Saturday, January 30, 2010

My favorite album cover

Here’s what I miss most about vinyl records – album covers. Often the album cover design and artwork would be far better than the contents of the album. I worked in a record store in high school and saw thousands of them. Many people contend that SGT. PEPPERS LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND was the best album cover ever. I disagree. It was pretty great but this is the one that knocked me out. I can’t pass a can of Reddi-Whip without thinking of it. The model, by the way, was Delores Erickson – now a successful artist living in Seattle. God, I wish I were the costumer on this photo shoot.

36 comments:

Chazz said...

Hey, I've got that cover! And because I was a horny kid, not because of my love of Herb Alpert. That's marketing, I guess.

Friday question (or any day you like): Have I missed it? I think that's twice this week you've taken a shot at Robert McKee. What's the story and why don't you want to have his baby so much? He's the only screenwriting guru to appear in a movie wherein Nic Cage plays twins and Meryl Streep has the post-sex line "I don't know what came over me!"

(Speaking of screenwriting gurus, wasn't it you who pointed out Syd Field has written very little except advice to screenwriters on how to write their scripts?)

rap said...

Herbie told me that she was pregnant hen that was shot!

Richard Y said...

I have this album as well, loved the sound. Alas but nothing to play it on. Oh, I have a couple of Longet's too that you have previously mentioned. Guess that is dating me.

Anonymous said...

http://neatorama.cachefly.net/images/2007-04/soul-asylum-clam-dip-and-other-delights.jpg

Tod Hunter said...

I heard that she was pregnant as well.

She is also sitting on a pil eof cotton. Not that I spent a lot of time examining the cover or anything.

And as it's an iconic cover, it has been ripe for parody: http://bit.ly/1dS6Q8

--t

Bill Peschel said...

Album cover art was a fantastic mode of expression. The design house Hypgnosis in England (they did Pink Floyd's covers among others; they have a very distinctive look), published a book of their designs called "Walk Away Rene" in which they discussed the design process. Great book.

Great Big Radio Guy said...

Paul Mauriat had some good 'uns.

This one...

This one...

But his "Mauriat Magic" album was the one which hung in radio studios for years:
THIS one!

Great Big Radio Guy said...

@Anonymous: Pat Cooper did it first!

Max Clarke said...

She was pregnant. I bought the remastered CD of this a year or two ago, and the new album notes mentioned that. When the album was released, it was a bit scandalous. The song, "A Taste Of Honey," won a Grammy. The cover was parodied, Soul Asylum did one for their album, Clam Dip And Other Delights.

Besides the album cover, I remember the album for another reason. That was the first time I found myself listening to radio stations around the clock, just so I could hear "A Taste Of Honey." You had to do that back then, put up with songs you didn't care about, just to get to the one you liked.

Herb Alpert always had great covers for the TJB albums. Also, the album cover for the first Casino Royale movie -late 60s, multiple James Bonds- was terrific as well, even though TJB only played the title song for the movie.

Anonymous said...

Would I be a total geek if I said I quite liked the typography on that sleeve?


wv - everspil...how appropriate

bevo said...

My mother had that album. When I was a kid, I really liked the album. I never heard anything like it. As a teenager, I really liked that album. For the music, of course.

MrEd said...

I got this album when I was 7. I must have looked at it 100 times before I noticed her half-exposed breast. OMG. Suddenly, blood was flowing to uncharted areas. Best. Album. Cover. Ever.

Anonymous said...

That cover and Sgt Pepper are great for different reasons. Sgt Pepper is considered the best album cover in the context of its time. No one had put that much thought, effort and artistic expression into a pop album cover, and it was pretty audacious for its time. But when you remove the context of the time, place, what came before or after it, and you just look at the two covers today, the Herb Alpert cover is audacious in its own right, despite its simplicity.

MrEd said...

But Herb gave us boobs. End of argument.

Rodney said...

The first album cover that really got me in that way I can recall is Carly Simon's No Secrets. There were a lot of others, of course, but in every way that was a great album.

tonyskyday said...

Did you see the remix version from a couple of years ago?

http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/news.php?id=8504

Tom Quigley said...

When I was a teenager, someone let me borrow that album to listen to, but my phonograph refused to play it. Every time I put it on the turntable, the tonearm would shoot up and stand erect....

Brian Phillips said...

"You gotta tell 'em! SOYLENT CREAM IS COTTON!!"

Seriously, for those who like album covers, I recommend, http://www.lpcoverlover.com or http://www.showandtellmusic.com
or
http://blog.allmusic.com/2008/07/24/the-golden-age-of-wacky-classical-lp-covers-westminster-gold/

WCAOD by HA! and the TJB is a great cover, and it is so very common that a buddy of mine wanted to cover a side of his bedroom wall with them, the catch being that he had no intention of spending more than a dollar for any of them.

As it has been said, it has been parodied by quite a few; this site had many I didn't know about:

http://www.amiright.com/album-covers/whipped-cream-amp-other-delights/

DwWashburn said...

Pepper was good, but I always liked Revolver and With (Meet) the Beatles much better.

Anonymous said...

Also in the A&M family of artists was the Baja Marimba Band. As I remember, each of their early lp covers featured the entire large group with one guy (back to the camera) taking a leak! Funny stuff.

B_4 said...

Love that album cover. One of my favorites is the PLAYING POSSUM cover by Carly Simon from 1975...
http://sleevage.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/carly-simon-playing-possum-1977_gallery_popup.jpg

mcp said...

Paraphrase of Chazz said... Why no McKee Love?

Not wanting to speculate on Ken’s opinion, Robert McKee and other screenwriting gurus generate massive amounts of debate among writers. One man’s guru is another man’s hack.

Case for McKee and his book “Story”:
1. “Story” gives beginning writers a basic structure to follow.
2. Reading “Story” carefully can help a writer find faults in his screenplay and correct them.
3. “Story” can be a starting point in the study of screenplay writing by pointing out films to study.

Case against McKee:
1. He is arrogant.
2. He does not have the credits to be that arrogant.
3. “Story” is only “Poetics” by Aristotle adapted to screenplay writing.
4. Too many people in Hollywood (Agents and Studio Executives) believe “Story” is the final word in screenplay study and quote him without understanding what he is saying.

This last point has forced many experienced writers to read “Story” and go to his three-day seminar simply to understand studio and agent notes written by people who’s only study of film is McKee.

I occupy the middle ground in the debate. “Story” is only part of my library which includes “Screenplay” by Syd Field, “Screenwriting from the Soul” by Richard Kvevolin, “Screenwriting 433” by Lew Hunter, and “The Writer’s Journey” by Christopher Vogler. All writers have their own picks.

WV: Ponia - The generic Greek name for the SMU Mascot Peruna.

Lairbo said...

She (the model) was selling autographed prints of that cover at one time.

benson said...

Along the same lines...

Early 70s Roxy Music album covers.

And what was the mega band that had the skinny naked teen age girl on the album?

Rodney said...

Blind Faith. Topless painting of girl from the side with an apple.

Other great album covers (not yet mentioned):

Steve Miller Band-Book Of Dreams
Alan Parsons Project-Eye In The Sky
Pink Floyd-Dark Side Of The Moon
Paul McCartney & Wings-Band On The Run, Red Rose Speedway, Ram
Rolling Stones-Their Satanic Majesties Request (and also of note one of the worst album covers in terms of a complete turn off-Beggar's Banquet)
Cars-Candy-O, Shake It Up
Duran Duran-Rio (Candy-O and Rio are both Playboy artist Vargas covers)

There are so many-I could think about it all day but don't want to.

Another great one is The Moody Blues-Days Of Future Passed. In the script I'm writing the girl who the central character is based on, Tamar, is an artist similar to the Days of Future Passed style and talent. If you'd like to see that quite unusual story it's here:

www.myspace.com/370392338

Rodney said...

I don't think its a good idea to take the words of any of the screenwriting gurus as gospel. Advice, yes, but as a writer you should also have your own voice and style-one of the keys being to make that style dechiperable in an entertaining way to your audience.

I have Cutting Confessions on InkTip.com and recently they offered an online course from one of those screenwriting gurus-a guy who sold his first script for a bundle but not much since. The thing he said was that every moment you should be creating tension-I don't agree with this at all-you need levity, you need normal conversation as a bridge to another part of the story and so on.

I think screenplays should be written from the heart, not from a formula.

Dave Boland said...

Taste of Honey cover brings back a lot of memories - Nick Ciroli was the drummer for TJB and I took lessons from him at the Professional Drum Shop on Vine above Melrose from 1963 - 1965 by which time he was too busy to give lessons to 13 year olds who dreamed of being the next Buddy Rich. The first garage band, "US", I was in did a session at Gold Star Recording studios that Alpert dropped in on - it was engineered by Larry Levine. Any relation?

Dave Boland
davidboland@sbcglobal.net

Chazz said...

Thanks mcp & Rodney. Another book on my shelf I treasure is William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade. I think Goldman is certainly worthy of the title "guru" (though I'm wary of gurus generally.)

Greg Ehrbar said...

The music itself for "Whipped Cream" was played on "The Dating Game" when the bachelor or bachelorette entered the stage and took his/her seat.

Tod Hunter said...

benson said...

And what was the mega band that had the skinny naked teen age girl on the album?

Blind Faith.

http://untossedcoin.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/blind-faith-album.jpg

--t

Rodney said...

Actually that's a bit exaggerated-the main point of his on line class (and he naturally was using this to market private consultations) was that with every word, sentence, whatever-you should be building tension, not creating tension. Again I disagree. The audience wants to be entertained and part of that is connecting with your characters-it's important to build the human side of your characters and that precludes building tension in my eyes most of the time. A good story follows its own pace and the whole idea is to make your script follow the natural projectory for your story-which could be completely different than the next story you write or the one you see. Working within the confines of what's considered proper storytelling technique at all times might stifle something that otherwise could be very creative and very good on its own. Had Quentin Tarantino worried about his story structure following the format most movies do then Pulp Fiction would not work nearly as well as it does. or other unconventional techniques like the one used in Memento would go unused. Artists create and sometimes that means following what the artist thinks is right for his/her work not what some book tells them is the way they should always do it.

Roger Owen Green said...

That cover has been #1 on the Collectors' Choice catalog for about a year. Here are some more parody covers.

thomas tucker said...

I loved that album cover.
I used to go over to my next=door-neighbor's house becasee his parents owned that album. They were the talk of my very conservative neighborhood because they smoked and drank Schlitz beer. According to my mother, there was talk that they had wife-swapping parties. We would look ogle the album cover for awhile, and then start looking through the JC Penney catalog at the underwear ads.

Mister Charlie said...

Absolutely a world class cover, gorgeous woman. Carly Simon's No Secrets, agreed. And then Nancy Sinatra's Sugar, in her pink bikini.

Yeah, music WAS better in the 60's. :)

Rose Vanden Eynden said...

Did everyone's parents have this album? My parents did, as did my husband's parents! I never thought anything of it when I was a kid--but then again, my mother DID keep it tucked back behind the SOUND OF MUSIC soundtrack...

George Freeman said...

The "Blind Faith" cover is especially interesting because, until they saw the LP photo titled "Blind Faith", the band hadn't picked a name. They were being called Super Cream.
They named themselves "Blind Faith" after the photo.

http://www.angelfire.com/wi/blindfaith/vvcov69.html