Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Record albums....remember,  those 12 inch grooved vinyl discs that stored music; those coveted plastic circles of musical memories we collected and protected as if they were gold?

Albums were packaged in protective cardboard sleeves, and these "covers" as they came to be known, were as exciting and memorable as the music inside.

Covers became an instant marketing tool for record companies and the art that graced them caught the eye and spoke volumes about the music and the musicians.

Many extremely talented illustrators and photographers used their skills to create some of the most stunning album covers ever seen.  Iconic photograpers Mick Rock and Norman Seeff left their mark with covers for rock legends "Queen" and "Lou Reed".  Renowned graphic artists and illustrators like Ed Repka, Andy Warhol, Matt Klarwein, & Rex Ray, beautifully designed covers for "The Velvet Underground", "Santana", "David Bowie", and "The Rolling Stones".  Still other record sleeves contained the images licensed by the public domain, from artists long deceased.  Norman Rockwell's  "cowboy" was used on an ablum by "Pure Prairie League".   An adaptation of a mural by painter, John Stewart Curry, decorated the front of the debut album for the rock group "Kansas".

With the current popularity of music downloads, the album cover is experiencing an evolution.  Although it will continue to play a role in the packaging of new music, it is most decidedly changing.

A 2013 documentary, "The Cover Story, Album Art", by Eric Christensen, captured the essence of this fading art form.

Featured here are a few of my favorite albums and covers.  From top left to right,  Cream, David Bowie, Yes, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Lou Reed.

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