Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I was knocked out by the high values, and endless nuances affecting those prices, for the “Introducing the Beatles” album covered in your recent column.

I would very much like to have similar details and values for first state issues of “The Beatles Yesterday and Today,” with the Butcher Cover.
—Jesse Watson, Burlington, Wisc.

DEAR JESSE: Of course you'll be needing this information for both the monaural and stereo issues, right?

On the small chance anyone reading this is unfamiliar with the story, the first edition — also known as first state — of “The Beatles Yesterday and Today” sported what was by 1966 standards a highly controversial photo.

The front cover, described by the Beatles as having “their own brand of pop art satire,” pictures the four boys wearing butcher smocks, while surrounded by chunks of raw meat, bones, and pieces from toy dolls.

Commonly referred to as the Butcher Cover, reviewers, radio stations, and print media who received advance copies, swamped Capitol Records with complaints — to such an extent the company quickly recalled it and replaced the butcher shop image with a very mundane one.

The recall and cover switcheroo took place before record stores received copies, which means the Butcher Cover edition was neither commercially available nor sold in stores.

By modern standards, such an embarrassing imbroglio over a cluttered yet nontoxic photograph is clearly much ado about nothing.

On the bright side, the controversy did give birth to a very valuable collectible.

Monaural first state copies (T-2553) are now in the $5,000 to $7,500 range. Stereo first states are at least twice as rare as monos and twice as valuable: $10,000 to $15,000.

DEAR JERRY: There is something about a teener record I bought in the 1960s that has been nagging me since then.

Unfortunately, this is a flop that fell through the cracks, one no one seems to know a thing about. The title is “Submarine Race,” and the credit reads Danny & Gwen (Liberty 55490).

The issue is how familiar these two sound, especially Gwen, though I can't think of anyone named Gwen who recorded at that time.

I just found a copy on eBay, but the seller left no comments whatsoever. He obviously knows nothing more than I do about Danny & Gwen.

Might one or both of this duo be known under other names?
—Rusty Crutchfield, San Mateo, Calif.

DEAR RUSTY: Danny may not be known to you, though he does have about a dozen hits to his credit.

He is Jerry Naylor, best known in the '60s for “Stop Your Crying” (1961) and in the '70s for “But for Love” (1970) and “Is This All There Is to a Honky Tonk” (1975).

Briefly, Jerry sang with the Crickets in 1961, also for Liberty Records, two years after Buddy Holly's death.

Giving you Gwen's name at birth, Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona, isn't much of a clue, but I think you know this talented singer better as Vikki Carr.

Five years later, Vikki landed in the Top 3 with her signature song, “It Must Be Him.” It and Dean Martin's “That's Amore” are the two featured vocals in the 1987 film “Moonstruck.”

In the years after “Submarine Race,” Jerry and Vikki each made many records, but never again recorded together.

IZ ZAT SO? Though most folks are never likely to see one, a precious few still-sealed copies of the first state stereo “Beatles Yesterday and Today” do exist. Quantity estimates vary, but most put the number preserved in the original shrink-wrap at no more than 10.

Should one of those pop up in a properly-run auction, the hammer would not likely fall until bidding reached the $40,000 to $60,000 range.

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page