Their Satanic Majesties Request


The sample test covers





A bit on the history and background of the LP


1967 was the year when everything went psychedelic. Everything like art, fashion, people and music was influenced by it. In June that year a band from northern parts of England had issued an album by the name of St Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This album seams to have created a bit of pressure over at Decca Records. The recording of a new Stones album was on the way and it was planned for release that fall. Most probably there were discussions both within Decca and Stones camp how to top that other bands album. Something special had to be created.


Let’s go back in time a bit. On Wednesday May 17th Stones started to record material for a new album. They spent four days at Olympic Sound Studios in Barnes, South West London and songs like She’s A Rainbow and We Love You ended up on the demo tapes. Recording sessions continued through out June, Citadel was done on the 9th and Dandelion was recorder during the next week. 15th of June Mick and Keith were back at the studio, this time not working on their own material but helping out another band by singing backing vocals on a song called “All You Need Is Love”


Mick and Keith spent a few days in Court and in jail the last week of June, as a result of the drug busts at Redlands the previous February. On July 1st The Times published the legendary article, headed “Who Breaks a Butterfly On a Wheel?” From July 2nd through most parts of July, August and beginning of Septemeber they spent time in the studio. The first single form the new material was issued on August 18th, We Love You / Dandelion.


Most of the recording for the album had been completed on September 7th and on 14th they arrived in New York to work on the picture for the cover. Most of the shooting took place on Saturday September 16th. On 29th they return back to England and on the same day it was announced that Andrew Loog Oldham and Stones had parted company. They still spent a bit more time in Olympic Studios. One of the more important session took place on October 11th when the snoring of Bill Wyman was recorder. This snoring ended up on the album in between “In Another Land” and “2000 Man”!


The news that a new Stones album is on the way and that it is tentatively titled “Cosmic Christmas” was in the media on October 3rd. A song by the name of “Cosmic Christmas” was actually recorded during the third week of October. That song is included on the acetate for the octagonal sleeve presented on this page. On October 30th Brian is in court and is sentenced to nine months imprisonment


New information is given on the coming album on November 1st. The new Rolling Stones album will be released later that month and will be named “Her Satanic Majesty Requests And Requires”. The final album is first released in US on November 27th and then in UK on December 8th. The final name is now “Their Satanic Majesties Request”


Brian is commenting the album on December 9th as follows: “Yes, of course the album is a very personal thing. But the Beatles are just as introspective. You have to remember that our entire lives have been affected lately by social-political influences. You have to expect these things to come out of our work”


Most of the text above is based on information from Nico Zentgrafs page and from the book “The Rolling Stones Chronicle” by Massimo Bonanno.


While all this was going on with the band, Decca and probaly also London Records were working on the cover for the album. They had to make it just as spectacular as Sgt Pepper’s so a lot of work went into it. The owner of the octagonal slik, Peter Hinds, had the possibility to ask Bill Wyman about the cover of Satanic back in March of 1982 when Bill was visiting Australia for promotion work on his solo album. Peter says: “He was quite bemused at the question and answered words to the effect ‘If we had spent more time on the music than the cover it would have been a much different affair. Which I concluded that he thought the album was not up to the normal standard of a Rolling Stones album”



Stonesondecca staff has been able to track down no more than four different suggestions and versions of the cover:


Early Slik with black and white front cover


The padded Silk 3D cover


The octagonal 3D cover


The velvet STONES cover






Early Slik with black and white front cover


Here is a very early suggestion for the cover, possibly dated on August 15th 1967. It was made weeks before the Stones even did the photosession that produced the 3D picture that ended up on the front cover. This front cover version has a similar design as the one that ended up on the inside of the foldout. This indicates that the 3D was planned in an early stage of the cover design.


The item has been in the collection of Ralph J. Gleason, who was the co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine and a legendary writer.  He was sent it by someone in Allen Klein's office prior to the album's release.


The text on the place where the 3D pictuer was supposed to be, reads:

"this is where color 3-d Pix go.  It has been taken to Klein for his approval this PM.  The waste basket scavenger rides again."  The date seasm to be 8/15/67


Thanks to Jeff Gold for the picture and the information. He had this item at one point of time but sold it through his This slik is today in a well known large Stones collection in UK.





Klick on the picture to get a larger image








The Padded Silk Test Sleeve LP


It has been debated for many years if the silk padded sleeve exists or not. No one seems to have turned up a copy and no one seems to have any pictures that would prove its existence, until now, maybe..... For sure the debate will continue, but we can now show pictures of a LP that may very well be the real thing.


These pictures have been given to me by the owner of this LP and with his permission I am now publishing them on November 21st 2010.

The owner is Adriaan Neervoort who runs a record shop by the name of Wanted Music, located in Beckenham, in south east London.  He got the LP about 10 years back from a customer who came in off the street and sold it! The customer had apparently bought it at a local bootfair previously



The cover, (Click on the picture for larger images)



Front of the sleeve has the silk pad around the original 3D picture




Inside of the cover is the standard Satanic pictures




Back of the sleeve is completely covered with red silk.





The silk pad layer is rather thick which can clearly be seen on this picture




The vinyl, (Click on the picture for larger images)


The LP inisde the sleeve is a test pressing of Satanic. It is the standard pink colored label used by Decca in the end of the 60’s. It has the “Factory Sample / Not For Sale” text on it. The title has been stamped on the label. The matrix number has also been separately stamped on the label, ARL-8126 for side 1 and ARL-8127 for side 2.





Side 1 has matrix number ARL 8126-T2-3k on the offgroove vinyl




Side 2 has matrix number ARL 8127-T2-3k on the offgroove vinyl




The letter, (Click on the picture for larger images)


There is a letter included. with the LP. The letter is on Deccas standard stationary and has Decca name and address on the letter head. It describes the LP with rather good details. It is dated on October 30th 1967. Unfortunately there is no receiver of the letter given but there is a stamp dated November 15th 1967 that most probably is the date when the letter together with this LP was received by someone.





Is this the real thing or not?


That is a question that is impossible to answer at this point of time. There are no pictures or written statements or similar evidences that are originated from Decca itself. Nor do we have any comments from people who actually worked for Decca design department at the time. This could be the actual prototype, but it may as well just be a sleeve that someone had a bit of fun with. Unless we do not find another copy or some hard evidence of how it was supposed to be looking like, then the question will remain open





More pictures, (Click on the picture for larger images)


















The Octagonal 3D test slik



In December of 2010 yet another interesting sample cover for the LP emerged. An octagonal shaped cover with the 3D pictuer in place! It seams as if the record company was trying out an octagonal sleeve as early as October of 1967, just about two years before the officilal octagonal Through The Past Darkly was released.


This octagonal version on the pictures here above was most probably put together by London Records in USA. There is no knowledge if London in US and Decca in UK had any communication on this version.


This item is today located in Australia and for the first time ever published on the internet here at stonesondecca on December 12th 2010. I will give the word to the owner of this item, Peter Hinds in Australia:


“Around 1983 I placed an ad in a record collector mag here in Australia selling my dad’s old Jazz and Blues record’s and wanted anything Rolling Stones. A month later (yes this was well before Ebay) I received a response from a record collector in New York. I still had most of the items and he offered a trade for around 20 of the Lp’s for a Rolling Stones acetate of Satanic complete with 3D image and a tour program and poster from the 1981 US tour. The Rolling Stones meant as little to him as what the Jazz records were to me.

I was just exited to have the 3D cover of Satanic coming to me at age 15 and after 2 years of Stones collecting out here I had never seen one. As we all know the Aussie release never had the 3D version.

After approx 10 weeks I thought I had been ripped off as nothing had arrived and no response from his end. A package finally arrived by surface mail and inside was what you see in the images. Two single sided Bell acetates, the octagonal slick, various technical sheets and letter, one unused 3D flicker and the program and the poster. I did not realise to many years later what I infact had, as all I wanted was the 3D image on an “uncut cover”!! I thought to myself at least the poster was good. I was going to stick the extra 3D image to my Aussie copy but never got around to it.”


Here are nine pictures of the set. If you click on the pictures you will get a larger image appearing. Let’s continue with the current owners comments:



The cover


The cover is single sided cardboard type slick, not a sleeve. A concept sample! It measures perfect on all sides and edges are consistent in cut and wear. Two punchholes appear at top of the sleeve suggesting file storage at some point in time. The 3D image is slightly off center. It is heavily stained or glued. The words under the 3D image along with 2 lines and arrow say the word “spot” and I believe in faded pencil “line”.





Interestingly there is no patent pending number or Vari Vue company details on the reverse bottom of the flicker. The back of the octagonal cover has stamped dates ranging from 19th of October to 15th of November. The word “end” is beside Nov 15th. Words “Rolling Stones Cosmic” appears in red biro.

The 3D image has incredible colour and depth. I hope the photo shows this against the unused one. I have around a dozen 3D copies from various countries and to my eyes this octagonal copy is the best coloured. The blue sky cover printing is in a very dull and basic matt finish which does not compare to any of my released copies.



The acetates


The twin Bell Studio 12 inch Acetates are single sided pressed dated November 16th 1967. Close to a final stereo mix. The track “Cosmic Christmas” is still included as track 6 on side one. I have not timed songs etc but from memory only slight timing and mix variations occure. No mention of the Satanic title is on the label.



The letters


The letters related to technical information etc are showing graphs and some sort of guidelines to printability, gauges and drying times. You seriously cannot understand a word of it. A letter dated 2nd of November 1967 from the production manager from Vari Vue and pictorial productions asking about final reports on print finish to the cover etc to be finalised. Deadline is approaching. No discussions about shape or name is mentioned, simply referred to as the new Rolling Stones cover.




Additional pictures













The “STONES” test sleeve


Here is another early version on the sleeve. This one has no 3D picture and may have been one of the first suggestion on the cover. The STONES text is made out of velvet and the color is brown. Three copies are supposed to be known, two of them located in Italy



The inner bag looks like this










Page history

 January 27th 2012 – August 1967 test slik added, thaks to JeffGold