The Beatles-Themed Message Hidden on a Rolling Stones Album Cover
In the 1960s, many fans saw the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as rivals. Paul McCartney accused the Stones of copying his band. Likewise, Mick Jagger felt the Beatles copied his band. In the end, though, there didn’t seem to be any bad blood between the two groups.
The Stones showed off the goodwill they had towards the Fab Four in 1967. That was the year the Stones released their psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request. The album’s memorable cover art features a message for the Beatles hidden in plain sight.
One of the Rolling Stone’s album covers includes the Beatles
Satanic Majesties is often understood as the Stones’ attempt to equal the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. As such, Satanic Majesties has a psychedelic cover a la Sgt. Pepper’s. Though not as famous as its predecessor, the Satanic Majesties cover has secrets of its own.
If you look at the cover of Satanic Majesties, you’ll be overwhelmed by all the psychedelic imagery. There’s Mick Jagger and company dressed as wizards and a fake-looking planet. What you will probably do not notice is the faces of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr are on the cover too, hidden among flowers.
A photographer named Michael Cooper took the photos for the iconic cover of Satanic Majesties. In 2018, Cooper’s son Adam spoke about Satanic Majesties in an interview. He explained why the Stones put the Beatles’ faces on their album cover.
The photographer behind the cover explains what the Rolling Stones were thinking
Cooper explained the inclusion of the Beatles’ faces on the cover was really a result of the Stones’ dissatisfaction with the way the press treated the relationship between the bands. “The British press were constantly dreaming up rumors that relations between the Beatles and the Stones were always bad, and they presented this bad-boy image of the Stones and the clean image of the Beatles and all of that. It was a complete invention by the press. People believed it, so the Stones, by 1967, said, “We’ve had enough of this sh*t. Let’s try to communicate through the cover to tell the public this is not the truth.”
Cooper noted that, in addition to the Beatles’ appearance on the cover of Satanic Majesties, there’s a reference to the Stones on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Specifically, there’s a doll wearing a shirt which reads “Welcome the Rolling Stones.” Cooper said these subtle images had the same message: that the two bands liked each other.
After the release of Satanic Majesties, the relationship between the two bands seemed to get a little rocky. John, the most outspoken member of the Fab Four, had some controversial things to say about Jagger and his band in the 1970s. Regardless, the Fab Four’s low-key appearance on the cover of Satanic Majesties remains a great bit of rock ‘n’ roll trivia.