Even as a kid, I thought the most disturbing thing about this image was that it seemed almost nobody saw it was a gross, tasteless joke (I mean, they even insisted on all Fabs smiling!). Putting it out would have only added to the group’s legendary boldness. Hard to believe now it caused such a flap.
When I picked this up my first year in college my only reaction to the cover was — “Jeeze, Jimbo looks weird.” I bought it literally a week before he died. I brought it out of longtime storage because I was so, uh, enraptured by the mashup “Riders on the Rapture.” A jolt — to my eyes, the cover image had become as much more disturbing as the Beatles’ had become harmless. Morrison now has a terrifying aura. His head in the photo might as well be a skull. (A not-uncommon perception, as noted in the article.)