AlbumArtExchange Blog: Album Art Flashback Archives

Album Art Flashback Category

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Because it is scheduled to be reissued on CD and vinyl next month, I was planning on writing about the controversial cover art for The Residents' 1976 album The Third Reich 'N Roll. Then, I read about the death of Dick Clark yesterday and wondered when it would ever be appropriate. So, I am just going to go for it.

The album cover was controversial because it features an illustration depicting Clark in a Nazi uniform and holding a carrot. The cover also includes several swastikas and cartoon images Adolf Hitler. As one would guess, many stores refused to display the album and it was banned in West Germany, where display of the swastika and other Nazi symbols was illegal. A censored cover (above right) was later created for the German market. All of the swastikas and images of Hitler were covered with a white strip with the word "censored" written on it.

There are several versions of this album cover. The first vinyl pressing can be recognized by the orange carrot, which is gray in second release of the album. The latest reissue will include the original artwork. It is scheduled to be released on May 8, 2012.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Today is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. So, it is appropriate to feature the artwork for the soundtrack for the 1997 film about the disaster. Titanic: Music from the Motion Picture made history on its own by rising to the top of the Billboard 200, selling over 30 million copies and becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time. It also has the record for being the highest-selling orchestral soundtrack ever.

The cover art for the album has been updated for a new anniversary edition. The original version (below) is a square version of the theatrical release movie poster. It features the film's stars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

Posted by: Foundation
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Album Art Flashback: Just Say Yo

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In the mid-1980s, record labels began to produce CD samplers in order to promote the newly introduced Compact Disc format. One of the most noteworthy series of CD samplers was Sire Records' Just Say Yes series. It was produced from 1987 to 1994 and includes seven volumes.

The second volume, Just Say Yo: Volume 2 of Just Say Yes, featured remixes, extended versions and non-album tracks of artists on the Sire Records label. The artwork featured a rabbit as a tribute to the label's parent company Warner Brothers and Bugs Bunny. Art direction for the project is credited to Kim Champagne. Champagne has a long list of album design and art direction credits during the 1980s and early 1990s. The most notable is perhaps the design for Paul Simon's Graceland. Other notable artists with album covers designed by Champagne include Aerosmith, a-ha, Van Halen, Chris Isaak and Faith No More.

Just Say Yo is my personal favorite in the series. It features tracks by Depeche Mode, Morrissey, Erasure and many other interesting artists of the era. I think I purchased every album that was promoted by it. 

Posted by: Scott
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Last month, President Obama delighted the audience at a fundraiser by singing the beginning of Al Green's 1972 hit Let's Stay Together. A video of Obama's brief performance went viral on YouTube and sales for Green's version of the song on digital retailers like iTunes and Amazon.com increased by almost 500 percent.

The song appears on the album by the same name. The title track became Green's signature song and his only number one pop chart single. The cover featured a photograph of Green wearing a suede and leather jacket and leaning against a wall.

While the photographer is not credited, the design is credited to Jools DeVere. DeVere has along list of package design credits for artists such as The Zombies, The Everly Brothers, Three Dog Night, and Elvis Costello over a span of almost 50 years.

The cover is noteworthy for being an early use of urban graffiti-style typography. I do not know of many other examples from the early 1970s that feature dripping paint on a wall. Of course, The Rolling Stones 1968 album Beggars Banquet is famous for featuring bathroom graffiti. 

Posted by: zeefritz
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Looking back on the cover art for the 1981 album Tattoo You by the Rolling Stones, it is difficult to remember why it was considered to shocking. The illustration of a tattooed face would barely get noticed these days. We are much more likely to see a photograph of a real face with tattoos, piercings and other bizarre modifications.

However, the album cover did result in minor controversy and concern about influencing people to get facial tattoos. While there were no actual cases of people getting the tattoos shown on the cover, it drew enough interest for the designer, Peter Corriston, to be awarded a Grammy for Best Package Design. Photography for the cover is credited to Hubert Kretzschmar and the illustration to Christian Piper.

The image below is from the 2009 reissue from Universal Music. A scan of the original 1981 LP has not yet been added to the AAX gallery.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Chicago X

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Released in 1976, Chicago X is the tenth album by American rock band Chicago. The album reached the #3 position on the Billboard Pop Album chart and featured the band's #1 single If You Leave Me Now.

The album cover was designed by Grammy award winning American graphic designer and art director John Berg. The former creative director and vice president of Columbia/CBS Records, Berg oversaw the creation of countless album covers from 1961 to 1985. Berg did 14 album covers for Chicago before leaving his position at the label.

The cover for Chicago X is perhaps the one most often associated with the band. It was designed to look like a Hersey's chocolate bar, with the brand's trademarked brown and silver wrapper pealed back to reveal the name of the band embossed in chocolate. The album cover won a Grammy for Best Package Design in 1977. 

I was in high school when this album was released and recall seeing several photographs of people pretending to be eating the giant chocolate bar LP sleeve. The joke just would not be the same with a CD.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Ray of Light by Madonna

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AAX gallery contributor Tim Barron recently suggested that I write about some of the notable winners of the Grammy Award for Best Recording Package. The award was introduced in 1959 and many of the winners had an influence of album cover designs for years afterward.

The 1999 winner was Kevin Reagan for Ray of Light by Madonna. Reagan is credited for art direction on the project. The design is credited to Kerosene Halo and Kevin Reagan. The photography was done by Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino.

The cover for Ray of Light has been imitated quite a few times over the years. The most recent example is a series of images used by Ellie Goulding for her 2010 album Bright Lights (above right). The use of a fan to blow Goulding's blond hair over her face from behind was obviously inspired by the earlier cover. The addition of the fairy lights do not really improve the concept.

Reagan has won three Grammy Awards for Best Package Design. In addition to Ray of Light, he won in 2001 for Madonna's album Music and in 2003 for Home by Dixie Chicks. Neither Music nor Home had the influence that Ray of Light did on future album cover designs.

Posted by: Joseebus
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Album Art Flashback: Step II by Sylvester

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One of the things I regret most as far as my music collection goes is when I took all of my vinyl records to Wherehouse and traded them in to start my CD collection. At the time, we were told that almost every album ever recorded would eventually be made available on CD. Of course, we now know that is far from what ended up happening. 

One of the albums that I regret trading in is Step II by Sylvester (Sylvester James). The 1978 album reached #28 on the Billboard 200 and #7 on the R&B chart. It includes the disco classic You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real), which peaked at #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached #20 on the Hot Soul Singles chart.

In spite of being a very influential album, Step II has not made available on CD except for a 1995 UK release that combines both Step II and Sylvester's 1977 self-titled album. I have heard that this CD is not of the best quality.

The memorable album cover was designed by Dennis Gassner. The art director was the late Fantasy Records art director Phil Carroll who passed away last year. It is a strange image of a yellow liquid in a martini glass being tipped over in a bathroom by a woman's foot that is covered in glitter. It is similar to many the surreal album covers of the era that were influenced by the British design group Hipgnosis. 

Posted by: 50poundnote
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Released in 1993, River of Dreams is Billy Joel's 12th studio album. The album reached #1 on the Billboard album chart and remained on top for three weeks. It was Joel's last pop album and featured two Top 40 singles, the title track and All About Soul.

The title and cover art for the album were inspired by the title track, The River of Dreams. The song was nominated for a Grammy, but lost to I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston.

The cover was painted by Joel's then-wife, supermodel Christie Brinkley. I recall that when the album was released the cover art was both ridiculed and praised. Most of the criticism stemmed from Brinkley's naive painting skill. Almost two decades later, I like it much better than I did when I first saw it. However, the painting has a very fanciful look that does not connect with the serious tone of most of the music on the album.

Posted by: Gulickson
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This Album Art Flashback is from 1959 and features one of the most successful compilation albums in music history. 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong: Elvis' Gold Records - Volume 2 is Elvis Presley's ninth album. It was released on RCA Victor Records in November 1959 and reached #31 on the Billboard album chart.

The title of the album and the artwork probably had Elvis fans scratching their heads when the record was released. The title is based on a 1927 Sophie Tucker hit called Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong. The album cover features a photograph of Elvis wearing a gold gold lamé suit. The image is repeated 14 times in various sizes. The design is similar to the pop art style that emerged several years after its release.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Another interesting thing about this album cover is that it has inspired several imitations over the years. Whether they are parodies or simply paying homage to the King is debatable for each particular album cover. There are albums that use a variation of the title alone. There are others that feature multiple images and at least two that go all the way with gold lamé. 

Below are several examples from the AAX gallery. Included are covers from Bon Jovi, Elvis Costello, Rod Stewart and three other artists.

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Album Art Flashback: Schubert Dip by EMF

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emf-unbeli.jpgSchubert Dip is the debut album by the UK electronic music band EMF (Epsom Mad Funkers). Released in May 1991, the album featured the band's only #1 hit single, Unbelievable (right). The single Lies made it to #18 on the Billboard Hot 100, disqualifying EMF from having "one hit wonder" status.

The design of the album cover is credited to EMF and London graphic design company Green Ink. The CD that I purchased 20 years ago from Columbia House does not have the album title on it. It is also cropped a little bit tighter than the version commonly seen online. There are also versions that are not cropped as much at the top of the cover, showing about 1/4 inch more of the design.

The back cover of the album features an early photograph by noted rock photographer Kevin Westenberg. Westenberg went on to photograph superstar bands like U2 and Coldplay.

The video screen effect used on the typography for the band's name on the album and the Unbelievable single is still very popular. There have been several recent examples by artists such as Depeche Mode and Lady GaGa.

Posted by: Scott
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0108kevorkian.jpgJack Kevorkian (right), the notable activist for who served eight years in prison for his cause, died in a Michigan hospital today. Kevorkian was being treated for pneumonia and kidney problems. He was 83.

In addition to be a physician and an advocate for physician-assisted suicide, Kevorkian was also a jazz musician and a talented oil painter. His work often featured grotesque subjects, such as a child eating a rotting corpse and Santa Claus crushing a baby in a manger.

In 1996, American metal band Acid Bath used one of Kevorkian's paintings and the  cover  for their second album, Paegan Terrorism Tactics. Because of the controversy surrounding Kevorkian, the album was banned was banned from Australia.

Acid Bath had already stirred up trouble by featuring a painting by serial killer John Wayne Gacy on the cover of their 1994 debut album, When the Kite String Pops. Both album covers are noteworthy because they were painted by notorious men, one known as "Dr. Death" and the other one of the most prolific serial killers in American history.

Both Acid Bath covers can be viewed in the AAX gallery. The Kervorkian cover features three rabbits pulling Jesus out of an Easter egg. It is an obvious commentary on the commercialization of Christianity.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Martini Ranch

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martin-reachs_03.jpgMartini Ranch is a new wave music collective created by Andrew Todd Rosenthal (a.k.a. Andy Todd) in 1982. The group was comprised of Rosenthal, actor Bill Paxton, and several popular 1980s new wave artists and actors.

From 1986 to 1988, Martini Ranch released two EPs and one album, Holy Cow. The band's sound was compared to both Oingo Boingo and Devo. That is understandable, since three members of Devo contributed to the album.

Music videos were created for the songs How Can the Labouring Man Find Time for Self-Culture? and Reach. James Cameron directed the video for Reach. It is a cowboy-themed production that stars Paxton as a gunslinger and features cameos by Kathryn Bigelow, Paul Reiser, Judge Reinhold, Brian Thompson, Adrian Pasdar, and several other noteworthy actors.

The artwork for the album and the Reach single (right) were created by graphic designer and collage artist Lou Beach. Beach has a long list of album cover design credits for artists such as Neville Brothers, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Blink 182, and David Sanborn. The cover for Holy Cow is similar to Beach's design for Blink 182's 1997 release, Dude Ranch. Both covers feature wacky cattle under blue western skies.

Posted by: Scott
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soundt-gleeca-songbi_03.jpgOn last night's episode of Glee, the cast covered songs from the 1977 Fleetwood Mac album Rumours. The episode called Rumours, included versions of Dreams, Never Going Back Again, Songbird (right), I Don't Want To Know, Go Your Own Way and Don't Stop. Also, The Chain was used as part of the background music for the episode.

Rumours is Fleetwood Mac's 11th studio album. It is the band's most successful album, winning a Grammy and charting at number one on both the U.S. and U.K. charts. It also reached the top of the charts in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Netherlands and South Africa. In 1978, Rumours won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

The album cover for Rumours The front cover features a photograph of Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks. Both are dressed in Renaissance-style costumes, with Nicks dressed as her stage persona Rhiannon. The photograph was taken by Herbert Worthington. The design is credited to Desmond Strobel and the calligraphy to Larry Vigon.

Many color variations of the cover can be found online. The background can range from a brownish gray to pale yellow. The example shown below is from the first CD release and is probably closer to the original LP than most. Original LPs are typically quite faded or yellow with age.

Posted by: Scott
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Album Art Flashback: The Wrestling Album

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For those of you who watched President Obama's comedy performance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner this evening and wondered about the song used in the opening clip, here is the scoop. The song is Real American by Rick Derringer. Fans of professional wrestling will probably recognize it as theme song of Hulk Hogan.

The song was originally recorded for The Wrestling Album. Released in 1985, it was the first album released by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and featured several theme songs of popular professional wrestlers. Cyndi Lauper is featured on the album as a backing vocalist for Real American. She also produced Lou Albano's track under the pseudonym Mona Flambé.

Many of professional wrestling's superstars from the era are featured on the album cover. The original LP is rare and considered to be a collector's item. It differs slightly from the CD cover shown below.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Unless you're been living under several large boulders, the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William and Catherine Middleton took place this morning. The ceremony wrapped up about 7 a.m. Eastern Time, as the couple signed the marriage register.

Royal Weddings are not everyday occurrences (unless everyone considers their partner Prince Charming and he's always referring to you as Princess). Prince Charles (The Prince of Wales) married Lady Diana Francis Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral on July 29, 1981 in what was widely billed as a "fairytale wedding" and the "wedding of the century". It was watched by a global television audience of 750 million.

The Royal Wedding H.R.H. The Prince of Wales and The Lady Diana Spencer (1981)

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Buy Now Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II) tied the knot with Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (Philip Montbatten, Duke of Edinburgh) on November 20th 1947, also at Westminster Abbey. I am unsure of the exact release year from Griffin & Co Limited, who elaborate: "A celebration in music of the Golden Wedding of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. London Brass, oboist Nicholas Daniel, treble Timothy Dickinson join Martin Baker, organist, to supply the musical accompaniment to this grand celebration. The service included music used in the original wedding, and from the Silver Anniversary in 1972."

Westminster Abbey Choir - The Royal Golden Wedding (2002)

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americ-ptosca-riverd_03.jpgAmerican Idol fans are in shock today following the elimination of one of season 10's most promising contestants, Pia Toscano (right). Pia was voted off the show following a performance of the Ike & Tina Turner classic River Deep - Mountain High.

I must admit that when I heard that Toscano would be performing River Deep - Mountain High, I wondered if she would fall victim to the curse that seems to be associated with it. While the song is hailed by music critics and has been listed as one of the greatest songs of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, it has never been popular with the American public.

Recorded in 1966 by the legendary Phil Spector, River Deep - Mountain High is the title track of an album that can only be described as a flop. The song was touted as Spector's masterpiece. It cost an unprecedented $22,000 to produce and utilized 21 session musicians and 21 background vocalists. However, the PR and the expense did not pay off. After the single and the album failed to chart as hits, Spector withdrew from the music industry for two years.

Tina Turner continues to torture her audiences with River Deep - Mountain High, which has become her signature song and a favorite in Europe. However, most Americans would associate her with What's Love Got to Do with It? and several of her other hits.

During the recording sessions for the album, the late actor Dennis Hopper was permitted to take photographs in the studio. Hopper had been branded as "difficult" by the film industry and was beginning to develop a career as a professional photographer. Hopper's photographs were used for the cover of the album (below). Much like the song, Hopper's photography is praised by critics. By the general public? Not so much.

Posted by: zeefritz
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romeov-girlin.jpgRomeo Void was a American New Wave band that released three albums during the early 1980s. The band's most notable songs are Never Say Never and A Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing). A Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing) reached #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was written as a response to Michael Jackson's hit Billie Jean.

The band was formed in 1979 at the San Francisco Art Institute by vocalist Debora Iyall and bassist Frank Zincavage. In addition to having an amazing voice, Iyall is a talented artist and art teacher. 

Many young rock music fans are likely to compare Iyall to Beth Ditto, the American singer-songwriter who is most famous for her work with the indie rock band Gossip. While both are talented vocalists, many shallow people focus only on the fact that they are larger-size women who don't fit the typical pop star image. The video for A Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing) that is posted below features a smirking 1980s v-jay who makes a snide comment about Iyall's appearance.

In 1992, the band released the compilation album Warm, in Your Coat (below). The cover art for the album features one of Iyall's paintings. I highly recommend visiting her official website. You can check out her music, artwork and learn more about what she has been doing since Romeo Void.

Posted by: zeefritz
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spock-album.jpgToday is Leonard Nimoy's 80th birthday. To commemorate the birth of the legendary actor, director, poet, musician and photographer, here is an album art flashback to 1967. That was the year that Nimoy's debut album, Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space, was released by Dot Records.

The record features songs by Nimoy, sound effects, instrumentals, and science fiction-themed spoken word narration. Autographed copies of the original LP (right) are highly sought after by Star Trek fans. Nimoy made many public appearances to promote the album and unsigned copies of the LP can usually be found on eBay.

The album was re-released on CD in 1995 by Varèse Sarabande Records with additional tracks from Nimoy's second album, Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy.

The cover used for the reissue is basically the same as that of the original LP, with the Dot logo, catalog numbers and stereo banner removed. New copies of the CD are listed on Amazon.com at prices ranging from $85 to $180. Beware of poor-quality bootlegs if you're inclined to purchase it.

Posted by: zeefritz
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I received an email this evening from a reader who was looking for "the album cover with a woman sunbathing on a beach while a nuclear power plant burns" — he did not know the artist or title of the album. I immediately knew that the album was The Crystal Method's Tweekend.

Obviously, the interest in this particular album cover stems from the current nuclear crisis in Japan. I do not intend for this blog article to be insensitive to those who are currently suffering. However, this particular cover is likely to come to mind when people are watching news coverage.

Released in 2001, Tweekend is the second studio album by American electronic music duo The Crystal Method. The album featured the popular lead single Name of the Game, which has been used for several soundtracks and TV commercials. Many people remember the music video for Name of the Game due to a featured character with a giant nose for a face.

The art direction and digital imagery for the album is credited to Larimie Garcia. Considering recent events, the album cover is probably much more shocking than it was when the album was released.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Worldbeat by Kaoma

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jlopez-onthef_02.jpgWhen pop star Jennifer Lopez debuted the music video for her single On the Floor (right) on American Idol on Thursday, many viewers immediately recognized the a sample of the 1989 worldwide smash hit Lambada by the French pop group Kaoma. Lambada featured the Brazilian vocalist Loalwa Braz and was released as the first single from Kaoma's debut album Worldbeat.

Lambada sold over 5 million copies in 1989 and started a woldwide dance craze. It reached number-one on eleven different charts throughout the world and number made it to 46 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song inspired the 1990 feature film The Forbidden Dance.

The music video for Lambada has received over 91 million views on YouTube. With those astonishing numbers, it is surprising that no one had used it in a new pop song prior to Lopez.

On the Floor has climbed to the top spot on iTunes over the last few days and this has created a new interest in Kaoma's original hit. It will be interesting to see whether or not it returns to the charts.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Last night's Oscar win by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the score of The Social Network made me think back 30 years to another Oscar-winning score. In 1981, Greek electronic music composer Vangelis won the Academy Award for his score for the British film Chariots of Fire.

At the time, music created using synthesizers was not as common in film scores as it is today. The fact that Chariots of Fire is a period piece set in the 1920s made the use of electronic music even more unusual. The slow motion opening segment of the film, combined with the theme composed by Vangelis made the film a sensation. The opening segment became iconic and then the subject of countless parodies. The opening theme was released as a single in 1982 and topped the Billboard chart for one week. Vangelis went on to compose the scores for the films Blade Runner and 1492: Conquest of Paradise.

After the Oscar win, the artwork for the Chariots of Fire soundtrack was revised to include an Oscar statue (which is quite uncommon) and the copy "Academy Award, Best Original Score, 1981" (below). I am somewhat surprised that a special 30th anniversary deluxe edition of the album was not released.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Bernard "Bernie" Green was a composer and conductor of music for radio, television and movies in the 1950s and 1960s. His recordings include albums by Wally Cox and Tony Randall and a few LPs with his orchestra. He recorded three albums for RCA: Musically MAD (RCA Victor LSP-1929); The National Football League Marching Songs (RCA Victor LSP-2292); and Futura (RCA Stereo Action LSA-2376).

The National Football League Marching Songs was released in 1961. The cover featured the official NFL logo, copy that read "Officially Sanctioned by the NFL" and the mascots of the 13 NFL teams of 1960 (including this year's Super Bowl participants, the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers).

The album has long been out of production. However, the LP can be found on eBay and Amazon.com. The various tracks are often sold online as unlicensed MP3 ringtones.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Today is the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that ruled that the right to privacy provided by the U.S. Constitution protects the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy. News reports about the anniversary reminded me of the controversial album cover for the seventh volume of the popular Just Say Yes music sampler series from Sire Records.

Released in 1994, Just Say Roe was created by Sire after receiving a letter from a fan who suggested the title and praised the record label for using their brand to bring attention for political and social issues of the time. Although the album has a pro-choice message, the album cover features a morbid painting called "Victims of Our Games" by Chawky Frenn that features doll heads and dead bodies. Of course, this resulted in a mixed message.

The album featured tracks by Madonna, David Byrne, Belly and 13 other artists on the Sire label. It is my least favorite of the Just Say Yes series, in part because of the disturbing cover art.

Posted by: Scott
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u2-pridei_02.jpgI just got home and discovered a message in my inbox from a reader who wanted to know something about the "U2 song about Martin Luther King" and if the cover art is available. MLK Day is almost over, but I decided to write something about U2's Pride (In the Name of Love) anyway.

Pride (In the Name of Love) is the second track on U2's 1984 album, The Unforgettable Fire. It was the album's lead single andwas the band's first top 40 hit in the United States, peaking at #33 on the Billboard chart.

The song was written as a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. has become one of U2's most popular songs. It was ranked at #378 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The front cover of the single features a photograph of U2 by Dutch photographer and film director Anton Corbijn. Corbijn is best known for his work as the creative director for both Depeche Mode and U2.

The back of the single features a photograph of Dr. King with a quotation from The Strength to Love (1963):

Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear; only love can do that. Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illumines it.

There were three music videos produced for the song. The first was shot by director Donald Cammell. Thesecond was directed by Corbijn. The third video is a compilation of footage shot during The Unforgettable Fire recording sessions at Slane Castle.

Posted by: zeefritz
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According to a current news story, pop singer Boy George recently returned a signed Culture Club album cover to a fan after finding it in his home ten years after he recieved it.

The flamboyant singer, whose real name is George O'Dowd, found the "Colour By Numbers" cover while cleaning out his London home and mailed it back to fan Peter Anderson with an autographed photo and an apologetic letter.

Anderson, 66, from Tyne and Wear, northern England, said, "This has taken me on such a nostalgia trip. I'd forgotten all about it ... it must have been 10 or even 12 years ago that I sent it to him."

Source: News.com.au

Released in 1983, Colour by Numbers was Culture Club's second studio album. It featured several hits, including Church of the Poison Mind and Karma Chameleon. The album featured the vocals of both Boy George and Helen Terry. The album has been ranked #96 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s.

The album cover has a very typical look for the 1980s New Wave era, featuring bright colors and simple geometric shapes. The photography for the cover is credited to Jamie J. Morgan. Morgan worked as a stylist and photographer before a brief recording career of his own. In 1986, he released the single Look Good Diving as part of the duo Morgan & McVey. His debut solo album, Shotgun, was released in 1990. 

Posted by: zeefritz
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bcrosb-whitec_08.jpgIt is safe to say that Merry Christmas by Bing Crosby is the grandfather of Christmas albums. Originally released in 1945, the album has been in release in various formats for 65 years. The album has sold over 15 million copies, and is the second best-selling Christmas album of all-time behind Elvis Presley's 1957 holiday album Elvis' Christmas Album.

The current version of the album is titled White Christmas. The title was changed in 1986 by Universal Music Group. However, the the contents of the album was not changed. A remastered mono version was released in 1992 and reissued in 1995. The 1995 version (above right) is the one that is currently in distribution.

Along with the title change, falling snowflakes were added to the classic album art. The cover below is the 1973 version that was released after merged their labels. It is an original scan of the album that was played in my home when I was a child. I believe we had an earlier Decca version that wore out after years of play.

Posted by: zeefritz
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soundt-delfma-timbur_06.jpgTim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, is a 1993 stop motion animation film co-written and produced by Tim Burton. The film is a unique blending of Halloween and Christmas theme, about a Halloween character named Jack Skellington who stumbles upon a portal to a world inhabited by Christmas characters.

Danny Elfman wrote the score for the film, including the lyrics and music for the musical numbers. Elfman was the singing voice of Jack and several other characters.

In 2006, the film was re-released in 3-D. To accompany the film, a special edition of the soundtrack (above right) was reissued, featuring a bonus disc containing covers of five of the film's songs by Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, Marilyn Manson, Fiona Apple and She Wants Revenge. Six original demo tracks by Elfman were also included on the disc.

The artwork for the original soundtrack (below) is a square version of the movie poster. In spite of the cult-like popularity of the movie, a decent version of the album art has been somewhat difficult to locate. The cover for my own CD is very low quality printing and I have never been able to achieve the kind of quality image I think this album deserves.

Posted by: zeefritz
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variou-christ_18.jpgA Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records is an album of Christmas songs, produced by Phil Spector, and originally released on Spector's Philles Records label 1963. The LP is familiar to many people as the 1972 reissue that was renamed Phil Spector's Christmas.

The album has been reissued several times over the years on numerous labels. A remastered CD version was released in 1989 with the title A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, the orginal artwork, and restored mono recording.

In 2009, Sony Music acquired the distribution rights to the Philles Records catalog and reissued the remastered mono album (right) on the Legacy Recordings as a holiday release that same year. A vinyl LP was also reissued on the Sundazed label.

A promotional clip for a documentary I found on YouTube features several who were involved in the making of the original album, including Cher. I was surprised to hear that Spector spent about 10 times the average production costs at the time in making the album.

The original album is one of only twelve LPs released on the Philles Records label. It peaked at number 13 on Billboard Christmas Albums sales chart the year it was released. Original pressings are now considered to be valuable collectors' items. In 2003, the album was ranked number 142 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Thanks to AAX user Da Guy, the gallery has an excellect high-resolution scan of the original LP cover. It bears the Philles Records catalog number PHLP 4005 and has been perfectly restored.

Posted by: Da Guy
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Album Art Flashback: A Very Special Christmas

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variou-verysp_03.jpgA Very Special Christmas is the first in a series of Christmas music compilation albums that benefit Special Olympics. The first of what is now seven albums was released in 1987 and featured songs by Madonna, Sting, U2, Pretenders, Bruce Springsteen, and ten additional famous recording artists.

The series was envisioned by music producer Jimmy Iovine his wife Vicki, who worked as a volunteer for the Special Olympics organization. Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, the founders of A&M Records, and activist Robert Sargent "Bobby" Shriver III, launched the first album. So far, the series has raised over $100 million for Special Olympics.

The cover for the album was designed by the late pop artist Keith Haring. It features a radiant figure holding a child. Many people mistake the image for a madonna and child. However, a "halo" is not seen above the head of the child. The concept is that the person who is caring for the child is the sainted one.

In 1992, the Haring artwork was used for the second album in the series A Very Special Christmas 2 (above right) and for four of the next five albums in the series. It appeared as a small inset on 2003's A Very Special Acoustic Christmas.

Haring died from AIDS complications in 1990. Also, his artwork was used for the cover of the 1992 HIV/AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Dance. Because of this, people sometimes mistakenly assume that the A Very Special Christmas series is a benefit for HIV/AIDS charities.

The video posted below is a promotion for the album that ran on MTV. It features Sting and several children dressed as angels. I think they would have done better with Eurthymics' Annie Lennox singing Winter Wonderland (my favorite song on the album).

Posted by: zeefritz
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liza-note.jpgThe Day After That is a song from the Kander & Ebb musical Kiss of the Spiderwoman. In 1993, Broadway and film legend Liza Minnelli recorded the song and donated the proceeds to AIDS research. The single featured three versions of the song in English, Spanish, and French.

That same year she performed the song for thousands of fans in Central Park at the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. In January 1994, she performed it live on The Tonight Show. The song is considered by many to be the definitive anthem for HIV/AIDS from the 1990s era.

The CD included a reproduction of a handwritten note from Liza (above right) that read:

I believe...
   This song is about the war against dispair.
   This song is about the devastating plague
                   we're going through.
   This song is about... hope.
I believe this song is our call to arms.
                           Liza

Liza persuaded a host of stars, muscians and performers to work on the project. It was produced by Phil Ramone, Billy Stritch, Don Sebesky and Liza. The Spanish language version was translated by Gloria Estefan.

The late photographer and make up artist Kevyn Aucoin photographed Liza for the cover. Art direction is credited to Mark Burdett. Aucion worked with Cher, Janet Jackson, Tina Turner, Courtney Love and hundreds of other artists before his death in 2002.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Adam Sandler

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Fans of actor and comedian Adam Sandler remember that his 1993 comedy album They're All Gonna Laugh at You! includes his holiday classic, The Thanksgiving Song.

I usually give a bit of background information about the album and cover, but I've got to hurry over to the folks' place for Thanksgiving dinner. So, all I have time to share about this album is that art direction is credited to Linda Cobb and Conan O'Brian contributed to it. Enjoy the song and the holiday!

Posted by: Music Hog
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Album Art Flashback: Dare by The Human League

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Dare is the third studio album by British pop band The Human League. It was released in the UK in October 1981 and subsequently in the U.S. under the title Dare! the following year.

The most striking thing about the cover art for Dare is the cropped face of the band's vocalist Phil Oakey. Oakey's lipstick and eye makeup resulted in many who were unfamiliar with the band to assume that the photo was that of a woman. I recall two college buddies arguing about the "chick on the cover" when the album was released. Many people were not convinced that Oakey was a man until they saw the music video for the single Don't You Want Me on MTV.

Unlike Gary Numan, David Bowie and other singers who wore makeup, Phil Oakey was quite a bit prettier. His look was more subtle and less theatrical.

The cover was designed by the band's director of visuals Philip Adrian Wright and graphic designer Ken Ansell. The artwork has been reproduced several times for reissues of the album.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Ghostbusters

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rparke-ghostb_03.jpgThe 1984 film Ghostbusters is a comedy about three ghost exterminators working in an increasingly haunted New York City. Written by co-stars Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, it was one of the most popular of that year and is on record as one of the biggest grossing in U.S. box office history.

The film's theme song, Ghostbusters, was written and performed by singer and songwriter Ray Parker, Jr. The chart topping hit has a place in pop culture history for sparking the popular catchphrases "Who you gonna call?" and "I ain't 'fraid of no ghosts".

The single (right) stayed at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks earned Parker an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

The music video for Ghostbusters was a #1 MTV video. Directed by the film's director Ivan Reitman, the video integrated footage of the film intercut with images of Parker dancing around in a neon living room. The video also started the trend in music videos of featuring cameo appearances by celebrities. Chevy Chase, Irene Cara, John Candy, Nickolas Ashford, Melissa Gilbert, Jeffrey Tambor, George Wendt, Al Franken, Danny DeVito, Carly Simon, Peter Falk, and Teri Garr are all shown throughout the production.

The covers for both the soundtrack and the Ghostbusters single feature the iconic Ghostbusters logo. Unfortunately, I was not able to discover who is responsible for creating the logo that shows a ghost popping through the international symbol for "no" by doing online research. If anyone knows, please leave a comment.

The logo has inspired countless imitations and parodies over the years. It is without a doubt one of the most recognizable symbols in pop culture. Everyone knows what it means and where it cames from.

Posted by: Scott
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Album Art Flashback: John Lennon's Imagine

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Released in 1971, John Lennon's second solo album Imagine is considered to be his most popular album after The Beatles. The album was listed by Rolling Stone magazine as #76 in their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The title track became Lennon's signature song and has endured as one of the most important anti-war songs ever recorded. The album also contains the fan favorites How? and Jealous Guy.

The album cover for Imagine was designed by Lennon's wife Yoko Ono. The version posted below is from the new remastered version of the album. The color differs slightly from scans of covers from earlier releases, but Ono closely oversaw the new releases that commemorate Lennon's 70th birthday.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Joan Osborne's Relish

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gleeca-oneofu.jpgThe cover of Joan Osborne's 1995 hit One of Us by the Glee Cast (right) is quickly moving up the charts this week. It was featured in the the recent episode and has been discovered by a new generation of fans. With Glee shattering the Billboard record set by The Beatles this week, having a song covered by the cast is something that many singers and songwriters would appreciate.

Many Gleeks who are too young to remember the original version have discovered the music video on YouTube and are making comparisons between the two versions.

The song was originally released in March 1995 on Osborne's second album, Relish. It received Grammy nominations in 1996 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year. In January 1996, it charted in the top 10, peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot 100.

The album cover for Relish is a collage illustration created by Osborne and Chris Thompson. The cover has a certain naive quality that worked quite well with the alternative sound of the album.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Queen

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Today would have been the late Freddie Mercury's 64th birthday. The Queen lead vocalist passed away on November 24, 1991.

Queen's self-titled debut album was released in July 1973. Following the original release, the band included a note on the album sleeve included the statement "No synthesizers" due to listeners confusing the elaborate multi-tracking and effects for synthesized music. 

The first track on side one of the album is Keep Yourself Alive. I recently discovered a 1973 promotional film for the song on YouTube. The video quality is poor, but it is worth checking out.

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In 2000, Dutch electronic music group Alice DeeJay released Who Needs Guitars Anyway?, their first and only album. The album included four hit singles, including Better Off Alone and Back in My Life.

The album debuted on the Billboard album sales chart and Better Off Alone made it to #23 in the U.S. and #2 in the U.K.

The album is notable for having three different covers. The original cover (below)  was considered controversial because it featured singer Judith Anna Pronk sitting nude on the arm of a record player wearing a cowboy hat. Prong's breasts were obscured with a blurry glow.

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The second cover (below left) was much more conservative. It featured a fully clothed Pronk pointing her fingers toward the camera in a handgun pose. The third cover (below right) was similar to the first, except that Prong was shown riding the record player in pants and a bikini top. The album is currently being distributed with the original cover.

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kperry-teenag.jpgToday, AAX user eaglescout1998 added a comment to the blog that let us know the new Katy Perry CD Teenage Dream (right) is scented like cotton candy. That reminded me of another scented CD, Madonna's Like a Prayer.

Like a Prayer was released in 1989. It was perhaps the forst time a scent was applied to the packaging of a CD, cassette, and LP. The scent was reported to simulate church incense with Madonna's favorite scent, patchouli oil.

Like a Prayer also included a small insert, The Facts About AIDS. It provided information about AIDS and an 800 number for an AIDS hotline.

After 21 years, my Like a Prayer CD still smells like patchouli. I think it is amazing that the scent could last that long.

The album debuted at number eleven on Billboard and reached number one three weeks later. The singles Express Yourself and Cherish both reached number two on the chart. The title track has became one of Madonna's best-selling singles, selling over five million copies worldwide at the time of its release. The music video for Like a Prayer is considered by many to be highly controversial.

The cover for the album is probably on of the least interesting in Madonna's discography. I recall that many fans were disappointed that Madonna's face did not appear on the cover. Instead, the album cover featured a woman (presumed to be Madonna) with her thumbs in the waistband of unbuttoned jeans and wearing costume jewelry. I recall several people I knew commented that the hands look like those of a 50-year-old.

Posted by: zeefritz
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kodachrome.jpgThere Goes Rhymin' Simon is the third studio album by singer and songwriter Paul Simon. It was released in 1973 and included two of my favorite Paul Simon songs, Kodachrome (right) and Something So Right.

The reason I chose to make There Goes Rhymin' Simon an Album Art Flashback today is the news report that the very last roll of Kodak's Kodachrome film has been turned in for processing.

Professional photographer Steve McCurry requested the final 36-exposure roll and took a National Geographic film crew along to create a one-hour documentary about the last roll of the legendary color film. They traveled from New York City to southern Asia, while McCurry trained his lens on a number of carefully chosen subjects.

At this time, we do not have superb high quality versions of either the There Goes Rhymin Simon album art or the Kodachrome single in the AlbumArtExchange.com gallery. Both covers have graph paper backgrounds, which is an early use of a concept that became popular in later in the decade.

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Album Art Flashback: Prince

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prince-signot_04.jpgIn February 1987, Prince released the title track as the first single from his album Sign "☮" the Times (right). The double album resulted in three U.S. top-ten hits, Sign "☮" the Times (#3), U Got the Look (#2), and I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man (#10).

The cover of the single Sign "☮" the Times (below) featured a photograph of singer and dancer Cat Glover holding a large heart-shaped cut out over her face. The fact that the model's face was hidden led to a rumor that the model was actually Prince in drag.

I recall that there were several factors that led people to believe that the model was Prince: the shoulders were too muscular, the chest too flat, and there seemed to be something dangling in the shadows just underneath the skirt. A couple of my friends bought the single just because they thought the model had to be Prince.

After the rumors and controversy over the cover for the single, the album cover art was somewhat of a disappointment. It features a confusing collage with a blurry image of Prince in the bottom corner and the words "Two Disc Set" in an ugly red font. The cover of the single will always be the first thing that comes to my mind.

Posted by: revghost
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whoust-starsp.jpgOver the past few years, The Star Spangled Banner has been recorded by Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, and Beyoncé live during the Super Bowl. The resulting singles are all great versions to play on the 4th of July. It takes a special talent to sing The National Anthem and not many artists are brave enough to take the challenge.

In my opinion, the best version of The Star Spangled Banner was recorded in 1991 by Whitney Houston at Super Bowl XXV. Her Super Bowl performance is often recognized as one of the best of all time and one of the most notable moments in television history. Houston was definitely in her prime. The single also included America the Beautiful.

The single was repackaged as a charity release (right) benefiting the 9/11 first responders in 2001. The 2001 version features a simple illustration of an American flag. I prefer the original 1991 cover with Whtney in her patriotic tracksuit.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Edward Scissorhands

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Edward Scissorhands has been a trending topic on Twitter this weekend due to a rumor that the film will be remade starring Robert Pattinson in the title role. Most of the tweets reveal that people are outraged at the idea of remaking the film. I find it difficult to believe that it has been 20 years since its release.

The music for the film was composed by Danny Elfman. Many consider Edward Scissorhands to be the best work Elfman has done during his many collaborations with Tim Burton. Perhaps they should have released a 20th anniversary edition of the album. It seems as if there would be a great deal of interest.

The cover art for the album is a variation of the movie poster, showing a profile of star Johnny Depp and his menacing scissor fingers. The melting Pepto Bismol-colored border is a remnant of tacky late 1980s graphic design.

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neword-techni_07.jpgTubular Bells is the 1973 debut album by British musician Mike Oldfield. The album is noteworthy for a number of reasons. It was the first album released by Virgin Records. It is one of the top-selling album in U.K. history. Also, it has one of the most interesting album covers of the 1970s.

The cover was designed by the late photographer Trevor Key, who went on to photograph notable album covers for artists such as New Order (right), Roxy Music, and Phil Collins. Keys often worked with the legendary album cover designer Peter Saville.

The design was definitely ahead of its time. Unlike many of the album covers of the era, it still looks fresh and contemporary today.

Posted by: gege
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Album Art Flashback: Minnie Riperton

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I remember the first time I heard Minnie Riperton's Lovin' You. I was riding home on the school bus and the bus driver had the radio turned up. When Riperton hit her memorable high note, everyone on the bus got quiet. No one had ever heard anything quite like it.

Lovin' You appears on Riperton's 1974 hit album Perfect Angel. The single made it to the top of the charts in April 1975. Sadly, Riperton passed away following a battle with cancer in 1979. Many people today are familiar with her daughter Maya Rudolph, who is a cast member of Saturday Night Live.

The photograph used for the cover of Perfect Angel was taken by legendary music industry photographer Barry Feinstein. During his career, Feinstein photographed over 500 album covers for notable artists such as Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, and Miles Davis.

I recall that the photograph of Riperton on Perfect Angel was controversial. She appeared wear a pair of bib overalls without a shirt. She was also holding an ice cream cone that was melting all over her hand. That was considered racy in 1974.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Patti Smith Group

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because_the_night.jpgThe album Easter by the Patti Smith Group is often referred to as "the one with the hairy armpit." Released in March 1978 on Arista Records and produced by the legendary Jimmy Iovine, it was the band's first major commercial success, in large part due to the single Because the Night (right).

Because the Night was co-written by Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith and reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 in the British chart. In addition to Because the Night, the album includes the title song and several others with religious imagery. The cover art for the single features a photo of Smith holding her breast.

The controversial photographs were taken by Lynn Goldsmith. It is doubtful that the photographs contributed to the success of the album. The album photo has been parodied numerous times over the years.

Posted by: giò78
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Album Art Flashback: Dexys Midnight Runners

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dexysm-comeon_03.jpgOn April 23, 1983, the single Come On Eilleen (right) by British pop group Dexys Midnight Runners gained the distinction of preventing Michael Jackson from have two consecutive number one hits on the Billboard chart. The quirky song is forever sandwiched between Jackson's Billie Jean and Beat It.

The song was a number one hit in the United Kingdom and won the award for Best British Single at the 1983 BRIT Awards. It was also chosen number one on VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.

The song is the tenth and final track on album Too-Rye-Ay, which was the group's second and most successful album. Too-Rye-Ay was released in August 1982 and has been categorized in the New Wave genre.

The cover for the album and the single were created by graphic designer Peter Barrett. The album art features an illustration of founder and front man Kevin Rowland. The single features Rowland and musician Helen O'Hara. The 1996 reissue of the album features a green border around the original album art.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Annie Lennox

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alenno-someth.jpgIn 1995, Annie Lennox released her second solo album. Medusa featured covers of songs that were all originally recorded by male artists. Four singles were released from the album, No More I Love You's, A Whiter Shade of Pale, Waiting in Vain and my personal favorite Something So Right (right).

The artwork for Medusa features a black and white portrait of Lennox with her name inked onto her forehead in what looks like old fashioned typewritter lettering. The black and white image was quite an interesting choice considering that Lennox's eyes are an amazing shade of pale green.

Medusa was re-released later in 1995 as a deluxe version with an additional CD of live tracks and a new version of Something So Right as a duet with Paul Simon, who originally wrote and recorded the song. I prefer the original album version without Simon.

Posted by: zeefritz

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King Tut Replica at Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Image by Fritz Liess via Flickr

The year was 1978 and King Tut mania was sweeping the nation. My twin brother and I skipped school just to see the King Tut exhibit at the L.A. County Museum of Art. What we didn't know was that a class from our high school had also made the trip and we ran into several faculty members the minute we walked through the entrance.

The exhibit was worth the risk of detention. The teachers even overlooked our skipping school for the event.

My interest in King Tut was rekindled this week with the airing of King Tut Unwrapped on the Discovery Channel. In addition to memories about the 1976 to 1979 exhibit, I remembered the song released by actor, comic, ann musician Steve Martin.

King Tut by Steve Martin and The Toot Uncommons became a huge hit after Martin performed the song on Saturday Night Live. The Toot Uncommons were actually members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The single reached #17 on the Billboard chart.

The single was recently released by Rhino Records as a Digital 45. Like many Digital 45s, the artwork that comes with the MP3s is substandard. I have created a better image using other examples found online.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Trio

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trio-trioim.jpgIn 1982, German pop group Trio had an international hit with Da Da Da I Don't Love You You Don't Love Me Aha Aha Aha (typically shortened to Da Da Da). Like the lyrics of the song, the album art for Trio's debut album was very simple. The cover for the German version of the album (right) included the address and telephone number of the band's publicist, which was once commonly seen on promotional albums.

The English version of the album replaced the contact information with drawings of three faces, which are presumed to be the members of the band. While this album cover seems like is was created in minutes using a magic marker, it really does suit the musical style of the band. Many of their songs were limited to three cords and had very simple and repetative lyrics. Trio disbanded in 1984.

In 1997, Da Da Da was used in a popular Volkswagon commercial and the song experienced a brief revival. It has been covered many times over the years.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Public Image Ltd. (PIL)

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flippe-albumg_02.jpgIn February 1986, British rock band Public Image Ltd (PIL) released their fifth studio album. The album cover concept was inspired by the labels of generic or “no name” products that began being sold in grocery stores in the late 1970s.

The concept had been used four years earlier by San Francisco punk band Flipper. The Flipper album (right) used the “yellow label” generic product label and featured a barcode. The Flipper album cover doesn’t really work because it did not hold true to the standards of the generic product label. Rather than simply placing the word “album” on the yellow cover, the word “generic” and the band’s name was also included. The inclusion of the band’s name and pointing out the obvious by actually putting “generic” on the cover results in an epic fail.

flippe-public_02.jpgLater in 1986, Flipper released a live album called Public Flipper Limited: Live 1980-1985 (right) in retaliation for PIL’s use of the generic brand concept. Unfortunately, the cover for that album also fails as a parody. No attempt was made to imitate the distictive PIL logo or a previous PIL album cover (many of which have notable designs). If Flipper had parodied PIL’s Metal Box album in some way, the effort would have been worthy of applause.

The PIL cover used the more familiar white label with a blue band. The three release formats were labeled accordingly — album, compact disc, and cassette. The music video for Rise opens with a generic screen that reads “video” to coninue the concept through to that medium as well.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Baltimora

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baltim-living_05.jpgIn 1985, the new wave band Baltimora had a smash dance hit with the single Tarzan Boy. The song was the first single from the album Living In The Background (right). Tarzan Boy made it to #13 on the U.S. chart and #3 in the U.K. The album charted at #49 in the U.S.

Both the single and the album have at least three different sets of cover art. The one that many people may be more familiar with features comic book characters. They are similar to the art direction of the music video for Tarzan Boy.

Tarzan Boy is often featured on ’80s retrospectives as an example of New Wave dance music. The music video has had over 7 million views on YouTube. The song is often mistakenly attributed to Limahl.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Blondie

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blondi-autoam.jpgOn January 31, 1981, American rock group Blondie hit the number one spot on the Billboard chart with The Tide Is High. The song had been released as a single in October of 1980 and appears on the band’s fith studio album Autoamerican (right).

The cover art for The Tide Is High is somewhat unique. It is one of the few cases in which a detail of the album art has been used for the cover of a single. The album reached the number seven spot on the U.S. chart and the second single Rapture also became a number one hit.

The painting that appears on the cover was done by Martin Hoffman. I do not have any additional information about him.

Posted by: Scott
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Album Art Flashback: U2

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u2-war.jpgI thought I would be appropriate to have a New Years Day theme for my first blog post of 2010. So, I created a composite of the cover for U2’s 1983 single New Year’s Day. The song is the third track on the band’s album War (right) and was the lead single.

The cover art for War and the previous album Boy have always creeped me out a bit. There seems to be a weird pedophilia vibe going on that I just don’t get. The cover art for New Year’s Day also has a photograph of a semi-nude boy. (U2 fans, please don’t jump down my throat.)

New Year’s Day has been named by Rolling Stone as one of the top 500 songs of all time. It was written in support of the Polish Solidarity movement.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Barenaked Ladies NYE

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This Album Art Flashback is a look back to an album recorded last New Years Eve. Barenaked Ladies performed live in Detroit and did a rather unique version of Auld Lang Syne. I’ve posted the video and the album art. Happy New Year! I’ll be taking tomorrow off from blogging. Have fun and be safe.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Cyndi Lauper

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lauper_people.jpgYesterday, I posted an article about a remake of Cyndi Lauper’s 1984 hit Girls Just Want To Have Fun by a new artist. Shortly after I published the article, I received some nasty comments in response to my opinion of the new song, Girl I’m Tryin by J Brazil.

This sparked a series of comments between a few AAX blog regulars and one commenter who suggested that I quit blogging. This made me consider exactly what made me dislike the remake of Girls Just Want To Have Fun, besides the Autotune vocals.

Cyndi Lauper is one of the most amazing vocal performers ever. When her debut album She’s So Unusual came out, she became an overnight sensation. She appeared on the cover of magazines (right) and her music videos were played in heavy rotation on MTV. Not only was Cyndi Lauper unusual, she had obvious talent.

Originally written and recorded by Robert Hazard from a male point of view, Lauper’s version of Girls Just Want To Have Fun was more than a pop song, it became a feminist anthem. It has been covered by over 30 artists over the years, most of whom have given Lauper the respect she deserves.

The J Brazil version of the song returns to the male point of view. It takes a song that has been adopted by women as an anthem of empowerment and changes it to a male chauvanist rant. To make matters worse, the new song has an immature, mocking tone that just doesn’t work for me. There is no doubt that thee are young men who will identify with this new version of the song. However, there is no question which version is superior.

I have recreated the cover of the single for Girls Just Want To Have Fun using several examples found online. There are quite a few different covers for this single. The composite includes most of the common graphic elements.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Eurythmics

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euryth-reveng.jpgMy favorite song by British pop duo Eurythmics is Thorn In My Side. Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart released the single in August 1986. It is the second track on the album Revenge (right). The single reached number five on the U.K. charts and made it to 68 in the U.S.

The cover of Revenge has always bothered me because Annie Lennox’s eyes were made to look like those of a cat. Lennox has absolutely beautiful eyes and I think it was almost a crime to have altered them. They also made them them blue, when they are in reality the most amazing shade of pale green.

The cover for the single features an artistic double exposure portrait of Lennox. I have recreated it by making a composite of several examples found online.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: One Tin Soldier

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300-OriginalCaste.jpgWhen I was 12, I saw a cartoon on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour that had a lasting impact on my life. The cartoon featured a song performed by Cher called One Tin Soldier and was presented as a Christmas message from the popular celebrity couple. Many of you who were children in 1972 may also remember that the cartoon by British animator John David Wilson. I recall that it was made available as a short film and played in classrooms.

One Tin Soldier was written as an ant-war protest song by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter. In 1969, the song was recorded as the title track of an album by a Canadian pop group called Original Caste (right). It reached #34 on the Billboard chart on February 7, 1970. The song became a popular piece to teach school kids in those days before Fox News would claim teaching a song about peace is socialist propaganda.

In 1971, the song was recorded by Chicago pop group Coven and used as the theme song for the movie Billy Jack. It was retitled One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack). The song appeared on the group’s self-titled album and reached #26 on the Billboard chart on October 30, 1971. Coven never charted again and as a result One Tin Soldier often appears on “one hit wonder” lists. However, the song has been on the charts twice as the one hit for two different groups. I am not sure how many times that has happened.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Band Aid

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In 1984, singer, songwriter and political activist Bob Geldof and singer/songwriter Midge Ure wrote Do They Know It’s Christmas? to record as a benefit for famine reflief in Ethiopia.

On November 24, George Michael, Boy George and Culture Club, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Paul Young, Kool and the Gang, Sting, Bono and Adam Clayton of U2, Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware of Heaven 17, Phil Collins, Paul Weller of Style Council, Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt of Status Quo, Jody Watley, Bananarama, Marilyn and members of Geldof’s band the Boomtown Rats recorded the song. Ure produced the single and it was released as a five days later under the collective name Band Aid.

The sleeve for the single was designed by Sir Peter Blake, who is most famous for designing the covder of The Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It is a collage that features traditional Christmas art surrounding the shocking image of starving children. 

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Red Hot + Blue

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Since today is World AIDS Day, the 1990 compilation album Red Hot + Blue: A Trubute To Cole Porter is a fitting choice for an Album Art Flashback. The album was produced by Steve Lillywhite and Afrika Bambaataa for the Red Hot Organization as the first major AIDS benefit by the music industry. The album included 20 songs by major recording artists including U2, Erasure, Jody Watley, Annie Lennox, and Jimmy Somerville.

Music videos with educational information about AIDS were created for the songs and played on ABC as a television special. Many of the videos became popular hits on MTV. The album has sold over a million copies worldwide.

The album cover features a collage that includes a photograph of Cole Porter covered with images of a red heart, a green plus sign, a blazing fire, and a blue cloud. The CD booklet contain two informational articles called What AIDS Is + Isn’t and What We Can Do About It.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Milli Vanilli

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milliv-girlyo.jpgOn November 25, 1989, pop music duo Milli Vanilli had a number one hit on the Billboard chart with Blame It On The Rain. It was the third single from their debut album Girl You Know It’s True and the last one to chart before the lipsyncing scandal that brought their rise to stardom to an sudden end and had them stripped of their Grammy.

Blame It On The Rain was written by songwriter Diane Warren and recorded by uncredited vocalists. As with the other songs released as being performed by Milli Vanilli, radio play of the single ceased overnight and it faded into obscurity.

I have recreated the cover art for the single using several examples found online. Like all of Milli Vanilli covers, the single features a photograph of the attractive young male models, Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus, hired to lipsync the songs and portray a pop duo in public appearances. Along with images of the photogenic pair, the artwork included a slick logo design.

Posted by: zeefritz
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In honor of this Veterans Day, I have a special album art flashback. I have recreated the cover of Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler's album Ballads of the Green Berets using several exampes I found online.

In 1966, the title single from the album, Ballad of the Green Berets, was number one on the Billboard chart for five consecutive weeks. The song was written by Sadler and Robin Moore while Sadler was recovering from a leg wound he suffered in the Vietnam War. It topped the charts ahead of The Beatles and Rolling Stones and has sold over nine million copies. The song was used in the 1968 film The Green Berets, which starred John Wayne.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Weezer

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weezer-blueal_03.jpgSeptember 7, 1994 would have been the late Buddy Holly’s 58th bithday. So, it was a fitting day for alternative rock band Weezer to release the second single from their self-titled debut album (right).

The single peaked at number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it is more notable for its music video by director Spike Jonze that featured a recreation of the 1970s hit TV sitcom Happy Days. The video was included on the Microsoft Windows 95 CD-ROM as sample multimedia for Windows Media Player.

I was working at Circuit City at the time, selling computers. So, I must have watched the video hundreds of times. I purchased the CD single at about the same time.

The cover of the CD single does not feature the band and the memorable Happy Days theme. On the cover are two children holding packets of flower seeds. This looks like a missed opportunity to me.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Devo

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devo-icantg_02.jpgIn 1977, American new wave rock band Devo released their cover of the Rolling Stones (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (right). The single was incorrectly title (I Can’t Get Me No) Satisfaction. The single led to a recording contract with Warner Bros. and the song was recorded for the band’s debut album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO!

The album was produced by Brian Eno and released in 1978. The cover is an illustration based on an image of the famous Puerto Rican professional golfer Juan “Chi Chi” Rodriguez. According to an essay by founding band member Jerry Casale, a ChiChiRodriguez.jpgWarner Bros. executive objected to the cover and it was altered to look less like Rodriguez. However, there is still a resemblance, including the golfer’s trademark hat with a tropical band (right).

On November 3, a deluxe remastered edition of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO! containing a live version of the entire album as bonus tracks was released. The live tracks are culled from the special anniversary concert performed in London on May 6, 2009. The album is also being reissued as a LP on  yellow vinyl.

The album peaked at number 78 on the Billboard chart and reached number 12 in the U.K. It was initially categorized as novelty music and has since earned a place in rock history as a pioneering new wave album. has been named one of Pitchfork Media’s top 100 albums of 1970s and is on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Michael Jackson

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mjacks-thrill_13.jpgIn 1984, Michael Jackson’s single Thriller peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. The single followed the album of the same name (right) and a groundbreaking music video. It was the seventh single from the album.

The cover art for the Thriller single has been understandably forgot. It features a rather ordinary photograph of Jackson wearing a yellow vest, bow tie and jeweled brooch. Probably the most puzzling thing about the Thriller single was the lack of any connection to the music video, which became a sensation a little over a year before it was released.

A 12” version released in Europe included the long version of the song, while the U.S. single was simply the album verson that almost everyone already owned and the B-side Can’t Get Outta The Rain. This single is definitely an example of a missed opportunity for increased sales and the common music industry tactic of tossing anything out there to make a quick buck.

Posted by: zeefritz
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variou-rockyh_06.jpgIf you grew up in a metropolitan area in the late 1970s, you probably remember the cult film phenomenon called The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The film began showing at midnight at a theater in New York City on April Fool’s Day in 1977 and by Halloween of that year, people were lined up wearing costumes at venues all over the United States.

The film is an adaption of the British musical production The Rocky Horror Show. The original cast recording (right) was released in 1974 and was already considered to be a camp classic by the time the film was released. I recall that the first time I heard Tim Curry sing Sweet Transvestite it was on the Dr. Demento show. I am not sure what year that was. But, I think it was prior to ‘76.

The soundtrack for the film was released in 1975 and by the time the film became popular three years later, it was a difficult item to find at your local record store. Kids who had the LP to play for friends suddenly became quite popular. In late 1977, listening to The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack with a group of fellow teenagers was about as subversive as many could imagine. The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack was one of those records that were always at risk of being confiscated by a disapproving adult.

The album cover featured the images of several cast members, including Tim Curry in drag makeup as Dr. Frankenfurter. I recall an uncomfortable moment when a mother of a friend pointed to the LP and asked “Who is that lady?”

Rocky Horror has now become a Halloween tradition for young and old alike. Many of you who are reading this are likely to have plans to attend a Halloween showing and even more will have parties at home that include watching the DVD and doing the Time Warp.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Cyndi Lauper

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claupe-shesso_05.jpgOn June 9, 1984, Time After Time, the second single from Cyndi Lauper’s debut album She’s So Unusual (right) took over the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. It remained at the top of the chart for two weeks, replaced by The Reflex by Duran Duran.

Unlike Girls Just Want To Have Fun, the first single from She’s So Unusual, Lauper actually co-wrote Time After Time. Her collaborator was Rob Hyman of the rock group The Hooters.

Time After Time was a also a hit music video at the time. It features a long lead in, with Lauper watching an old movie on television and snuggling a ceramic dog. It also features Lauper’s friend and wrestling icon Captain Lou Albano who recently passed away.

The cover for the single created many comparisions between Lauper and Madonna, whose debut album came out the previous year. Lauper does look more like Madonna on the Time After Time cover than in any other photo that I have seen.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Fun Boy Three

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funboy-lunati_02.jpgFun Boy Three was a British pop band formed in 1981 by former members of ska band The Specials, Terry Hall, Neville Staple and Lynval Golding. The group never had a hit in the U.S., but their single The Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum) (right) was popular here as a protest against the Reagan presidency.

The band began their two-year stint with the name The Fun Boy Three. However, by the time they released their second and final album in 1983, they had dropped the superfluous “the” from their name. Fun Boy Three recorded two songs with Bananarama and band member Terry Hall co-wrote the hit Our Lips Are Sealed with Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s. Fun Boy Three recorded Our Lips Our Sealed for their album Waiting.

Believe it or not, the cover for Fun Boy Three’s self-titled debut album was somewhat controversial in 1981. Many people still held racist attitudes and found the portrait of the trio to be too intimate. The cover for the single showed the band in an even more controversial pose, with Staple and Golding resting their chins on Hall’s shoulders. Hall appeared on both covers wearing lipstick, eye makeup and a hairstyle that was very feminine for the time (Boy George and Culture Club had just hit the scene).

The covers for both the album and the single shown here are composites created by combining several examples found online.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Frankie Goes To Hollywood

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franki-welcom.jpgOn February 2, 1985, Relax by British pop group Frankie Goes To Hollywood peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Both the song and the cover for the single were very controversial at the time. The song contains less than subtle sexual lyrics and the cover features half-naked male and female figures locked in a reverse embrace.

In 1984, the song was banned by the BBC in all of its TV and radio outlets. This caused the single to jump to the number one spot on the U.K. charts, where it remained for five weeks. It subsequently started getting airplay in the U.S. and other countries. The following year, Relax was featured on the group’s album Welcome to the Pleasure Dome (right) and won an award for Best British Single.

Today, a music video featuring a 2009 remix of Relax was was posted on YouTube. The video features Frankie Goes To Hollywood front man Holly Johnson performing the song for the first time in 22 years.

Posted by: Music Hog
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Album Art Flashback: Katrina and The Waves

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katrin-katrin_02.jpgOn April 20, 1985, a British pop rock band with an American lead singer hit number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 with Walking On Sunshine. Katrina and The Waves seemed to come out of nowhere and remained on the chart for nine consecutive weeks. The band’s album (right) was one of the top five in sales of the years.

Walking On Sunshine received considerable airplay and was one of those happy songs that everyone was humming. Unfortunately, the band was not able to top the success of what quickly became their signature song.

Katrina and The Waves are often mistakenly considered to be a “one hit wonder” band. They actually had two other songs that made the charts, Do You Want Crying in September 1985 and That’s The Way in August 1989.

katrina_summer_mix.jpgAlbumArtExchange owner Scott has shared a cover scan of the 1985 12” vinyl single for Walking On Sunshine. In addition, a “super summer mix” was released with the tagline “For Most Fun, Play Outdoors” on the back of the cover (right). For those of you who are too young to remember vinyl records, that would not be easy to do.

As you can see, all three covers use a similar typographic design for the band’s name. This worked well for the light and happy pop sound of Walking On Sunshine. Unfortunately, it did not work as well for the band’s other material, which was a bit more sober. Do You Want Crying and Going Down To Liverpool are certainly not the kinds of tunes that work at a summer beach party. This is a good example of how album art can impact the image of a band and eventually their future success.

Posted by: Scott
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markym-musicf.jpgOn October 5, 1991, the hip hop group Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch hit the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with Good Vibrations. The song featured the vocals of disco diva Loleatta Holloway (whose name was misspelled on the cover of the single). It was the first of four singles from the group’s debut album Music for the People (right). The group was lead by Mark Wahlberg who went on to a successful acting career.

Loleatta Holloway did not record for the song. Her voice was sampled from her number one U.S. dance hit Love Sensation. The same song was sampled for Black Box’s 1989 song Ride On Time, which reached number one in the U.K.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Queen

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queen-game.jpgOn October 4, 1980, British rock band Queen had a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with Another One Bites The Dust. The song appears on Queen’s eight studio album The Game (right) and is one of the bands top selling singles.

Another One Bites The Dust is one of several songs from the era that a few religious fundamentalists accused of using backmasking — a backwards recorded message intented to influence the listener subliminally. It was suggested that the message “It is fun to smoke marijuana” could be heard when playing the single backward.

The song has become an anthem for sports victories and played at other occassions when an opponent fails. Playing the bass line is typically all that is needed to make the point that someone has “bitten the dust.”

The cover below is a composite created from several versions found online. It features the band performing on stage with singer Freddie Mercury leaping to an impossible height. The effect was likely achieved by suspending him from wires.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Pet Shop Boys

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petsho-intros.jpgIn June 1989, Pet Shop Boys released what would become their 8th best-selling single, It’s Alright. The song was sixth and final track from the British electonic pop duo’s fourth album Introspective (right).

The song features some politically charged lyrics about Afghanistan and South Africa and a positive message about the future. The music video edits the song down from its original 9:24 to 4:17. It features the duo holding babies in a simple studio setting.

Interestingly, the a couple of the babies who are now 20-year-old adults have commented on YouTube about what it is like to have been featured in a music video.

The cover art for Pet Shop Boys albums and singles are usually a cut above average. Both Introspective and the It’s Alright single is no exception.

Posted by: Aquanaut
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Album Art Flashback: Paula Abdul

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pabdul-spellb_02.jpgOn September 14, 1991, Paula Abdul had her sixth number one hit with The Promise Of A New Day. The single was the second from the album Spellbound (right) to reach the top chart position. Rush Rush was number one on the Billboard chart just three months earlier.

Abdul has had six number one hits during her career in pop music. This makes her tied for fifth place among female recording artists for the most number one hits. Many people have forgotten that she reached this level of success.

The cover for The Promise Of A New Day single has no visual connection to the album or the music video. The video features lush tropical locations, while the cover for the single appears to be more about bed linens. There certainly is not anything special or memorable about it. The cover for The Promise Of A New Day was very difficult to find. The cover below is a composite based on several images I found online.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Michael Jackson

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mjacks-histor_04.jpgOn September 2, 1995, the second single from Michael Jackson’s album HIStory: Past, Present and Future Book 1 hit the number one spot on the Billboard chart. You Are Not Alone is a simple ballad. However, the music video for the song was quite controversial at the time.

The video opens with a nude Jackson wearing a pair of angel wings. A few seconds into the video, the pop star’s wife Lisa Marie Presley appears in an equal state of nudity. It was not well received by critics, who called the video disturbing rather than sexy.

You Are Not Alone was replaced in the top spot the following week by Coolio’s Gangstas Paradise.

There are several different covers for this single. The one I’ve posted below is a composite based on the most common versions. Some versions have a very washed-out orange appearance. One version is tinted blue.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Eurythmics

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euryth-sweetd_02.jpgOn September 3, 1983, Eurythmics single Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) hit the top spot on the Billboard chart. The song remained at number one for just one week. However, it has endured as a classic of the 1980s and pop music.

The success of the single (from the album of the same name shown at right) was obviously due to the remarkable talents of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart. However, the music video was somewhat of a sensation and helped bring the duo to public attention.

Annie Lennox shocked viewers with her bright orange crew cut and men’s clothing. She challenged the stereotypical image of the female pop star.

The cover for the single was very difficult to acquire. I create the composite below using several poor scans that I found online. I used to own this one on vinyl and I’m very sorry that I traded it in for used CDs years ago.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: The Knack

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knack-myshar.jpgOn August 25, 1979, My Sharona by The Knack hit #1 on the Billboard chart and stayed in position for six weeks. The L.A. rock quartet was an overnight sensation and were compared to The Beatles — much to the horror of many classic rock fans. Because of their retro style, the band was characterized as New Wave. However, the band was a fairly typical rock foursome with no electronic influences.

One of the most common criticisms of the band was that the sound of their songs seemed very repetative. Even though their debut album Get The Knack went double platinum, only My Sharona charted past top ten in the U.S. The second single, Good Girls Don’t was on the Billboard chart for 11 weeks and peaked at #11.

The cover for Get The Knack was very basic, featuring a B&W portrait of the band and the album title in bold block type. The album cover contributed to comparisions to The Beatles due to the obvious similarity to Meet The Beatles.

When the band’s popularity evaporated, it was common to see Get The Knack being sold at flea markets and yard sales. It seemed that no one wanted to keep the album in his or her record collection. The Knack had become uncool as quickly as My Sharona had climbed the charts. The Knack appears frequently on “one hit wonder” lists.

Posted by: OldRockSongs
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Album Art Flashback: George Michael

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On August 27, 1988, George Michael’s single Monkey made it to number one on the Billboard chart. Monkey was the fourth consecutive #1 hit from Michael’s Faith album. Perhaps Michael’s label, Epic, had simply run out of ideas. Monkey has one of the least creative covers of any #1 hit single in recent momory. When it hit the stores, many people where surprised that the cover was simply the word “monkey” on a plain white background. The word is followed by a period and a gray line appears above the letter “e” — for no apparent reason. Was it supposed to be pronounced “monkeeeeee”? No one knew.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Cerrone

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200px-Erasure_single_supernature.jpgCerrone 3: Supernature by French singer-songwriter and percussionist Cerrone was one of the most interesting disco albums of 1977. Not only is the album cover one of the strangest ever created, the title song Supernature is about genetically mutated creatures that are accidentally created by experiments to end world hunger — very ahead of its time. It was co-written by Lena Lovich.

Everyone I knew bought this album because of the unusual cover. However, the great music ensured that we weren’t disappointed. The bizarre promotional film was played for laughs in clubs and video bars for years. The song was covered by Erasure in 1989 (see image above). The Erasure single is extremely rare. It came packaged in a plastic envelope with a velcro closure and snowflake cutout.

Posted by: Music Hog
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Album Art Flashback: Madonna

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Today is Madonna’s 51st birthday. Whether you love her or hate her, there is no denying that her 1983 debut album was an overnight sensation. The portrait of the young pop singer wearing dozens of braclets, a dog chain around her neck, and platinum blonde hair helped make the album a huge success.

From a marketing perspective, this is what I consider to be one of the most perfect album covers of all time. It was quite sensational 26 years ago and it is still a compelling image. The most significant thing about it is that it sold millions of albums for an unknown artist.

On a more personal note, I will never forget the first time I saw this album cover. I was shopping in a mall with a woman I was dating. I stopped and picked up the LP from a bin as we passed a Wherehouse records store. My date grabbed me forcefully by the arm and snapped, “Do you LIKE her?! She looks like a slut to me!” I went back and bought it the next day. That says just about everything there is to know about the impact of Madonna and this cover.

Posted by: Foundation
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Album Art Flashback: Chic

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good_times.jpgOn August 18, 1979, the American R&B band Chic hit number one on the Billboard chart with their disco single Good Times. Formed in 1976 by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, Chic had a string of hits such as Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah), Everybody Dance and Le Freak. This year, Chic was nominated for induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

The cover for both the album Risqué and the single of Good Times featured the same photograph of the band positioned around a piano in an old study and dressed in vintage costumes. I was not able to find an image of the single. However, I created a composite of the album cover using several images I found online.

Posted by: zeefritz
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I found a video on YouTube of someone playing the original 12" single of Good Times on a turntable. The single is on clear vinyl. How cool is that?


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Album Art Flashback: M

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pop_muzik_remixes.jpgIn August 1979, the single Pop Muzik by British electronic band M. was released in the United States. By November, it had climbed to number one on the Billboard chart.

Pop Muzik was definitely ahead of its time. Both the song and the promotional video still seem fresh today. There have been a few covers over the years, including one by 3rd Party which appeared on the Night At The Roxbury soundtrack The song is also performed in Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Pop Musik, a new collection of remixes will be released in September. It is priced at a hefty $19.98 on Amazon.com.

The cover for the single is especially difficult to find. I was able to locate several very poor scans and photographs online and created the composite below.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: U2

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On August 8, 1987, the number one single on the Billboard chart was I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2. The song is the second track on the band’s The Joshua Tree album and the second single.

Posted by: Foundation
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Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Gary Numan

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Thirty years ago next month, Gary Numan released The Pleasure Principle, an album that help launch the New Wave era. On September 22, a special two-disc 30th anniversary edition of The Pleasure Principle will be available.

The second CD of the set includes demo versions and out-takes, and remastered versions of the tracks that appear on the original album.

The album cover for The Pleasure Principle is notable because it featured Numan in a conservative business suit and wearing eye make up and an earring. It is difficult to imagine that this was controversial at the time.

Posted by: zeefritz
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On August 5, 1989, the number one single in the U.S. was Batdance by Prince. The cover hit the stores with the new black and orange Batman logo. Batdance was Prince’s fourth U.S. number one, following 1986’s Kiss. The cover for the Batdance single includes the entire Batman logo. The soundtrack album featured a cropped version of the same design.

Posted by: zeefritz
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Album Art Flashback: Martika

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On July 22, 1989, pop singer Martika charted #1 on Billboard Top 40 with Toy Soldiers. The song appeared on her eponymous debut album.

Posted by: gege

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