Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Lennon's thread

The original uncropped photo by Robert Freeman
In 2012, the uncropped original photo which adorned the Beatles' album "Rubber Soul" album cover found its way to the internet. It was taken by the recently deceased Robert Freeman, and as legend has it: When projected on a square LP-sized white cardboard which accidentally bent, the fab four wanted to take advantage of the warped image and used that as the front cover.
The uncropped original has been enhanced using various computer techniques and started popping up on social media in 2019:

Artist Clayton Hickman used machine learning and Photoshop to give us an approximation of the uncropped image with much greater fidelity. Taken from Hickman’s Twitter account.
One thing that's evident from the original photo, enhanced or not, is that there is a loose thread on John Lennon's shoulder - not present on the U.K. or U.S.A. pressings of the album. In fact, it has been airbrushed away in most countries pressings of the LP.


But in some countries, the thread was not airbrushed out. So far, we are aware of Argentinian and Mexican copies of the album where John's jacket is unashamedly displaying it's shortcomings.

Mexican pressing of Rubber Soul
It's also used on a Mexican EP cover.
Michelle EP - Mexico

Detail from an Argentinian Rubber Soul where their faces seems to have been softened somewhat.

So what did happen to John's brown suede jacket? Made by D.A. Millings but not part of a Beatles uniform, John Lennon first donned this jacket in public during their 1964 U.S. tour.


Pretty soon, the right shoulder epaulette went missing, with only the loose thread to show for it. We have no idea what happened to it. Torn off by a fan?
John with the jacket, left epaulette still in place.
After a while, Lennon gave the jacket away to his housekeeper, Dorothy «Dot» Jarlett. She later auctioned off the garment, and it was bought by Hard Rock Café. It's now in circulation at their restaurants.
Now at Hard Rock Cafe somewhere.

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