Jun 232008

While the Rolling Stones continue to battle Rod Stewart and the Faces in the 1970s and once more find the merits of their later work in question in the Rock Town Hate thread, this seems as good a time as any to take a closer look at the oft-maligned cover of their 1986 Dirty Work album.

They come in colors...

As photographed by Annie Leibovitz, the Dirty Work cover could be viewed as testament of what had gone wrong for the Stones. Lounging about in garishly bright outfits, the band seemed to embody the ideas of 1980s excess and lack of taste. Indeed, this was something of a sign of the times, as the band photo was reportedly a record label mandate, and Dirty Work may have been the first Stones album to be released on both vinyl and compact disc.

Though perhaps not the most popular album cover in the Stones’ catalog, Dirty Work does stand as not just a symbol of the times, but also a commentary on the band itself. As someone once sang, every picture tells a story.
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Mar 142008

This clip from Under the Covers, the actually interesting rock documentary of ’70s So-Cal album cover artists Gary Burden and Henry Diltz, is believed to be the “smoking gun” of the moment when ’70s rock ‘n roll first took a hard turn for the worse.

The back cover shot documented at the end of this clip is one of rock’s true “If only…” images.

Nov 102007

I’m always on the look out for sites that showcase LP/CD and related artwork. Here are some links to checkout:

Record Envelope
LP Cover Lover (my favorite is above…)
Blue Note Covers Gallery
Album Cover Art Gallery
I suppose I must link this over-linked Worst Album Covers page.

Sadly one of my favorites – a large collection of Bollywood LP covers seems to be offline now. Please post some links to good LP/CD art in the comments if you have any…

Jul 242007

Hey, that’s my old copy!

Last week, I believe it was, Townsman 2000 Man made mention of an album cover that was so appealing that he couldn’t resist buying the album, despite the fact that he knew almost nothing about the band. I had a similar experience in high school when I first saw a huge display of Elvis Costello’s My Aim Is True at the old Peeches record store on Roosevelt Boulevard. I bet I wasn’t alone in taking the plunge on that album. Great cover! In the days of vinyl and 12-inch come-ons for artists’ new works, I’m sure I took a chance on a couple of albums per year. These days, the old CD cover doesn’t pull as much weight with my wallet. What album covers made you take a chance on an artist you knew almost nothing about?

While you’re pondering this, if we kept track of the ratio of albums sales based on cover art to actual spins of purchased record, would any album have a lower ratio of sales to spins than the classic Zwol album? My guess is that my personal 1 sale:2 spins for that album is not far off the average among the other 43 people in the world who probably bought that album just for its ridiculous cover.

I look forward to the anticipation with which Oats looks forward to your responses!

Jun 062007

Art Rock

I must ask you – all of you, even those of you who have yet to partake in the daily dialog at Rock Town Hall – to check in and help me compile a list that will serve a very important purpose. Some of you may be aware of my aversion to lists for lists’ sake, but although this is what it will seem I’m requesting, I can assure you, your timely contributions will be for the greater good. So here goes maybe the least though-provoking question I’ll ever ask on Rock Town Hall:

In no particular order, please list the first 5 great album covers that come to mind when you think “great album covers.”

Please feel free to include a link to a favorite album cover, in case it’s one that may not immediately come to everyone’s mind the way, say, Sticky Fingers might.

Not too hard to do, is it? Don’t fret over your answer. Give it to my from the gut. If you’ve never registered and posted on Rock Town Hall before, here’s your chance. There are instructions down the right column of this page. Those of you who do not contribute to this list will likely regret not pitching in on the eventually historic effort that we will be conducting. I thank you in advance from the bottom of my heart.


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