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Bob's photos were amongst the best ever taken of the Beatles. Paul McCartney
Some people have thought the image was a montage, but it was a single shot. The printing of the sleeve turned out much darker than expected. A lot of the textured quality in the reproduction print was lost. In fact the English version looked like four white faces in a coal cellar. Fortunately, the American version, with the title changed to Meet The Beatles, was the same black-and-white photograph with a blue tone, showing more detail in the shadow area.
This cover shot was an extension of myblack-and-white jazz photography and the idea for the composition came from a photograph taken earlier the same year of three graphic designers (see previous page). The picture had a mood and directness that was the antithesis of the way groups usually appeared on album covers at that time. George Martin deserves credit for supporting this approach since colour was the norm for pop albums. Although George ran the subsidiary Parlophone label, the cover had to be approved by the management at EMI.
My original idea was to feature the picture of The Beatles across the whole album without logos or titles. By then, The Beatles were famous and their faces well known. This would have been a truly original breakthrough. But the proposal was too radical for EMI, and at the time neither Brian nor The Beatles had authority over those decisions. That changed a few years later with Rubber Soul.
I was originally offered the equivalent of $50 for the cover, which was the standard fee, but a far cry from what photographers make for covers today. However, Brian did support me in persuading EMI to pay double their normal fee--$100. A bargain considering the number of albums sold worldwide and the description in the New York Times Book Review that it was the "quintessential rock album cover."