Cover of John Wesley Harding

Things Twice
Rumour has it that you can see the Beatles' faces on the cover of John Wesley Harding LP (but not the CD). It helps to turn the cover upside down, then look just above the LE in WESLEY.

Originally compiled: January 18, 1997
Last revised: January 18, 1997

From: John Howells (howells@CSD.SGI.COM)
Subject: Re: Cover of John Wesley Harding
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 1995 16:36:10 -0800

Daniel Luth (dluth@ARIEL.UCS.UNIMELB.EDU.AU) wrote:

Has anyone ever seen (while sober) the Beatles in the bark on the cover of John Wesley Harding as has been rumoured by certain rumour-mongers?

Yes, I have. I couldn't believe it when I looked, but there are clearly faces there and they are clearly the Beatles.

John Howells

From: nate (nates@LL.MIT.EDU)
Subject: Cover of John Wesley Harding
Date: Wed, 1 Nov 1995 13:47:03 GMT

yes. but my copy now is so worn that is hard to tell anymore. the record falls through out the other end if i'm not careful....

- nate, who couldnt believe it until he was sober/straight

From: Ed Lewandowski (edl@OMEGA.DIALIX.OZ.AU)
Subject: Cover of John Wesley Harding
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 09:55:44 -0500

The faces of the Beatles are definitely there but you can't see them in the CD cover; you need the LP sleeve and, according to an article in the spring 1995 Telegraph, "it helps to have the original British release". The Telegraph article quotes from a Rolling Stone article entitled "Dylan Record Puts Beatles Up A Tree".

Regards - Ed.

From: Ed Lewandowski (edl@OMEGA.DIALIX.OZ.AU)
Subject: Cover of John Wesley Harding
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 1995 05:21:39 GMT

Chris Bjorke ( writes:

I own a vinyl copy of JWH and as hard I try, I can't see John, Paul, George, Ringo, or even Pete Best on the cover. Is it all just a weirdo rumor or do I need a copy of the British release?

I've got the original British release of JWH and also a book entitled, "Bob Dylan - The Illustrated Record" by Tony Rinzler which has full size pictures of the LP covers. In both, I can clearly see the Beatles' faces if I turn the cover upside down and look just above the LE in WESLEY. What's more, if I look just above the H in JOHN, there's at least one more face but I've got no idea who that is.


In Australia we have a rather crude expression which goes, "It stands out like a dog's balls". If this is not the case with the Beatles' faces on your LP cover then yes, you need a copy of the British release or the Tony Rinzler book.

Regards - Ed

From: Ben Taylor (bptaylor@LAGUNA.DEMON.CO.UK)
Subject: The cover of John Wesley Harding
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 22:50:20 +0000

"Looking Up Dylan's Sleeves" part two, by Rob MacBeath (Telegraph 51) --


The photograph was taken by Columbia staffer John Berg in Woodstock and the three people pictured with Dylan (who wears the same jacket he wore for the cover of Blonde On Blonde) are Purna Das, leader of the Bauls of Bengal and Lakhsman Das, another Baul, who were at the time staying in a converted barn on Albert Grossman's property. Sally Grossman, rather helpfully, identified the fourth member of the group: "The guy in the background was Charlie Joy... He was a local carpenter and stonemason who happened to be around that day"[1]. The hat at the bottom of the photo belongs to an individual who has appeared in another photograph from the session, reproduced below [sorry guys :-)]. Whether he is crouching down at the front of the group and has been cropped out of the photograph I don't know. Perhaps his hat is just sitting on a tree stump.

Sally Grossman also confirmed that the photograph was taken in what is effectively her back garden: "It's a piece of rough grassland enclosed by trees with a chipped and deserted swimming pool at one end."[2]

[Omitted: relatively lengthy passage about the Bauls and how they came to meet Dylan]

[1] Steve Turner: "By The Time I Got Back To Woodstock", The Independent, August 4, 1990.
[2] Ibid.

Ben Taylor

Subject: The cover of John Wesley Harding
Date: Mon, 4 Nov 1996 16:38:08 +1300 (Jeff Rose) writes:

I've read many times that the cover of this has the faces of the four beatles on it. I've never been able to see this at all.

No, I've never been able to see it either.

I have heard, though, that if you play "New Morning" backwards, it says:

"Don't expose me".

Rob Zorn

From: (bob gill)
Subject: The cover of John Welsey Harding
Date: 5 Nov 1996 02:00:28 GMT

I had not only not seen this, but I'd never even heard of it until about a year ago when I'd just discovered r.m.d. Someone explained where to find these alleged faces, and just to go along with the joke, I looked -- and voila! There they were!

Apparently you can only find them on vinyl album covers from the early '70s or before, though. I think I remember reading that in the same post. But if you turn it upside down and look at the tree trunk, you'll see something that sure looks like JPG & R to me.

-- Bob G.

From: (Chris Bjorke)
Subject: Cover of John Wesley Harding
Date: 6 Nov 1996 06:13:11 GMT

After about 5 minutes of staring at the cover of my JWH album cover I think I could kinda see a bearded John Lennon. It was kinda like one of those 3D pictures you always see in malls). Anyway, I think I was just seeing things. I was always under the impression that they were a little more dicernable than this, and that I would be able to see the other 3 lads too.

One question: It seems that everyone who can see the Beatles on JWH are from England. Is it possible they're not on the U. S. version?

From: (DaveM39749)
Subject: Cover of John Wesley Harding
Date: 6 Nov 1996 01:29:01 -0500

Actually, since I've thought this was nonsense since the album came out my sr. year in high school, I'd say it's one of the *dis*advantages.

Paul is alive.

From: "Peter West" (
Subject: Cover of John Wesley Harding
Date: 6 Nov 1996 11:04:56 GMT

As someone once said...

Did you know that if you turn the John Wesley Harding lp upside down, the record falls out and just about takes your toes off?



From: Scott and Lisa Bauer (sb91223@NAVIX.NET)
Subject: Beatles on JWH
Date: Wed, 6 Nov 1996 11:00:12 -0600

Yes, I can see the Beatles on the cover of John Wesley Harding. Although I must say, I would never have found them if I didn't force myself to look.

For all those among you who want to try and find them (I assume you all like to look for clues that Paul is dead and that New Morning played backwards talks about Mars invading) take the album, not the CD although you can see it there too, and turn it upside down. At the top of the tree (or the bottom once you turn it upside down) on the right edge you will notice a white area. If you stare closely enough you will see at least three faces, slightly distorted.

Those who saw the bearded John Lennon, congratulations! He is the easiest to spot. I think Ringo is just below him to the left and George is to the right.

Of course I don't really believe these are the Beatles, but who cares. It gives us all a reason to pull out John Wesley Harding and give it one more listen.


From: gail marie wiese (gailmax@PRIMENET.COM)
Subject: The cover of John Wesley Harding
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 1996 22:01:34 -0800

and if you play it sideways it turns into a bunch of Andy Williams records played backwards. If you put it in a time machine it says "I'm nice," to somebody by the name of Merle. At fox-trot, lope, or pace speeds it almost sounds like Swedish. Inside-out you could almost swear it was the Sir Douglas Quintet in the background.

Do crickets dream?


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