Erik in NJ:
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.