Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverwhip creamThe album was filed just before Harry Belafonte's Calypso.
A for Alpert. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana brass. And amid the Broadway musicals and the Beethoveen, this album seemed out of place. Whipped Cream and Other Delights. Much to your young amazement, the cover featured a woman in a sumptuous gown of virginal white whipped cream. Could we judge this album by its cover? No. But it made us listen.
Whipped Cream & Other Delights
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoverCreamDisraeliGearsOnly then would we marvel at the artwork of Martin Sharp, who designed the album cover and co-wrote "Tales of brave Ulysses."
We'd buy an album because a critic wrote, "I saw rock and roll's future and its name is Bruce Springsteen."
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverspringsteenbruce1973wildtheinnocentandtheestreetshuffleOnly then would we check out the cover and realize that our savior had a bad mustache. We'd buy an album because it was a band we loved and we couldn't wait to hear their newest stuff.
The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CovertalkingheadsOnly then would we run our fingers over the raised bumps of the manhole cover design. We'd buy an album because our older brother saw the band at The Aragon Ballroom and said the band changed his life.
Fear of Music
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coveru-240The music may always come first, but those album covers have gathered a history all their own. Some of us have spent a portion of our lives in a gallery of our own design. 12" squares of art. Album covers.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coveru-240.a And there came a time when you began to feel that these record albums were too cumbersome to move. They were difficult to store. So you discarded them. You gave them to charity, you sold them for pocket change in garage sales, you tried unsuccessfully to make a killing on ebay during a period when everyone else was trying to make a killing on ebay. Maybe you bragged about it. "Got rid of my old albums. I have everything on compact disc now. Or you dismissed your record collection by saying, my ipod has all my music."
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coveralbum-The-Clash-London-CallingYou're looking at the album cover of The Clash London Calling and regret washes over you like a Lake Michigan seche.
Never surrender your album covers.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CovertomWaits-smallChangeIsn't hard to imagine listening to Tom Waits "Small Change" without holding that album cover and seeing a world weary Waits in a stripper's dressing room?Small Change
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverpatti smith-horsesDo you want to listen to the album Horses without Robert Mapplethorpe's portrait of Patti Smith looking at you as if to say, "If Joan of Arc had a rock band, she'd look like this."Horses
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverclash-london-calling 2Can you judge a rock n roll album by its cover? Not always, but you can judge a music fan by his album covers.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Cover1A long time ago in a galaxy not too far away, I was giving several elementary school children a tour of a radio station.
As I was pointing out the turntables, I noticed a little boy pull out an album from the shelves.
It was Roxy Music's Country Life. Pastoral Decadence at its most graphic which is just my way of saying frontal nudity. Excuse me young man, that band is way ahead of its time and so are you.
If we are to address any judgment of album covers, we must address undressing.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverohio playersDid bands really think that the beauty of the human form was the best way to introduce their music? They did if the human form was an almost naked woman in a fire hat holding a fire hose. The Ohio Players took the album cover from the art studio to The Penthouse with a series of album covers that have to be seen to be believed. Career advice? They don't have to be seen at work. Do artists always choose their album covers?
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Cover1For Electric Ladyland, Jimi Hendrix wanted to a photo of his band next to an Alice in Wonderland sculpture. Their record company chose a photograph of 19 naked women. No band. Just 19 naked women. How do you judge a band by that cover? Hey whoever this band is, they know a lot of naked women. Wait a minute do I know her?Electric Ladyland
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverhendrix3The U.S. version featured a fiery portrait of Hendrix, which was perfect. As album covers became the new canvas for artists and photographers it invited the usual artistic pretensions.Electric Ladyland
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverblindfaith2Bob Seidemann designed the original Blind Faith album cover to depict the tension between the future and human innocence.
A silver spaceship invoked the future. Human innocence was a young British schoolgirl naked from the waist up. Some viewed this album cover as an arresting and artful image.
Others thought it was just arresting.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoveryessongsThe band Yes adopted the otherworldly dreamscapes of artist Roger Dean to adorn their catalog. If you were to look at the art work on Yessongs, you might start wondering how much progressive rock James 'Avatar' Cameron was listening to in the early 70's.Yessongs
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CovermollyhatchetFrank Frazetta become an immortal fantasy artist as the creator of Conan the Barbarian, but his visual sorcery graced album covers for Molly Hatchet. What did those album covers reveal about the recording artist? Some 70's southern rock was very, very scary.
Flirtin' With Disaster
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverking+crimson+in+the+courtWhile Frazetta was prolific, Barry Godber gave the world only one painting. It became the cover of 'In The Court of the Crimson King.' Of course, when you talk rock albums and art, the 90 pound gorilla in the room is Andy Warhol.
In The Court of the Crimson King
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CovervelvetundergroundHis banana on the cover of The Velvet Underground and Nico is as famous as the band it promoted and that's saying something in a business teeming with famous bananas. The original banana cover included small print instructions to "Peel slowly and see." The Velvet Underground and Nico
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoverSticky FingersThe Rolling Stones had their own revealing Warhol album cover.
Sticky Fingers arrived in record stores with a working zipper. Somewhere in the labyrinth archives of XRT is our original copy of that record album. Pull down the zipper and you were treated to dj comments human resources will never see.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Cover1Does the absence of the eye-catching album cover change the listening dynamic in the digital age?
Of course, it does. We can multi-task now. You can listen to your I Tunes library while you delete emails under the heading, "really, this is funny." Who doesn't love to push shuffle on their I pod and settle into some serious Call of Duty on-line blood lust? I mean besides me.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CovercheapthrillsIn 1968 you snuck the album, Cheap Thrills up to your room because your parents had not yet learned to appreciate the delicate nuances of Zap Comics. While you listened to the paint peeling rasp of Janis Joplin, you stared at R. Crumb cartoon stylings on the cover and thought to yourself, "you're sick, gimp, but I'm game."Cheap Thrills
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CovermothersinventionAlbum covers were the visual aid to assure your absorption.
Album covers were the ornate tickets to the rock and roll inferno.
The artist Neon Park provided Frank Zappa with a disturbing cartoon for the cover of Weasels Ripped My Flesh where a man wielded a weasel clumsily as a straight razor. Now there's an image more indelible than a Buggles music video.
Weasels Ripped My Flesh
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoverlittlefeatNeon Park went on to create the distinctive album cover art for Little Feat.
His cover for "Sailing Shoes' featured the long neck of a snail inclining towards what appears to be a female chocolate layer cake in a swing with a missing wedge of the dessert.
We looked and listened and our memory drifted like snow on a Minnesota woodshed.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoverjeffersonairplaneThe German artist Mati Klarwein was psychedelic before The Legend of A Mind he was surreallistic before the pillow.Surreallistic pillow
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoversantanaHis 1961 painting, Annunciation, became the heady album cover for Santana "Abraxas"Abraxas
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CovermilesdavisHis cover for Bitches Brew by Miles Davis is sensuous and transformational. A woman's head exudes a tornado that stretches into a cloud, a visual reverie which described exactly what happened to a legion of new Miles Davis fans.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverxtc-go-2-album-coverFor their second album, XTC deconstructed album art by filling the cover with a typewritten explanation of what an album cover is. They wrote,
What we are really suggesting is that you are FOOLISH to buy or not buy an album merely as a consequence of the design on its cover. This is a con because if you agree then you'll probably like this writing - which is the cover design - and hence the album inside.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverpink_floyd_collageIronically, Hipgnosis, the art design collective that helped with XTC's non album cover album cover were the same people who gave us all the classic Pink Floyd album covers.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverpink_floyd_-_dark_side_of_the_moonThe prism on Dark Side of the Moon.Dark Side of the Moon
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverpink-floyd-animals-719499The airborn Pig over the power plant on Animals. They worked with Genesis and Peter Gabriel, T-Rex and 10cc.
Hipgnosis did album art for 20 different releases in 1977 alone.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoverMontrose-Jump-On-It-apr20They even managed two of the least tasteful album covers in rock and roll.
The covers for Montrose "Jump on It" and...
Jump on It
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coveralbum-thunderbox...Humble Pie "Thunderbox." But then taste is in the mouth of the beholder.Thunderbox
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coveralbum-The-Cars-CandyOSo when we consider the Peruvian artist, Alberto Vargas and his album cover for the Cars-Candy-O, do we eye the reclining pin-up as mere vulgar commercialism or must we consider the gravity of the artist's reputation?Candy-O
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Covermeet-the-beatlesThe title was simple.
Meet the Beatles. It also said: The first album by England's Phenomenal Pop Combo.Combo? Combo sounded like a coupla guys with a sax and some bongos. And it wasn't even their first album.
What did this album cover tell us about the music? Four men. Half of each face cloaked in darkness. From those half moon portraits, what did we anticipate? That their weird haircuts would fill offices of high school principals?
That the little girls understand? An album cover so pervasive that no one could ever put out an album with four faces on it without someone saying, "They're doing a kind of Meet the Beatles thing."
Meet the Beatles became the template for dozens of album covers.
Meet The Beatles
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverthe nazz2Todd Rundgren's 'Nazz.'Nazz
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoversPbfwI8ibZq7KZ2RfuIwTcVan Halen II 'OU812'OU812
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coveralbum-red-30th-anniversary-edition-remasteredKing Crimson 'Red'Red
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoverKiss+-+Kiss...even the debut album from Kiss.
Of all the Beatles covers, three stand out.Kiss
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoverRevolverKlaus Voorman's collage of photos and drawing for 'Revolver.'Revolver
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coversgt-pepperThe cardboard cutout hall of fame on 'Sgt. Pepper's.'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverbeatles_-_abbey_roadAnd the street immortalized by the band in the crosswalk of Abbey Road.
These are pictures that have connections that go beyond language.
Our dialogue about famous album covers requires little explanation...
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoverSteveEarleTownesCoverArtThe age of the compact disc has left us with miniatures, but musicians remain committed to the art of the album cover. Before Tony Fitzpatrick began his series of Steve Earle album covers, the Neville Brothers found him out for their cover of Yellow Moon.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoverMUDD1784Here was a triptych worthy of a New Orleans renaissance. Rosa Parks with angel wings.
Images that delivered us to a place where music was more than the pastime, music was the magic, music was the voodoo.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverexecution+3Mekon maven, Waco Brother, Musician, dj, and visual artist Jon Langford brings his graveyard visions of cowboy singers to the covers of his own albums and his pictures of legends like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams have made that short trip from the art opening to the album cover.
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoverMiddle_cyclone_album_coverOn the cover of Middle Cyclone, Neko Case surfed the hood of a Mercury Cougar crouched like a tiger, sword in hand. The cover seemed to tell us she was not a singer to easily suffer fools. Middle Cyclone
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Cover1Combine a seminal CD with an imaginative album cover and they became one with our universe.Nevermind
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album Coverwhite-album-coverIronically, that Liverpool band whose album covers we know the best is the same band that taught us that album covers are only as important as the music they protect. Who says you need anything on your cover?The White Album
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoverblackWhat album covers would you add to this list? Share your favorites below in the comments section. Can you judge an album by it's cover?
Lin Brehmer’s History Of The Album CoverHumble Pie _Thunderbox_ -KW