Friday, June 30, 2006

Album Covers that Sealed The Deal

Album cover artwork has long captured the record buyer's imagination. This trend has been around for many generations with no end in sight. From the classic covers of Roger Dean artwork to the photo covers by Henry Diltz, there's great art there. Personally, I've stared at a million albums while being hypnotized by it's musical contents always hoping to view something that I hadn't previously noticed. Growing-up in Memphis, "The Home of Rock & Roll," I had an early Baptism to the combination of great music and supporting artwork. By the time that I was knee-high to a Silvertone Amp, I was shuffling through hordes of albums collected by family members. But if that wasn't enough exposure, my next-door neighbor was a jukebox vendor for Papa Joe Coughi's Popular Tunes Record Shop. All those records that were "taboo" in my household and hard for us kids to purchase were given to us from this generous donator. Somehow those favorite records always found a home. Here's a posting on a few of those collectables and other treasured items that I promoted and have been boxed-away in my garage for years. Got turntable?

Okay, now that you've seen the cover, you can draw your own conclusions. I promise I've never listened to this "How to Speak Hip" album so I guess that I'm not as groovy as one might think. Imagine the look on the record clerk's face when going to the counter to purchase this jewel.

Here we have the perfect prescription for disaster. An album of great music but with a controversial album jacket. Blind Faith's brilliant album featuring recently departed members from Cream and Traffic, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood were denied major retail placement of their new release because the album cover picture displayed a prepubescent nude female. My phone at the distributor was ringing off the wall with complaints and knee-jerk comments. After a recall of the album, a new cover featuring band members was reinserted and placed into a satisfied distribution system.

This LP was featured in the notorious Stax Records release of 27 albums on the same promotional launch. Steve Cropper's "With A Little Help from my Friends" album cover was a bright array of psychedelic colors and soulful sounds. Truly a collector's item.

A beautifully designed album jacket that had consumers anxiously opening the package to heed it's contents. The artwork was an early component to the Art-Deco movement in American households during the 70's. Bette Midler's first album was a pleasant surprise receiving generous airplay and chart success.

Atlantic Records was pressured by CSN&Y's management to spend the money in the manufacturing of this classic cover. The exterior of the album "Deja Vu" had the granulated touch of a leather bound book and designed with inlaid gold lettering.

This dinosaur album cover from the early 60's by famed conductor Martin Denny used the taboo word of "Exotica" as to suggest it's contents were appropriate mood music or maybe even suggest bedroom music.

This fine album titled "Back to Back" by Booker T. and The MG's & The Mar-Keys used a live shot from their Stax Europe Tour as to mirror the albums contents.

This controversial cover was pulled from the retail stores when it was discovered that the sliced portion of the pie depicted a vulva. After the recall, the jacket artwork was tweaked to satisfy it's critics.

As an Atlantic promotion man during the release of The Rolling Stone's "Sticky Fingers" album, I was bombarded with complaints from radio and retail personnel about it's vulgar cover. Some liked it, some didn't. This Andy Warhol designed jacket actually had a real zipper located in the center. I know what you're thinking. Don't ask.