(‘What Is Life’) This was my favourite George song for ages and ages. It is still one of my favourites (though not my top favourite). It just brings such a giant grin to my face, whenever I hear it, and I can’t help but dance to that rockin’ guitar riff and sing along at the top of my lungs. Oh, and the single of this song was the first solo Beatles vinyl I bought.

(‘Long Long Long’) I know I talk about this song all the time, but it is definitely one of my top four (if not less) songs on the ‘White Album’. And definitely, definitely one of my favourite songs written by George. It is so underrated, and it is so gorgeous — everything about it is perfect from George’s gently weeping strummed acoustic guitar, to his equally gentle and beautiful vocals, to the mad ending.

(‘Wah Wah’) Now — THIS is my all-time favourite George Harrison song! (Though I will admit I haven’t listened to all of his solo albums…) All Things Must Pass is such an amazing album, full stop! I just love the vocals, the brass, the guitars, just everything! George quitting The Beatles for that short period during the Get Back sessions sure made for a very good song…

(‘Don’t Bother Me’) This was the first song that George ever wrote (excluding ‘Cry For A Shadow’), and though he always hated it, I think it’s wonderful! Very danceable — like most of the early Beatles’ music — and very, very fun! It’s also one of the very first Beatles songs to go a bit experimental when it came to instruments…

(‘Isn’t It A Pity’) One of the most beautiful songs ever written. Ever. The lyrics are just so touching and exquisite, George sings it wonderfully and those slide licks are the sweet icing on top of a gorgeous cake. I love both versions, but Version 1 is the one above.

(‘Savoy Truffle’) Plenty of people love to hate this song. But I love it so much! Those groovy keyboards, the saxes, not to even mention that Clapton-esque guitar… This time last year, I used to YouTube The White Album just so I could listen to this song.

(‘Awaiting On You All’) This song makes me smile so much! It’s wonderful! I love how it is used so much in George Harrison: Living In The Material World, ‘cos it sure deserves it!

And George was also a really, really good musician. That crazy bassline in ‘Old Brown Shoe’ is probably my favourite bass line ever. And let me tell you now, it is not Paul is playing it.


And though many of my favourite George lead guitar lines stem from his slide work from his solo career, the solo — and licks — on the album version of ‘Let It Be’ (by far my favourite version, by the way) are amazing! People always say that The Beatles never had a rock god moment in their career. They should listen to this.


And that’s not even mentioning his sitar work! The first in rock music, I might add… I love all his sitar-y songs, but I’ll embed ‘Love You To’ ‘cos it was my favourite for ages…


George always seemed like such a lovely guy, too. There are so many stories of him being really, really nice to fans (he was the Beatle that wrote ‘Apple Scruffs’!), and of course there is that story about George mortgaging Friar Park to fund Monty Python’s Life of Brian! I really love listening to George speak about various things, too. I was lucky enough to get a box-set of the Anthology documentaries for Christmas, and George’s insights are definitely the most interesting. He also had some really interesting (and realistic) things to say, as well. A very interesting — and intriguing — man.

George also had a wonderful sense of humour! What would A Hard Day’s Night be like without the ‘grotty shirts’ scene? (George was the first to use the word ‘grotty’, by the way…) And that clip of George launching into ‘My Sweet Lord’ turn ‘The Lumberjack  Pirate Song’ (and doing other related skits) with Eric Idle on Rutland Weekend Television is just about the funniest thing ever!


But to finish, happy birthday Georgie! Though John may be my favourite Beatle, you are a close second and you are a great inspiration to me. You were a great musician, and a great person. We will never forget you. tangerinetrees99 🙂




John and Paul: The David Bailey Photoshoot


Here's some Beatles street-art I found in Town - in a little alleyway off Rundle Street, next to a Beatnik-ish record shop and the Palace Nova cinema, if you know Adelaide.

Here’s some Beatles street-art I found in Town – in a little alleyway off Rundle Street, next to a Beatnik-ish record shop and the Palace Nova cinema, if you know Adelaide.

(A close-up.) Sadly, some person decided to vandalise poor Paul, John and Ringo - at least they left George alone!

(A close-up.) Sadly, some person decided to vandalise poor Paul, John and Ringo – at least they left George alone!


Hey Jude/Bulldog/everyone reading this,

Today is my last day of school holidays – 😦 – and I’m wearing my Yellow Submarine t-shirt, plus listening to Mind Games for the first time. I know many people aren’t huge fans of John’s 1973 release, but I really like it, so far! Thanks, Johnny. But anyway, I wasn’t too sure what to do today (I have a big list of potential posts written up, which I consult when I don’t know what to do – however, there are TOO MANY ideas!), so – as you can probably guess after reading my bracket-enclosed notes – I consulted my list. And I found this idea! As many people reading this will know, David Bailey is a famous photographer from the 1960s, who’s done people such as Mick Jagger, Jean Shrimpton, Kate Moss, Jude Law, Oasis (those copycats!) and Bill Wyman (yes, they’re all either models or Rolling Stones – except for Jude Law and Oasis – but Google isn’t being very helpful). And being such a famous photographer, it’s only natural that he photographed the best songwriting duo in the history of the world (in my opinion, anyway…)! On the twenty-first of January, 1965, these beautiful shots of John and Paul were taken in Bailey’s London studio. Bailey has famously said that he dislikes The Beatles (apparently The Stones are a-gazillion times better, according to him – I’m obviously on The Beatles’ side, but I like The Stones, too), and has called John a ‘f**ker’ and Paul ‘the nicest guy in the world’ (sarcastically, I assume) in recent interviews, so I didn’t think too much of him at first. But he is a very talented photographer, and has taken some of the best John/Paul pictures ever (and an incredible amount for someone who apparently hates The Beatles), so I’ll ignore his views. So here we are – enjoy!


John and Paul, together

Don't they look gorgeous? John looks very attractive in these photos!

Don’t they look gorgeous? John looks very attractive in these photos!

I love the hands in this one - I'm re-doing my bedroom at the moment, and I'm going to print out a couple of these 'proof-sheets' to put up, somewhere. This is going to be one of them!

I love the hands in this one – I’m re-doing my bedroom at the moment, and I’m going to print out a couple of these ‘proof-sheets’ to put up, somewhere. This is going to be one of them!

Slightest bit of tension here, but that seems to disappear...

Slightest bit of tension here, but that seems to disappear…

I think everyone knows this picture - this is the main focus of my gorgeous JL/PM tee, which I now know is a David Bailey proof-sheet! McLennon believers also seem to think that this photo proves that John and Paul were secret lovers - hmm...

I think everyone knows this picture – this is the main focus of my gorgeous JL/PM tee, which I now know is a David Bailey proof-sheet! McLennon believers also seem to think that this photo proves that John and Paul were secret lovers – hmm…

It's hard to explain what I feel when I see this - it just conveys this unspoken understanding and closeness between the two. Maybe I'm just reading too far into things, but does anyone else feel the same?

It’s hard to explain what I feel when I see this – it just conveys this unspoken understanding and closeness between the two. Maybe I’m just reading too far into things, but does anyone else feel the same?


Just John


Oh my, John - oh my! I officially proclaim John Winston Lennon the most attractive man to have ever lived! :-)

Oh my, John – oh my! I officially proclaim John Winston Lennon the most attractive man to have ever lived! 🙂

Standing up with perfect posture!

Standing up with perfect posture!

Not-perfect-posture this time, but what does that matter?!

Not-perfect-posture this time, but what does that matter?!


Just Paul


Paul looks good in a kaftan! Must have had a change of clothes...

Paul looks good in a kaftan! Must have had a change of clothes…

Paul with a ladder!

Paul with a ladder! Can’t really imagine him being handy, but then, I can’t do that with John, George or Ringo, either!

This is supposedly taken by Bailey, but I've never seen it before (not that necessarily means anything). It does look Bailey-esque, though, so I'll trust the website I sourced it from...

This is supposedly taken by Bailey, but I’ve never seen it before (not that necessarily means anything). It does look Bailey-esque, though, so I’ll trust the website I sourced it from…


Oh, and…


Aww! :-)

Aww! 🙂


So there you have it – David Bailey’s photos of John and Paul in a nutshell (that cliché’s getting old, tangerinetrees99), if you like!

Oh, and if you live in the UK (not sure if I’ve got any UK readers), today’s the day to go rushing out to buy A Hard Day’s Night! And talking of AHDN, GUESS WHAT SHIPPED ON SATURDAY?!?! Sorry – bad grammar – but I think that announcement is worthy of capitals! It shipped a few days early (I thought it would ship today), and the expected arrival date is next Monday. Look out for a ‘Thank You Mr. Postman’ post, but somehow, I expect it might be titled ‘GUESS WHAT CAME IN THE MAIL?!?!?!’ ! I’ll do a review on the BluRay, too, so it won’t be too much fangirling.

Something Beatle-y came in the mail today, too – a Beatles clock that I ordered off Etsy, after seeing it in Melbourne back a couple of weeks ago! I won’t do a ‘TYMP’ post, ‘cos a) I need to assemble the clock hands, and b) it’s not original 1960s memorabilia (as everything else I’ve posted about is), but here’s a picture:


Oh, and on Friday, I’m going to a Beatles tribute called the White Album Concert! Four renowned Aussie musos (Chris Cheney, Phil Jamieson, Tim Rodgers and Josh Pyke) are coming together to tour around Australia singing The Beatles – a.k.a. The White Album – in full (including, erm, ‘Revolution #9’)! I believe that they’ve already done their Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney dates, and that their shows in Canberra and here – Adelaide – are sold out (we got presale tickets back in April!), but if you live in Woollongong (a place in New South Wales, if you’re not familiar with Australia) or Perth, you can still get seats. For those of you that live elsewhere (nationally or internationally), you can read all about the show plus buy their CD from their 2009 tour here (you can also buy the tickets if you – by chance – live in one of the above places). I’ll be sure to write up on it on Saturday!

So have a lovely rest of your day, and good day sunshine! 🙂






It was 50 years ago today…

Today is a very exciting day for all Beatlemaniacs who reside in Adelaide – it was 50 years ago today, when The Beatles came to Adelaide (excuse lame Sgt. Pepper pun)! I’ve been in an unusually good mood all day, but sadly, my poor friends (whom I’ve no doubtedly overloaded with squeals of, “If only I were alive 50 years ago,” and, “John was here, 50 years ago,”, etc., etc.,) are not sharing the love. But anyway (their loss), I thought I’d do a special 50th anniversary post, jam-packed with YouTube clips, photos, fun facts and more; enjoy!

As most people know, Adelaide nearly wasn’t on The Beatles’ Australian agenda. A verbal deal had been struck up between Ken Brodziak (an Australian tour promoter) and Brian Epstein in 1963, some time before ‘Please Please Me’ rocketed to Number One in Britain. The promoter – unsuspecting of The Fab Four’s future fame – had booked the four for concerts in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Adelaide had been left off the list.

A few weeks later, ‘Please Please Me’ ruled the charts in Britain, and John, Paul, George and Ringo performed on Sunday Night At The London Palladium, to hordes of screaming girls; Beatlemania was born! Meanwhile in Australia, Ken Brodziak was unsure whether his deal with Epstein would be fulfilled – to his luck, it was, and The Beatles were scheduled to perform in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in June 1964. But something was missing – The Fab Four would not be coming to Adelaide…

A little later, Bob Francis (a relatively-famous South Australian DJ on 5AD) heard that The Beatles were touring Australia, but skipping Adelaide. He was not happy, and set his mind on bringing The Beatles to the Festival State. He set up a petition, which gathered thousands of signatures, and after much lobbying from him and other Adelaide fans, John, Paul, George and Ringo were set to perform four concerts here, over the 12th and 13th of June. Despite the fact that Ringo was hospitalised with tonsillitis and pharyngitis, thus unable to come to Australia before the others made their way up to Melbourne, Adelaide still managed to make Fab Four history, by giving them the largest reception they would ever receive, of somewhere between 300,000 and 350,000 people (over half the population at the time)! And for that, us Adelaide-ean Beatlemaniacs are very grateful.

YouTube Clips



This is a clip of bits and pieces of footage from ’64, released this year especially for the anniversary by EMI Australia.



This one’s of The Beatles’ Adelaide press conference – I haven’t watched the whole thing (shame on you, so-called ‘hardcore Beatlemaniac’!), but I’ve seen some bits; John has some really funny jokes, in it!



And well, here it is – the strangely-prophetic John Lennon quote from the Adelaide press conference that featured upon the end of When The Beatles Drove Us Wild, that made me cry. As I said last post, what a tragic irony. Rest in peace, John – love you to bits!



And this one’s a little lighter than the last – fragments of John, Paul, George and Jimmie’s Adelaide gig! I can just imagine being in the audience, that day – the atmosphere just seemed so electric, even from a YouTube clip!



The Waving Beatles

Not in Adelaide (Ringo’s in it) but anyway – I love the photo (for no apparent reason), so who cares?!

Oz Beatles Crowd

Here’s photographic proof of why Adelaide is so cool…

the beatles in adelaide three

Performing live…

the beatles in adelaide four

Front page of The News (Adelaide’s former evening newspaper) on B-Day.

the beatles in adelaide five

Too-cool-for-words people greeting an incredibly-cool city…


Fun Facts

Did you know…

  • Australian politician Bob Katter was among a group of Beatle-haters who pelted eggs at The Beatles in Brisbane.
  • Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum was kicked out of The Beatles’ Melbourne concert for being ‘too hysterical’.
  • Jimmie Nicol – Ringo’s replacement – says that ‘being in The Beatles was the worst thing that happened to him’, and now lives as a recluse in London.
  • The Beatles almost cancelled their trip to Australia – after Ringo fell ill (the day before The Beatles embarked on their 1964 world tour) a loyal George refused to play with a replacement, though was eventually convinced (how sweet!).


This time tomorrow, I will be enjoying a Beatles tribute – put on by tribute band The Beatle Boys – recreating their Australian tour; it should be loads of fun, and I will report on Saturday! But for now, I’ll pause the White Album (but ‘Julia’ is so beautiful – and sad, too) and enjoy the special hour of Beatle-y fun that local radio station Cruise 1323 AM will be putting on in half an hour. But anyway, enjoy this special ‘birthday’ (pun on song playing off the White Album currently – see if you can guess what it is!) in Beatles history, and good day sunshine!