Picture Sleeve of the Month
The Beatles: Twist & Shout
Released in 1963 this spent 64 weeks in total on the EP charts. I bet you didn’t know there even was an EP chart. It ran from 1960 to 1967. For a while, everyone released EPs, often of two hit singles and two popular album tracks. This was the Beatles first and all four tracks come from the Please Please Me album. Side 1 was Twist And Shout and A Taste Of Honey. Side 2, Do You Want To Know A Secret and There’s A Place
I love the sleeve because the front picture shows them in what is now an iconic pose, leaping above what looks like a brick-strewn bomb site. So much of the industrial cities of Britain looked like that in the early 60s as post-war demolition of houses, destroyed in the raids of the war were pulled down and eventually rebuilt – all too often out of little more than fly paper and cardboard.
With the boys in their smart, close cut suits contrasting against the old rubble, the picture shouts ‘out with the old, in with the new’. It is the new realities, the new culture made extant. It is a hopeful, joyful image: a casting off of the past.
I even love the way the tracks are laid out on the back alongside a little bit of chatty text from Parlophone PR man Tony Barrow. Almost all EPs looked like this – the ones on Parlophone anyway. It was, in a primitive kind of branding exercise, I suppose. We even did use Emitex – permanently advertised on Parlophone records for years – to clean our vinyl.
I’ve had my copy of this since it came out in 1963, since I was two. It’s only worth £18 in mint condition but its heft, its weight is so much greater than the monetary value.