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Lennon Letter Blasts Capitol Records, Defends Beatles' Image

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      Lennon Letter Blasts Capitol Records, Defends Beatles' Image

      By TARA WALLIS-FINESTONE
      Thu, Sep 16, 2010

      http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local-beat/Lennon-Letter-Blasts-Capitol-Records-Defends-Beatles-image-103071204.html

      http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/the-beatles-rock-n-roll-music-171360.JPG

      A newly revealed letter, believed to be written by John Lennon, could provide truth to the rumors that have circulated for decades: Lennon was not happy with Capitol Records, his former record label.

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      Post edited to conform with Copyright Forum Rules

        I'm not surprised that John was angry. That cover looks dreadful.

          I remember these days a little bit and it was no news that any musician disliked the big record companies, the music scene was all about leaving clues in the music about this, ie changing the words in the record session was done alot to get back at the controlling company because it usually didn't get caught in time for the company to "correct it".

          The thing about this article is it doesn't really sound like John to me, unless he was really drunk. I don't think John was so long winded, he was much briefer in public, more succinct. Seems to me John was more the type to return their art work with his own corrections written all over it rather than type out a letter. Can't wait to hear about how they authenicate it.

            Reel Music was crap too, but Lennon wasnt alive when that came out..

              Is the Paul caricature wearing blush?

                well Done John! It is a hideous cover, definitely an embarrassment to their image and no cool person would be caught dead with such a babyish, lame record. If I was young and in a record store in the 70's, and saw this beside Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, and Pink Flloyd this is the last record I'd buy.

                The Beatles album covers are all pieces of art. They always put a lot of attention to how they would look and make sure it's trendy cool and fucking awesome.

                This is a piece of shit! Well done John!

                A lot of their marketing sucked. It's pretty good nowadays though. I wouldn't mind being the head of Apple marketing...

                  exactly, to me that cover makes them seem like a relic from years past or something.. like little teeny-bop figurines.. so stupid. Should have been something way cooler.

                  John's Rock n Roll cover is more along the lines of what that should have been IMO. And you can tell its probably more what he was envisioning back then, as he mentions Hamburg in his ideas.. funny how he calls Capitol their 'funeral parlour'. just laying the Beatles in their final resting place.

                  Its funny because John (and all of the beatles) pretty much wanted to distance themselves from the cheese fest of 1963-1965 I'd say.., when they were marketing to 13 yr old girls and dressing the part. I bet they'd rather have promoted even the period before that, when they were rocking in Hamburg and such. really where it began anyway.

                  but now thinking about it, I wonder did the Star Club record come out around the same time? cause then perhaps I could understand Capitol not wanting to retread that territory. and then could concievably use a pic from the 63-65 period of shows., but still, get a better pic for godsakes! who was voting for the odd looking fingurines !? slap them.

                    Pretty sucky cover alright, I mean to use that awful drawing when Capitol had all The Beatles' pics in the world they could've used. They obviously didn't give a damn about The Beatles. Gives an insight into John too, that for all the bad blood since the break-up he really cared about the group and its image. Maybe the letter did some good too, the next compilation Love Songs is a totally gorgeous package!

                      Speaking as a 13 year old Wings fan in 1976, I did not know or own alot of the Beatles LP back catalog. This package was designed to get us kids to hand over our milk money, and I certainly did. It was a desirable package to us kids, crammed with great tracks (and the "current" hit Got To Get You Into My Life) and if Capitol's goal was to hook the youngsters of '76 into the world of Beatles, then mission accomplished. Yes, our older peers looked down their noses at us but we just enjoyed the excitement of the music (this LP does have an excellent sound). I'm not so sure my 13 year old eyes would have been drawn to a black and white shot of the leather-clad Beatles in Hamburg. They did look really cool holding their guitars on the front cover of this record. (Didn't care for the big fingers holding the picture though). Yes, Capitol could have put a little more thought behind the art to make it classier (like Love Songs) but I don't belive it did the Beatles' image any damage (any more than say a Beatle posing naked with his mistress on a cover).

                        That?s interesting DonnieT, interesting that Capitol may have been hitting that youngster market with the packaging. But the older fans were probably somewhat disappointed. Just seems so nostalgic.. It does look like a Monkee?s reject!

                        Is it true what I?m reading on Wikipedia, that in the US we have a version of Rock N Roll Music produced by George Martin, but in the UK their original 1976 release is the original studio mixes done by Capitol? Then it says it was re-issued in the UK in 1980, containing Martin?s mixes. Crazy? I?d like to hear and compare those versions. I got that US vinyl need to find the UK...

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_'n'_Roll_Music_(album)

                          I purchased the 8 track tape also!

                            DonnieT:Speaking as a 13 year old Wings fan in 1976, I did not know or own alot of the Beatles LP back catalog. This package was designed to get us kids to hand over our milk money, and I certainly did. It was a desirable package to us kids, crammed with great tracks (and the "current" hit Got To Get You Into My Life) and if Capitol's goal was to hook the youngsters of '76 into the world of Beatles, then mission accomplished. Yes, our older peers looked down their noses at us but we just enjoyed the excitement of the music (this LP does have an excellent sound). I'm not so sure my 13 year old eyes would have been drawn to a black and white shot of the leather-clad Beatles in Hamburg. They did look really cool holding their guitars on the front cover of this record. (Didn't care for the big fingers holding the picture though). Yes, Capitol could have put a little more thought behind the art to make it classier (like Love Songs) but I don't belive it did the Beatles' image any damage (any more than say a Beatle posing naked with his mistress on a cover).

                            This is a great post Donnie and so true! I was 15 in '76 and pretty much felt like you did. My first Beatles album was the Red Album followed by the Blue Album a bit later. That held me for a while until I started buying the rest. I never did by Rock 'n' Roll as I started to collect records on the Apple label when I could, but it wasn't as bad a cover as John alluded to. Love the last sentence of your post!

                              Capitol seemed to think the Beatles were somehow related to the TV show "Happy Days" which was popular then....to that period of time, or wanted people to buy the record 'cause they watched that show....the coke bottles, cars with fins, etc., on the "art work". Capitol proved they knew nothing about the Beatles. Nothing. ops:

                                I don't think they were trying to put the Beatles in genre. When you hear the term "rock 'n' roll" that 50s image comes to mind as that was really the rock 'n' roll era. The album does look at bit "bubble gum" but the selection of music was good and I like the added echo which does make it sound more like the way songs were produced in the 50s with the added reverb. The album was responsible for putting a Beatles song on the charts again which was very cool at the time--the song of course was Paul's wonderful "Got To Get You Into My Life." Amazing that it was never a hit before then, but I understand it was because of the way singles were released in the US and UK. When I head that song it still takes me right back to the mid 70s!

                                  Perhaps the most bizarre compilation from any major artist. "Boys" on the same album as "Helter Skelter"?!? LOL.

                                    Erik in NJ:

                                    DonnieT:Speaking as a 13 year old Wings fan in 1976, I did not know or own alot of the Beatles LP back catalog. This package was designed to get us kids to hand over our milk money, and I certainly did. It was a desirable package to us kids, crammed with great tracks (and the "current" hit Got To Get You Into My Life) and if Capitol's goal was to hook the youngsters of '76 into the world of Beatles, then mission accomplished. Yes, our older peers looked down their noses at us but we just enjoyed the excitement of the music (this LP does have an excellent sound). I'm not so sure my 13 year old eyes would have been drawn to a black and white shot of the leather-clad Beatles in Hamburg. They did look really cool holding their guitars on the front cover of this record. (Didn't care for the big fingers holding the picture though). Yes, Capitol could have put a little more thought behind the art to make it classier (like Love Songs) but I don't belive it did the Beatles' image any damage (any more than say a Beatle posing naked with his mistress on a cover).

                                    This is a great post Donnie and so true! I was 15 in '76 and pretty much felt like you did. My first Beatles album was the Red Album followed by the Blue Album a bit later. That held me for a while until I started buying the rest. I never did by Rock 'n' Roll as I started to collect records on the Apple label when I could, but it wasn't as bad a cover as John alluded to. Love the last sentence of your post!

                                    I'm just a tad younger, but I got the Blue before the Red. The Blue just... blew me away! ... Got the Red and... game over!... But at that time, I also was reading Nicholas Schaffner's Beatles Forever (which I think is a great intro to the Beatles).... and I seem to recall... and I might be wrong.... but I do re-read it every now and then....that in that book he recalls that John and Ringo were appalled at this cover. I think it might've been Ringo who said it made it look like they were around the days of Marilyn Monroe and everyone eating cheeseburgers, or to that effect.... (well, it was made to look like they were in American Graffiti, quintessential to the 50's, as someone else alluded)... I think Ringo also said that John offered to do a cover himself for the album, but it was knocked back by the record company. Geez!

                                      toris:

                                      Erik in NJ:
                                      DonnieT:Speaking as a 13 year old Wings fan in 1976, I did not know or own alot of the Beatles LP back catalog. This package was designed to get us kids to hand over our milk money, and I certainly did. It was a desirable package to us kids, crammed with great tracks (and the "current" hit Got To Get You Into My Life) and if Capitol's goal was to hook the youngsters of '76 into the world of Beatles, then mission accomplished. Yes, our older peers looked down their noses at us but we just enjoyed the excitement of the music (this LP does have an excellent sound). I'm not so sure my 13 year old eyes would have been drawn to a black and white shot of the leather-clad Beatles in Hamburg. They did look really cool holding their guitars on the front cover of this record. (Didn't care for the big fingers holding the picture though). Yes, Capitol could have put a little more thought behind the art to make it classier (like Love Songs) but I don't belive it did the Beatles' image any damage (any more than say a Beatle posing naked with his mistress on a cover).

                                      This is a great post Donnie and so true! I was 15 in '76 and pretty much felt like you did. My first Beatles album was the Red Album followed by the Blue Album a bit later. That held me for a while until I started buying the rest. I never did by Rock 'n' Roll as I started to collect records on the Apple label when I could, but it wasn't as bad a cover as John alluded to. Love the last sentence of your post!

                                      I'm just a tad younger, but I got the Blue before the Red. The Blue just... blew me away! ... Got the Red and... game over!... But at that time, I also was reading Nicholas Schaffner's Beatles Forever (which I think is a great intro to the Beatles).... and I seem to recall... and I might be wrong.... but I do re-read it every now and then....that in that book he recalls that John and Ringo were appalled at this cover. I think it might've been Ringo who said it made it look like they were around the days of Marilyn Monroe and everyone eating cheeseburgers, or to that effect.... (well, it was made to look like they were in American Graffiti, quintessential to the 50's, as someone else alluded)... I think Ringo also said that John offered to do a cover himself for the album, but it was knocked back by the record company. Geez!

                                      There was a 50's "revival" sweeping the globe in the mid-70s, so the marketing types at Capital made it look like a 50's cover. Its probably why they added all the Beatles covers of 50's songs on the album. Yeah, Ringo & John were pissed. John had even offered to do the cover himself.