The Raconteurs’ new limited vinyl has a secret cover that parodies the Beatles

The Raconteurs have paid homage to The Beatles’ 1966 album Yesterday and Today, in a limited edition run of Help Us Stranger LPs that were sent out to Third Man Vault subscribers.

If the tracks within the album weren’t enough to hint at the heavy Beatles influence on The Raconteurs’ new album, this hidden cover art will be.

Photo: Shane Devon

The Raconteurs have recreated the Beatles’ controversial ‘Butcher’ album cover with some secret artwork on their limited edition Help Us Stranger LP.

The Raconteurs’ new album Help Us Stranger was released last Friday, with a limited run of LPs sent out to people who signed up for a quarterly paid subscription to the Third Man Records Vault, orders having closed weeks before the record landed on doorsteps.

The lenticular cover that’s exclusive to the Vault edition is adhesively applied to the LP jacket, as is the case with all 3D album sleeves. Since Jack White’s Third Man label is known for its packaging mischief, fans quickly speculated that there might be another image lying underneath, risking destroying their limited edition covers to find out. It was worth the damage; underneath the 3D cover artwork lay a parody of The Beatles’ famous 1966 butcher album cover.

In 1966, the Beatles commissioned Aussie photographer Robert Whitaker to shoot a surreal cover image for Yesterday and Today, said to be a protest against the Vietnam war. The cover depicted the Fab Four adorned in turtlenecks and lab coats, with decapitated baby dolls and butchered meat strewn all over them.

The cover sparked controversy before the album was officially released and the majority of the records were recalled. A few copies were sold by stores anyway, but most were shipped back and destroyed. So as not to delay the release of the album, however, Capitol took some of the existing LPs and pasted a more generic cover art over the existing image. Thus, a piece of Beatles collector’s gold was created, the cover-within-the-cover.

The Raconteurs have paid homage to this scandalous Beatles cover not just by creating a cover-within-a-cover, but the secret cover looks almost identical to the original Beatles artwork. The title and track listings are obviously different but the font is exact. At a first glimpse, it also looks like the band has recreated the photo shoot with precision; the same vintage dolls, cuts of meat and lab coats. However, a closer look shows that they’ve skipped the hard work and simply photoshopped their heads onto John, Paul, George and Ringo’s bodies.


Help Us Stranger is out now.