So how good is the music?

As the saying goes, you should never judge a book — or, presumably, an album — by its cover. But if any artwork of the last half-century has been eclipsed in fame by its own packaging, it's the Beatles' "Yesterday and Today." While some fans shell out thousands of dollars to own a pristine "butcher cover," comparatively few of them may actually remove the record from its sleeve.

That's because all the songs on the album are readily available on CD, where they can be heard in the order the Beatles intended. Like other Fab Four releases put together by Capitol Records in the early to mid-1960s, "Yesterday and Today" presents a hodgepodge of cuts taken off original British albums — "Help!," "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" — and tosses in non-LP single tracks to fill just under a half hour of music. critic Bruce Eder allots the album 3 1/2 out of five stars and calls it surprisingly cohesive despite feeling "thrown together in a blender." Among those who gave it a thumbs-down, though, was Beatle George Harrison, who once complained in an interview that the American executives would "make new packages like 'Yesterday And Today,' just awful packages."

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