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"The sausages are meant to be an umbilical cord," he said in a 2004 profile."And then that image was going to be inset inside a pregnant woman's womb, and then there was going to be an illustration of a breast with a nipple and a big womb, and the four Beatles laying insider her tummy all connected to an umbilical cord." The second image, the famous "butcher" shot, conveyed the idea that the Beatles were in danger of being dismembered – both physically and psychically – by their celebrity., a 1966 collection of assorted recent Beatles tracks cobbled together for the North American market.
Lennon could have drawn and quartered his bandmates and it might have inspired less outrage.The so-called "butcher" cover vaulted an otherwise unremarkable record into rock infamy and spawned what George Harrison once called "the definitive Beatles collectible" worth tens – and sometimes hundreds – of thousands of dollars. When the group arrived at his studio in London's hip Chelsea neighborhood on March 25th, 1966, the well-read Whitaker had a more ambitious concept in mind.Still, the cover remains one of the most misunderstood chapters in the band's chronicle. "I got fed up with taking squeaky-clean pictures of the Beatles, and I thought I'd revolutionize what pop idols are," he told author Jon Savage.Having personally witnessed the biblical level of Beatle adulation, including their record-breaking concert at Shea Stadium, Whitaker was inspired to create a satirical photo series that would address the absurd degree of their fame and remind fans that these rock deities were actually flesh and blood."All over the world I'd watched people worshiping like gods, four Beatles," he explained.
"It would've been two-and-a-quarter-inches square in the center of a 12-inch sleeve," Whitaker told of the photo.