From the Stacks

From The Stacks: Various, ‘Beatlesongs!’

Hey, is that a Jack Davis album cover?

Unfortunately, no. The artwork for this Rhino Records compilation of Beatles novelty songs was created by William Stout, but the Davis influence is obvious. Hey, Davis was influenced by Frazetta, so that’s no criticism. Bill Stout is an absolutely brilliant illustrator and a legend in his own right. He’s still producing top quality work, by the way.

This sleeve caused its share of controversy when it was released in 1982. John Lennon had been gone less than two years when this album dropped, murdered by a crazed fan named Mark David Chapman. That’s Chapman on our far left, the dude with the glasses and the buttons who is holding up one end of the banner. A totally tasteless move by Rhino, but it garnered them some free publicity.

As for the contents; well, if the ’90s were the internet bubble, the ’60s were the Beatles bubble. They weren’t a band, they were an industry. If you weren’t part of the Beatles machine, you simply created your own Beatles-related machine, and that’s what we have here–a bunch of novelty records cashing in on Beatlemania. The best of the bunch actually dates to the ’70s: The George Harrison endorsed, Monty Python-related “Hold My Hand” by The Rutles:

The Beatles bubble never really popped. If you can afford the licensing agreement, you can slap the Beatles logo on pretty much anything–oven mitts, sanitary napkins, automobile fan belts–and you’re guaranteed sales. The same goes for the record store, where even a non-Beatles Beatles album like this one can fetch twenty bucks in still sealed condition. Cut that value in half for an open copy, and happy hunting.

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