Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Classic Rock Videos

And one the songs that may have just started it all:

Album Cover Art

Continuing our look at controversial, best, worst and the weirdest album cover art as compiled by the staff at Gigwise.com, let's look at #36:


36. Jimi Hendrix: ‘Electric Ladyland’ This one is a mystery to me. Naked vinyl cover art was a staple in the early 50's and sold many an album- regardless of how bad the music was. But God forbid a black man be pictured with naked white women. It sure caused a controversary, enough so, that the cover had to be changed.

Electric Ladyland is the third and final album by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, released on October 16, 1968 on Reprise Records. Written and produced by Jimi Hendrix, the album is seen as the peak of Hendrix's mastery of the electric guitar, and is frequently cited as one of the greatest rock albums of all time. It is not only the last of his albums released as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but also the last of Hendrix's studio albums to be professionally produced under his own supervision. After Electric Ladyland, Hendrix spent the remaining two years of his life attempting to organize a new band and recording a breadth of new songs.

Released as a double album, Electric Ladyland is a cross-section of Hendrix's wide range of musical talent. It includes samples of several genres and styles of music, including the psychedelia of "Burning of the Midnight Lamp" (previously a UK single in the summer of 1967), the bluesy guitar jam "Voodoo Chile", the New Orleans-style rock and roll of "Come On", the epic studio production of "1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)", and the political commentary of "House Burning Down". The album also features a cover version of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" that was widely praised by many, including Dylan himself, as well as "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", a staple of both radio and guitar repertoire.

alternate cover art
Electric Ladyland was first released in the U.S. in October 1968 and became a massive hit; it was Hendrix's only #1 album. The UK edition reached #5 upon its release amid considerable controversy. A letter Hendrix wrote to Reprise described exactly what he wanted for the cover, but it was mostly ignored. He expressly asked for a colour photo by Linda Eastman of the group sitting with children on a sculpture from Alice in Wonderland in Central Park, NY, even drawing a picture of it for reference. The company instead used a blurred red & yellow photo of his head, taken by Karl Ferris. Track Records had its own art department, which produced a cover depicting of several nude women lounging in front of a black background. The original UK & German CD release from the 1980s features the UK artwork cover, while Allan Douglas' re-master CD issue from 1993 features the front half of it. The U.S. version by Ferris, however, has since become the official cover of Electric Ladyland outside the UK. The company Experience Hendrix, which owns the rights to the album and most of Hendrix's catalogue, has stated that the original UK nudes cover will not be used any longer, since Hendrix himself did not like it; nonetheless Hendrix's own choice, the Eastman photo, is still ignored. A dispute nearly happened with the album's title. In the final stages of production, a studio technician renamed the album "Electric Landlady." The album was almost released under this official title until Hendrix noticed the error, which upset him considerably. Kirsty MacColl later used this alternate title for an album of her own.

In 2005 Q magazine readers voted Electric Ladyland the 38th greatest album of all time; in 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 72. In 2003, Rolling Stone declared it the 54th greatest album of all time. The album is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.



36. Cloud Cult: 'Advice From The Baby Hippopotamus' Don't know much about the band, in fact, I never heard of them. But they make Gigwise's list at #36. Interesting cover- though not overly weird for me, I have seen much odder images. And with his own two-year old son passing away, my guess is that it may even be his picture that is being used, and that does not qualify as weird for me.

Cloud Cult is the creative brainchild of Craig Minowa and to understand his band's epic ambitions and sound, you have to understand him. Hoping to enlighten people about environmental issues, Minowa began writing and performing songs in the early '90s. During breaks at gigs, he would hand audience members fact sheets about the environment, and, as could be expected in dives, he was often met by a less-than-passionate response. Though a singer concerned about the environment sounds a bit cliché, Minowa's concern was genuine -- he was simultaneously pursuing a degree in environmental science -- and this zeal foreshadowed the intense love for life Minowa would express in future recordings. Obsessed with making an album, he spent a year recording at home, substituting household items for actual instruments because of financial limitations. To Minowa's surprise, the album, titled The Shade Project, drew enough attention to attract several label offers.

This unexpected and modest success led to the formation of Cloud Cult, a band that describes itself as a "not-for-profit, music-centered environmental and philosophical movement". Yes, this all sounds a bit over the top and pretentious, but like U2, Cloud Cult's sound is as vast as its aspirations. This is not only because Minowa has epic visions, but also because his band, which is more of a collective, combines the basic rock lineup with cello, viola, flute, and an assortment of unidentifiable sounds. Adding to this broad palette of instruments is Minowa's life experience, which has recently included unthinkable tragedy. In February of 2002, his two-year-old son passed away in his sleep, and the ensuing grief led to the end of Minowa's marriage. Rather than crumbling he turned to music, and the eventual appreciation for life that comes out of death and demise is beautifully articulated in Cloud Cult's music. Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus is Minowa's song of himself, a poetic expression of solace and glee among the ruins of unexpected suffering.

As far as its sound is concerned, Cloud Cult combines indie pop, jazzy improvisation, chamber pop, folk, and classic pop. These elements do not surface in every song, but drift in and out of the album, adding to Hippopotamus's celebratory yet elegiac sound. Minowa's voice falls in the tradition of high-pitched screamer/crooners such as Wayne Coyne, Isaac Brock, and Doug Martsch, and like these singers, Minowa emphasizes sincerity over technicality. Lyrically, Minowa deals with the weighty issues, such as the meaning of life, the reality of death, and what happens afterwards. In "What Happens at the End", for example, Minowa warbles, "I am just wondering comes at the end / I hope I meet you again / You'll be a hummingbird / And I'll be your bumblebee / And we'll fall in love in our new skin". Such playful yet profound musings reflect Cloud Cult's two main passions: nature and life. Indeed, even when the topic matter veers towards the somber, the lyrics always include an element of hope. by Michael Franco (found at popmatter.com)



36. Kaiser Chiefs – ‘Yours Truly, Angry Mob’ Yours Truly, Angry Mob is the second album by English rock band Kaiser Chiefs. It was released on 23 February 2007 in Belgium and the Netherlands, on 26 February 2007 in the rest of the world and in late March in North America. The album was preceded by the release of lead single "Ruby" on 19 February. It became the band's first (and to date, only) number one album in the British album charts.

Once again produced by Stephen Street, producer of the band's debut album Employment, Yours Truly, Angry Mob is lyrically darker and more socially aware than its predecessor, with tracks dealing with street crime, violence, fame, and the inaccuracy of tabloid articles.

I certainly have seen worse, but I think it made the list just because of the guy who just had to wink at the camera...silly.



36. Pulp: ‘Different Class’ - When I first saw this, I really questioned the inclusion to even make a 'best of' album cover art list. But when I found that you can find with a different cover, I guess I can accept it (although it would not make my list)

Different Class is an album by English Britpop band Pulp. It was released in 1995 at the height of Britpop, and led to the band being regarded as part of that movement. Two of the singles on the album – "Common People" (which reached number two in the UK singles chart) and "Disco 2000" (which reached number seven) – were especially notable, and helped propel Pulp to nationwide fame. A "deluxe edition" of Different Class was released on 11 September 2006. It contains a second disc of B-sides, demos and rarities.

The album was the winner of the 1996 Mercury Music Prize. In 1998 Q readers voted Different Class the 37th greatest album of all time; a repeat poll in 2006 put it at number 85. In 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 46 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2004 it was voted number 70 of Channel 4's 100 greatest albums. The album is also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Some versions of the album came with 12 different options for cover art.