The Story Behind The Sleeve: #2 The Mothers Of Invention – We’re Only In It For The Money
Shot by Blonde On Blonde photographer Jerry Schatzberg, the cover for this 1968 album by Frank Zappa – the godfather of experimental psychedelic rock – was an obvious parody of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band sleeve from the previous year. With Jimi Hendrix appearing on the right of the sleeve, near to Zappa wearing a miniskirt, it mocked the Flower Power generation, with song titles including Who Needs The Peace Corps? and Flower Punk.
Zappa said in a 1971 interview that: “I personally felt for a long time that [The Beatles] were extremely plastic, and flat-out commercial.”
Zappa reportedly phoned Paul McCartney asking for permission to ape Sir Peter Blake, Jann Haworth and Michael Cooper’s design, but Macca told him it was a decision for the suits. It didn’t go down well with the labels, either, with Capitol’s objections seeing the release delayed by five months and Verve eventually deciding to run the Pepper… parody inside the sleeve with the intended gatefold shot of the band (in drag) as the cover.
Later releases restored the original cover to its rightful place and the furore didn’t stop We’re Only In It For The Money from reaching No. 30 in the Billboard Chart and being listed at No. 297 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time in 2015.