As much as I love being original, I think I am going to copy my good friend and fellow vinyl collector, Mary, and post my favorite record covers. It’s going to be hard to limit it to five, but I am going to try my best.
1. Diana Ross Diana Ross
This album came out in 1970 and was Ross’ first solo album. Ross was coming off the accomplishment of the most successful female group, The Supremes. Now if anybody has seen just a picture of this legendary group they know they had extensive style including beaded gowns, feathers, sequined anything and big hair. This album cover takes a whole new approach for Ms. Ross. She is featured just sitting in cut off shorts and a tie dye shirt. I would even go as far as to say she looks homeless. This was the defining point in her career in becoming her own superstar (And yes my copy is signed by Ms. Ross, she kindly signs things for fans at the end of her show).
2. Fleetwood Mac Rumours
This album cover is full of questions and mysteries. It made it’s debut in 1975. Does it have hidden meanings or is it simply an artistic endeavor? Stevie Nicks is dressed in her “Rhiannon” set she wore on stage. Mick Fleetwood said that when she would perform this song it was like watching an exorcism. Then, I love Fleetwood’s old style British attire. It channels his heritage and where the band originally began. Then there are those strategically placed sphere’s hanging from his waistband….
3. Johnny Cash American VI: Ain’t No Grave
This album was released in 2010, nearly 7 years after Cash’s death. It’s not often you find a singer that can be known by a four letter word, but everybody knows who Cash is. The cover photo is of Cash as a young boy, so he is ultimately unrecognizable, but the bold lettered “CASH” gives it away. A great homage to a once in a lifetime legend.
4. Billy Joel Glass Houses
This album was released in 1980. I have always been intrigued by this cover. It’s not often you find one with such a direct message. Joel is standing in front of a glass house about to throw a stone through its windows. It gives me the message that as a human, you must eventually just break the glass house you are in and do what you want. The photography is also spectacular, with the angle, use of blue, and Joel’s shadow in the window.
5. Marvin Gaye Live At the London Pallidium
I think about what it would have been like to see Gaye in concert and I can’t imagine it being anything but amazing. This cover shows the passion in Gaye’s vocals and his stance shows his talent for performing. Ironically, Gaye did not like performing live, especially after the death of his singing partner, Tammi Terrell. I also like the use of what I call fire colors for the wording.
After analyzing my album collection for just a few of my favorites I realized that, just like music, they don’t come like they used to. In the days before photoshop album covers were real, you saw the artist as they were. Now do not get me wrong, there is some really great album art out there today, but I think the days of classic covers has come and gone. They are simple, yet complex. They are creative, yet they always seem to have a certain beauty about them.
And just a little disclaimer, every album I featured is just as good on the inside, if not better.
Again, I wish I was born just a few years before I was.
Admiring and Spinning,