Famous First Drafts: Rejected First Versions Of 15 Iconic Album Covers

by (@JordanRuntagh)

13. The Beatles (commonly known as The White Album) by the Beatles (1968)


Not to keep picking on the Beatles, but this was almost the cover to their ’68 self-titled album, commonly known as “The White Album.” Although from the looks of it, it probably would have become known as “The Jungle Album.” The band originally planned to celebrate the diverse nature of their thirty-track epic by calling it A Dolls House, and making a cover with little flap-out doors (like an advent calendar) revealing doll house items that relate to each of their songs. But then they learned that the group Family had an album coming out around the same time called Music In A Doll’s House

Rather than flex their Fab muscles and make the lesser band change titles, the Beatles decided to go the self-titled route for the first time.They also took a similarly minimalist approach to the cover, seen as a reaction against the elaborate and colorful design on Sgt. Pepper. At first, they wanted to have a light smudge from an apple on the otherwise pristine white cover (a shout-out to their new record label, Apple Records), but that proved too hard to produce. Thus, we got the famous plain-yet-elegant white cover, featuring an embossed title reading ‘The Beatles.’ The White Album was born. The first editions were also stamped with numbers, showing the order in which they were produced. If you have a lower number, it means that it was an earlier copy (and therefore worth a little more…)


[Photo: Apple Records]

12. Let It Be by the Beatles (1970)


[Photo: Apple Records]

The Beatles’ swan song was 1970’s Let It Be, a collection of tracks taken from weeks of filmed sessions from over a year before. The project was originally titled Get Back, and was designed as a way to “get back” to their simplistic rock ‘n’ roll roots. That was the theory, at least. In keeping with the titular spirit, John Lennon had the idea to re-stage the cover from their debut album, Please Please Me, 6 years (and several lifetimes) later. The photo was shot and mock-ups for the proposed album cover were made, but the Get Back album never materialized. The mountains of unrefined session tapes proved too daunting, and they were temporarily shelved. The Beatles set about making Abbey Road, their final recorded album.


It took over a year for producer Phil Spector to edit (and some would say “ruin”) the hours and hours of Get Back session tapes into the record that became Let It Be, complete with new cover. The unused photo from the Get Back session shoot would instead be used to grace the Beatles 1967-1970 (or “Blue Album”) compilation several years later.

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