Tribute to three sides of Fab Four

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The Independent Online
Next month, an upsurge in Beatlemania looks likely on a level not seen since the Fab Four's heyday in the Sixties. November sees the release of a single, recorded by Paul, George and Ringo with old vocals from John, widely expected to be the Christmas number one. A six-part ITV series, The Beatles Anthology, with exclusive archive material on the Fab Four, is also to be screened.

But now, Mojo magazine has come up with perhaps the most lavish tribute. In an unprecedented move, the music magazine is producing three separate covers for its November edition, out on Tuesday.

The three covers feature the band from their moptop era in 1964, their psychedelic period in 1967 and nearing their last days in 1968. The edition devotes 70 pages to the band and the magazine is hoping it will become a collector's item.

Mojo's editor, Mat Snow, denies that the unusual decision to use three covers is a marketing ploy. "The Beatles were huge stars from 1963 to 1969 and they had numerous image changes during that period. Everyone has their favourite Beatles image and there's no such thing as a definitive Beatles image.

"It's an idea we have learnt from the recording industry: just as they have several different mixes for a record, we have three different covers."

Mr Snow rejected the idea of three covers with each of the three remaining Beatles. "We would have had a bundle of unsold magazines lying in a warehouse with Ringo on the cover," he said.

The Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, who wrote the complete Beatles chronicle and who contributed to the Mojo edition, reckons the issue will prove popular with Beatles collectors. "A lot of love and care has gone into the subject and the fans will probably be delighted," he said.

The idea of multiple magazine covers is one that has gained popularity in recent months. In August, GQ offered readers the choice between two covers - one of the model Helena Christensen and one with the actor Hugh Grant - while London's listings magazine Time Out produced two covers, one showing a model with a T-shirt proclaiming "North London Sucks" and the other in which the T-shirt read "South London Sucks".

Mr Snow was keen to stress the difference rests with Mojo's three covers. "I would love people to buy all three but, although the covers are different, the content inside is the same. We believe they will be collected and kept in 20 years' time," he said.