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Meet The Beatles Parody: Vote For Me, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

October 16, 2012

With the U.S. presidential election right around the corner, I thought it might be fun to trot out an old promotional piece I did back in 2004. It features the 5 leading candidates who were competing for the Democratic presidential nomination, and a chance to run against the Republican incumbent, George W. Bush.

L-R: Senator John Kerry; former Vermont Governor Howard Dean; former Congressman Dick Gephardt; former Senator John Edwards; and at lower right: Senator Joe Lieberman.

parody of Beatles first American LP Meet The Beatles, retitled Beat The Bushels and showing top five 2004 United States Democratic presidential contenders John Kerry, Howard Dean, Richard Gephardt, John Edwards, and Joe Lieberman standing in for John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr

It’s a parody of The Beatles‘ first Capitol LP, Meet The Beatles, which caused quite a stir with its blue-tinted cover photo.cover of The Beatles' first American LP showing John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr, all wearing black turtlenecks with only left side of their faces lit, right side in shadow

The idea still makes me laugh, but the wordplay is too convoluted. The 5 candidates were all hoping to be the one to beat the incumbent, so “The Bushels” (plural) isn’t a reference to the candidates themselves, it’s a reference to President Bush, which doesn’t jibe. Close, but no cigar.

Looking back, it was probably a stretch trying to parody something that was already 40 years old at the time!

How accurate are the caricatures? Here are photos of the 5 candidates, judge for yourself:photos of top five 2004 Democratic presidential candidates; top, L-R: John Kerry, Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt; bottom, L-R: John Kerry, Joe Lieberman

Top, L-R: John Kerry, Howard Dean, Dick Gephard.

Bottow, L-R: John Edwards, Joe Lieberman.

And just for the record: Kerry got the Democratic nomination, but lost to Bush in the 2004 election.

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What do you think? Does anyone remember The Beatles? Can you think of any other field besides popular music and politics where fame and glory are more fleeting? Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2012 5:55 PM

    Caricatures are hard, and although I wasn’t as diligent as my art student friends, I can speak from a little experience. I understand it’s a matter of choosing the right prominent features that are not only obvious to you, but also to all of your audience.

    I’ll admit I recognized John Kerry right away. He’s pretty easy, I think. His long face with the almost hound-dog expressions is noticeable, and then there’s his chin, which my wife Cimmy rates as an “7.5” in her fictional Big Chin Club of America, just below “8” Jay Leno. Hers is a 10-point scale that includes cartoon and comic characters, as “1” is Betty Boop and “10” is the first depiction of the Tazmanian Devil in Looney Tunes.

    The others did not seem so obvious to me. I also opened your links to Wikipedia before scrolling down to the photos you shared here; I think the article has photos that are easier to reference. I hope you won’t mind a few constructive observations. I think you’ve given Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt hairlines that recede a little too much; neither seem to me to be balding the way Joe Lieberman is. For a moment I thought Dean was Rush Limbaugh (as if that made sense!) because of the pudgy cheeks. Maybe you didn’t mean for them to look pudgy, but with eyes, nose, mouth set close together, it seemed that way to me. But Dean just doesn’t have many features that stick out, I think, so I can’t be too harsh. Now Gephardt, yes, no doubt, his high-set cheekbones are prominent. But he’s not a gaunt sort of man; he’s not thin enough that those cheekbones stick out to the sides, you know?

    John Edwards stands alone from the others. I think he’s got those rather symmetrical features that the fashion world looks to for its models, albeit maybe not as proportional as Elizabeth Hurley (she is purported to have perfectly proportionate facial features). So while he was mocked for his “Prell” hair, I think people also noticed his face. A good caricature would poke fun of him being a politician that looks like a celebrity.

    Oh dear, it’s another looongg reply. I hope you’ll see my thoughts as observations of a fellow artist– I appreciate your support, too.


    • October 17, 2012 7:47 PM

      My dear Jak,

      Many thanks for your thorough critique– always nice to meet someone with a keen interest.

      You’re right about hairlines– they can make or break a caricature. Ditto cheeks and jowls. Many times, a subject will have so many little interesting “bits,” it’s hard to know which way to jump. I actually thought Kerry and Edwards were the two weakest, tho as you say, it’s hard to miss with Kerry given his chin and hound dog eyes. Dean had a way of pursing his lips and making his mouth very small in those rare moments when he wasn’t talking– that’s the look I was going for.

      Funny: I remember some famous political cartoonist (Pat Oliphant, maybe?) once saying that he hated primary season because you had to learn how to draw a whole bunch of people that you’d never have to draw again– ha!

      Many thanks for stopping by, always glad to have your feedback! : )


      • October 17, 2012 8:21 PM

        Interesting to get a political cartoonist’s point of view. I love periodicals and read them with great gusto so I see a fair amount of those artists that are regularly featured. But even with them, I couldn’t recognize all the caricatures they did, even with sitting politicians. Again, I think caricatures are hard– a realistic drawing can encompass “so many little interesting bits” as you said, but a caricature, I think, will only encompass a few.

        Thanks for your kind words– I just love talking shop, so to speak.


  2. October 16, 2012 5:57 PM

    The Beatles are timeless. Who doesn’t know who they are? My 17 year old son loves their music. Great parody that still speaks to us all, your caricatures are terrific and instantly recognizable.


    • October 17, 2012 5:34 PM

      Many thanks, Jayne. Actually, I have nieces and nephews who are Beatles fans– kinda reassuring… : )

      Thank you very much for your kind support. Means a lot, especially coming from a very accomplished artist like yourself.


  3. October 16, 2012 5:59 PM

    I ‘got it’, Mark (the Bushels reference to Bush, more than to the candidates themselves). Does this mean I’m old enough (being a Beatles fan from ‘way back’) to appreciate the comedy and reference..!?! Probably…! I’ll take that cigar..! What am I saying; I loathe cigars…..!

    Linking in to those memories, whilst looking at those fresh young men on the cover, brings a lot of sweetness to mind. They (the Beatles) gave the world some incredible music that survives today (at least for me), and (although success can be fleeting) I still enjoy their early music as much as I did back then.


    • October 17, 2012 5:46 PM

      Of course you got it, dear Carolyn– but then again yours is refined artistic sensibility coupled with a scintillating intellect!!

      I wish those were things you could buy in a store– I’d kinda like to have ’em, too… : (

      I’m particularly fond of the Beatles’ early songs. It was all just a grand lark at the beginning, and you can hear that in the music.

      Well, I’ll mail you a cigar, and we’ll hope for the best (i.e., that it gets lost in transit). Thanks as ever for your jolly support!


  4. October 16, 2012 6:01 PM

    Don’t know much about American politics but I love the Beatles! 🙂


  5. October 16, 2012 7:31 PM

    Oh, Mark. Does any one remember The Beatles? Et tu, Brute?
    Actually, I’m pleased to report that many of my 7th grade students are very familiar with The Beatles music and quite enjoy it. Almost as much as I enjoyed your spot-on illustrations of The Bushels.


    • October 17, 2012 5:58 PM

      That did sound rather slanderous, didn’t it?? : (

      Well, I remember them very well myself. Heck, I even remember buying Beatle bubble gum cards!! Their music does seem to have a large cross-generational appeal. I guess all the really good stuff does. Which explains why our two blogs are so enormously popular… : P

      Many thanks, Judy, for your wonderful, good-humored support!!


      • October 17, 2012 6:35 PM

        I’m not going to repeat the cardinal sin of quoting John Lennon’s most outrageous remark about The Fab Fours’ popularity. 🙂


        • October 17, 2012 7:27 PM

          Ha! Yes, the poor boy got a bit carried away, didn’t he? He wasn’t sensible like you and me. Well, like you, anyway… : )


  6. October 16, 2012 8:07 PM

    I’d say news anchors have it pretty rough; one of our local meteorologists, of all things, became so popular there was a song parody written for him. Like the caricatures; that’s tough with political dudes who don’t have very cartoonish faces to start with!


    • October 17, 2012 7:31 PM

      What?? Some politicians don’t have cartoonish faces?? Man, I’m glad nobody told me that goin’ in!! : P

      Funny how most meteorologists do seem to have funny faces. Must have something to do with getting battered by those warm and cold fronts every night. Takes a toll… : P

      Always nice to see you, Amelie! : )


  7. October 16, 2012 9:35 PM

    They are good caricatures; I recognized all of them without the names or pictures.


    • October 17, 2012 7:36 PM

      Ah! Thank you, dear Maddie! You have that keen detective’s eye. And, of course, being a hip, suave, sophisticated, informed, and highly intelligent person may also work to your advantage in these cases… : )

      Your very kind support is always most sincerely appreciated– thanks.


  8. October 16, 2012 10:09 PM



  9. October 17, 2012 7:27 PM

    ahahahahaha…love it! I love its title: beat the bushels! I don’t know why I found it’s very funny!


    • October 19, 2012 1:27 PM

      Ha! Thank you, my good-humored friend! You know, it’s funny, but I always liked that part of the gag myself– just the term “Beat The Bushels!” It has a nice little rhythm to it, it’s fun to say, and it just makes you smile for some reason.

      There’s a slang term you hear every so often: beat the bushes, which means to search everywhere trying to find something, but “beat the bushels” is just plain absurd– conjures up a vision of someone hitting bushel baskets with a stick!! : P

      Many thanks for your jolly comment, Inge! : )


  10. October 19, 2012 10:02 PM

    Mark, I’m so jealous of your talent! Caricatures are something I have difficulty doing. But yours are splendid! I love it! And of course, Beatles will never grow old 😀 They are a timeless classic!


    • October 21, 2012 2:08 PM

      But wait– I’m jealous of your talent!! What a situation! OK, we’ll form a Mutual Admiration & Jealousy Club, it’s the obvious solution… : P

      Thank you, dear Jane, you’re always so supportive. I do enjoy caricatures. Sometimes you score a bull’s-eye, sometimes you miss– maybe by a lot, maybe by just a little, and you’re not sure why. They’re definitely a challenge, and I’m always going back for more…

      Yes, I guess The Beatles will always occupy a special category. Plus they did that nice song about you: Ain’t She Sweet. OK, it was a just cover, but it was good. : )


  11. October 22, 2012 9:17 AM

    I can be a bit of a slow person at times but about 30 seconds later of looking at it I got the title of ‘Beat The Bushels’ ^^

    I really like how you have captured the prominent features of the candidates (you’re always so good at it!). Each one has something that easily distinguishes themselves from the other and that shows. As someone who has no clue to Amercian politics, it was easy to recognise each person.

    I would have loved to have seen a more darker blue tint, but then thinking that your illustration would most likely be drowned out from it.

    The Beatles are an all-time classic, and a band that is still known to this day. As reflected back from the London Olympics, you can see how everyone in the crowd joined in to the songs, and the music is always played on radio stations. I doubt their name will disappear any time soon. You no longer have wonderful bands/music like before, so it’s always the classics that are remembered : )


    • October 24, 2012 9:37 AM

      Thank you, dear Sabine! And I don’t believe you’re ever a slow person, because you frequent this blog, which shows you’re extremely quick to recognize true genius… : P

      Thanks for your kind words about the caricatures. It’s rare for me to look at one and think: perfect! I always have the nagging feeling that something’s a little off somewhere. Quite possibly my brain… : (

      You’re right: it should have been a darker blue if I was hoping to mimic the original. I used it as a postcard mailer, and I remember worrying about it coming out too dark…

      I was being a bit facetious about The Beatles– I don’t think folks will be forgetting them anytime soon! Thanks as ever for your support! : )


      • October 24, 2012 11:26 AM

        Oh I can never miss out on your work, Mark. You always show something that is of great interest to all of your followers.

        As an illustrator one would always feel that something may have gone amiss with the work and overthink what could be done to make it better. But if you feel overall that it’s good enough to bring into public, then it’s brilliant : )

        Colour is always a problem. Especially if it’s for something that is to promote yourself — you’d want the best eye-catching mailer there is. But all in all people who know of the cover would instantly recognise the inspiration for your illustration and see your style, so there really is no worries : )


        • October 27, 2012 8:35 PM

          Ah, thank you, my dear Sabine, I always appreciate your kind support.

          Over-thinking and second-guessing oneself can be a very bad habit to get into. An illustrator has to learn to trust his own instincts. With a brain like mine, you wouldn’t expect over-thinking to be a problem, but, uh… : (

          Thanks for your kind words, and I’m always grateful to have your artistic impressions! : )


  12. October 27, 2012 1:52 PM

    Haha Mark! I liked Lieberman the best. I think you captured his quiet continual exasperation spot on! I remember being transfixed by that Beatles album. I remember looking at it often in the record section in Packers (the variety store in our little town of 1,000 people). They had one copy for sale. HA! I don’t know if anybody ever bought it because I went in every time I was downtown and stared at it!

    What a great idea to take 5 ho-hum people and frame them iconically!


    • October 30, 2012 4:02 PM

      Ha! Your take on Lieberman made me roar. His “quiet continual exasperation…” that’s it! I’ve always liked the guy, and yes, he always seems to be wearing that same expression. It’s never occurred to me what it actually represents– I think you’ve hit it exactly!!

      Iconic cover is right. I can remember staring at it in Newberry’s (long gone), in our little town of 2,500. I think they had at least two copies, though!! That was back in the days when you could buy Mono or Stereo– I think Stereo was a dollar more. Not that it mattered, since I could only afford to buy a nickel’s worth of candy corn in the candy department… : (

      Thanks so much for your support, Linda– yeah, yeah, yeah!! : )


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