Graham Reid | | 2 min read
Of course Mad magazine -- which had been skewering popular culture since its inception in the early Fifties -- would take an interest in the Beatles.
Their hairstyles and distinctive appearance alone, not to mention their enormous popularity in America, made them an enjoyable target for satire, parody and cartoons by the magazine's in-house wits.
Ringo was ripe for caricature.
And Mad always had great artists like Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, Don Martin, Sam Viviano, Harvey Kurtzman and many others.
As you may see, we are indebted to Doug Gilford's excellent site of Mad covers down the many decades.
But first, this impression of Mad from a man who was immersed in the madness of Beatles era . . .
In July '64 attention was still on the hairstyle and so Mad deal with that in one of their famous folg-in covers, although this one was a rare diagonal fold
and here's what the fold revealed
This back cover "ad" was drawn by Frank Frazetta for the magazine's October '64 issue
By 1966 the Beatles had been unequivocally established in the pantheon of popular entertainers, so for this cover of the magazine's annual they took their place alongside the new generation on the right with Elvis and Dylan, with their Fifties counterparts on the left . . . all equally disgusted by Alfred E. Newman's album.
The Beatles alongside other British stars and icons of their day in the Swinging London period
Art by the great Don Martin
They were not the first nor would they be the last to use the Sgt Peppers cover for a parody. This and the one below obviously from much later than '67 when the album came out.
The greatest guru of his generation raised aloft by his acolytes, among them Mia Farrow and the Maharishi Mahesh Yoga himself . . .
From '76, what the Beatles would be looking like in '96 . . .
Not a Mad cover but an illustration by sometime Mad artist Sam Viviano on the release of the Sgt Peppers movie which starred the Bee Gees.
Again, with thanks to the archivist that is Doug Gilford . . . check out his terrific Mad site here.