Pioneer of Cover Art Dies

I grew up saving money to buy albums. Big 33 and 1/3 rpm, vinyl albums with liner notes, lyrics, and cover art. When CDs arrived packaging was extended to give buyers the same sense of bigness. (FYI drug companies and now books inflate packaging or print so it seems like you are getting more. Who knew? We supersize sort of culture. Just check Dune in regular size and the new 800+page version that takes up more room on a shelf and feels more like an “I need an editor” Harry Potter tome). Oh right, back to the idea here (and where the hell is my editor one could ask).

The Times reports that the man who created the first art for LPs has died. Cover art fascinates me. At once it is, or was, a way to sell; yet it has its place as art too. The covers to almost any Blue Note album evokes a special moment in style and vibe. Others from the 1960s, 70s, and onward are special too. Sgt. Pepper’s spawned emulations by Prince and others I think. The images became part of the invitation to explore a world and mind set.

So think of a cover that has meaning for you and share. In the interim, check out these two and see what memories they may stir:

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8 Responses

  1. Orin Kerr says:

    **
    The covers to almost any Blue Note album evokes a special moment in style and vibe.
    **

    Yes, Reid Miles was a genius. I recommend this book of Blue Note cover art.

    Or just go here and start scrolling:
    http://www.birkajazz.com/archive/blueNote4000.htm

  2. Lawrence Cunningham says:

    Cool post Deven!

  3. Think too of Cream’s Disaeli Gears, or It’s a Beautiful Day, or Neil Young’s Harvest, or Traffic’s The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys, or Janis Joplin’s Cheap Thrills, or the Kinks’ Arthur–Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire, or several Grateful Dead covers, or Santana’s Abraxas, the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine….

  4. oops: “Disraeli Gears”

  5. See too the jacket cover for We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite New York: Candid Records, 1960. Record jacket. Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division. (9-6) Courtesy of Candid Production, LTD

    Image: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/odyssey/archive/09/0906001r.jpg

  6. Marc Blitz says:

    Nirvana’s “Never Mind” — http://sleevage.com/nirvana-nevermind/
    (Here is the Bart Simpson version: http://wallpapers.jurko.net/pic/10100/)

    King Crimson’s “In the Court of the Crimson King” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Court_of_the_Crimson_King

    The sleeve for the Super Furry Animals’ single Herman ♥’s Pauline, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_♥%27s_Pauline, as well as the other cover art created for them by Pete Fowler.

    Baby Astronauts’ “All the Pancakes You Can Eat” — each album cover had 1/1000th of a painting by the Baby Astronauts — http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=1309181 and
    http://www.discogs.com/Baby-Astronauts-All-The-Pancakes-You-Can-Eat/release/1309181

    and one with an interesting IP law story going with it:

    The original cover art for the Sufjan Steven’s album “Come on Feel the Illinoise.” The record company had to cover up with a balloon sticker, and ultimately remove, the picture of Superman on the front because of the copyright issues. Or so says Wikipedia: See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois_(album)

  7. Ken Rhodes says:

    Wow! Opened the door to a room in my mind that I hadn’t visited in a few years!

    Seeing the “Kind of Blue” cover immediately brought to mind the one I think of as its fraternal twin, “Round About Midnight.” Seldom in the record industry did album covers epitomize “onomatopoeia of the picture” like those Miles Davis covers. Now that I think of it, so did “Sketches of Spain.” I see the picture and the horn talks to me.

    Thanx.

  8. Marc Blitz says:

    Nirvana’s “Never Mind”

    King Crimson’s “In the Court of the Crimson King”

    The Super Furry Animals’ single Herman ♥’s Pauline, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_♥%27s_Pauline, as well as the other cover art created for SFA by Pete Fowler.

    Baby Astronauts’ “All the Pancakes You Can Eat” — each album cover had 1/1000th of a painting by the Baby Astronauts
    http://www.discogs.com/Baby-Astronauts-All-The-Pancakes-You-Can-Eat/release/1309181

    and one with an interesting IP law story to go with it:

    The original cover art for the Sufjan Steven’s album “Come on Feel the Illinoise.” The image of Superman flying over Chicago had to be covered with a balloon sticker, and ultimately removed entirely, thanks to copyright concerns.