Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Album Cover Art

As I was trolling through the net, I found several 'lists' of controversial album covers. So everyday, I will be displaying some of these album covers, along with some history or tidbit about the cover. I want to thank 'gigwise' (www.gigwise.com) for the images and concept. We will explore the most controversial, the weirdest, the worst and finally the best album covers (according to gigwise).


Here is an image of an album cover by the band James. The baby has a choice to make, the handgun-or the toys, my guess he would choose the toys.

Hey Ma is the tenth studio album by Mancunian rock band James and was released on April 7, 2008. Before the album hit the shelves, the tabloid publication the Sun printed an article (March 13, 2007) calling for a ban on the use of the album art on billboards, relating to fears concerning the baby and the gun images found on the album's sleeve. While the ban still remains, the band still refused to change the album cover.

Later, Darren Hughes, the designer of the album art, went on to issue a statement on the ban:

"You need only to have a passing acquaintance with the headlines to be aware of the unfolding horror show of gun culture amongst kids in the UK. Whilst the media are quick to show condemnation and, in the governments barricading of not just our airports but now our train and bus stations and schools with metal detectors, armed police and dogs, their strong armed 'climate of fear-inducing' response.

But we seem less able, less curious to raise the vital question, as to what has brought our country, our culture our kids to be so taken with guns?"

Larry Gott, the lead guitarist of the band, has gone on to state that this will not affect the release and publicity of the album in any way, and an alternative has already been planned if such a situation did occur.



Let's also take a look at some of the weirdest album covers (according to Gigwise) as well.

Wire "Take A Terrifying Trip To The Past" from 1980

Wire are an English rock band formed in London in October 1976, (and intermittently active to the present) by Colin Newman (vocals, guitar), Graham Lewis (bass, vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar), and Robert Gotobed (né Grey) (drums). They were originally associated with the punk rock scene, appearing on the Live at the Roxy WC2 album - a key early document of the scene, and were later central to the development of post-punk. And despite little attention in the beginning, Wire's first three albums are among the most influential on the postpunk era, cited by Michael Stipe of R.E.M. and Robert Smith of the Cure.



At number 50 on the gigwise list is one from Prince. Although he gave us some fantatsic album covers, this is not rated to be one of his best.

In October 1979, Prince released his self-titled second album Prince, which reached #4 on the Billboard R&B charts, and contained two R&B hits: "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover." These two R&B hits were performed on 26 January 1980, on the TV show American Bandstand with this first backing band. Legend has it that Prince became annoyed when, during the interview segment, Dick Clark expressed surprise that Prince and his bandmates hailed from Minneapolis "of all places." At first Prince refused to speak, instead answering a question by gesturing with his hand. It was later admitted by Dez Dickerson that it was planned from the beginning as a way to throw Dick Clark off his game.


The Best

Certainly up for debate, Gigwise starts off their list of 'Best Album Covers' with the iconic LP "In the Court of the Crimson King (an observation by King Crimson)," the 1969 debut album by the British progressive rock group King Crimson. The album reached #3 on the British charts and has been certified gold in the United States. The cover, a work by Barry Godber, is instantly recognizable to any rock and roll fan and would be certainly in my top ten. Here is a bit about the artist:

Barry Godber (1946–1970), an artist and computer programmer, painted the album cover. Godber died in February 1970 of a heart attack, shortly after the album's release. It would be his only painting, and is now owned by band member Robert Fripp. Fripp had this to say about Godber:

"Barry Godber was not a painter but a computer programmer. That painting was the only one he ever did. He was a friend of Peter Sinfield, and died in 1970 of a heart attack at age 24. Peter brought this painting in and the band loved it. I recently recovered the original from EG's offices because they kept it exposed to bright light, at the risk of ruining it, so I ended up removing it. The face on the outside is the Schizoid Man, and on the inside it's the Crimson King. If you cover the smiling face, the eyes reveal an incredible sadness. What can one add? It reflects the music."

'From The Capitol Vaults' Vinyl Campaign

Capitol/EMI's 'From The Capitol Vaults' Vinyl Campaign Continues With September 30 Release of Iconic Albums by Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon

Remastered Titles Presented on Limited Edition, 180-Gram Audiophile Quality Vinyl with Original Artwork and Packaging

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Capitol/EMI's high quality
"From The Capitol Vaults" U.S. vinyl campaign continues on September 30
with the limited edition release of two iconic rock albums. Jimi Hendrix's
incendiary 1970 concert album, Band Of Gypsys, will be issued on fiery red
180-gram vinyl, and John Lennon's chart-topping 1971 studio album, Imagine,
will be released on 180-gram vinyl.

Capitol/EMI launched its "From The Capitol Vaults" campaign on
September 2 with 13 classic titles, all previously out-of-print on vinyl.
Included in the series' debut were A Perfect Circle's Mer de Noms, The
Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, Coldplay's Parachutes, A Rush Of Blood To The Head,
and X&Y, Radiohead's Pablo Honey, The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A (two 10"
140-gram LPs), Amnesiac (two 10" 140-gram LPs), and Hail To The Thief,
R.E.M.'s Document, and Steve Miller Band's Greatest Hits 1974-78.

All "From The Capitol Vaults" titles feature carefully replicated
artwork and packaging true to their original single or gatefold jacket LP
releases. More "From The Capitol Vaults" titles will soon be announced.

For more information, visit http://fromthecapitolvaults.com.