Monday, September 14, 2009

Classic Album Cover Art - Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland

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 was 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 pinacle of Hendrix's mastery of the electric guitar. It 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 his eclectic musical talent. It included samples of several genres and styles of music, including the psychedelia of "Burning of the Midnight Lamp," the bluesy guitar jamming of "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)", aa well as 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.


Hendrix's studio perfectionism was legendary – he reportedly made guitarist Dave Mason do over 20 takes of the acoustic guitar backing on "All Along the Watchtower" – yet he was always insecure about his voice and often recorded his vocals hidden behind studio screens. Hendrix sings all the backing vocals himself on the title track and on "Long Hot Summer Night."

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.

Rock/Pop Tidbits

In 1959, Tommy Dee reached #11 on the Billboard chart with a record called "Three Stars,” a tune dedicated to the memory or Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper. The song was meant for Eddie Cochran, but he was unable to complete the recording because of the overwhelming sadness caused by the death of his friends.

After enjoying a hit with "Red Rubber Ball,” Tom Dawes of The Cyrkle wrote the famous "plop plop fizz fizz" jingle for Alka-Seltzer.

On September 7, 1976, Eric Clapton wrote his hit song "Wonderful Tonight" for his wife, the former Pattie Boyd Harrison, while waiting for her to get ready to go out to Paul and Linda McCartney's annual Buddy Holly party.

The Osmond Brothers, Allan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, and Donny had their first number one hit in the US in February 1971 with "One Bad Apple.” What most fans don't know is that there are two older brothers, Virl and Tommy, who have both suffered so much hearing loss that the entire family learned how to converse in sign language.

While dining at a London restaurant, Mick Jagger was confronted by a gentleman seated at a nearby table. “Are you a man or a woman? The puzzled eater inquired. Jagger stood up, unzipped his pants, and presented the evidence.

Disc Jockey Rick Dees, the morning man at WMPS in Memphis, recorded a novelty disco song called "Disco Duck" in 1976. After it became a US number one hit, he was forbidden to play the record on his radio show. He simply mentioned the record on the air one day and was promptly fired by the station's manager, who cited him for conflict of interest.

The only Mother and son to both have a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 are Shirley Jones, who sang on the Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You" in November, 1970 and her son Shaun Cassidy for "Da Do Ron Ron" in July 1977.

Glen Campbell, the country star who had a string of hits that crossed over to the pop charts in the late sixties and seventies, began his career as a highly regarded session musician, playing on hits by the Monkees, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, the Association, the Mamas & the Papas, Rick Nelson, the Beach Boys and many others. In 1969, he sold more records than the Beatles and began a three year run hosting his own TV variety series. Despite all of his musical success, he can neither read nor write music.

Depeche Mode took their name from a French magazine that vocalist David Gahan was reading. It means, “fast fashion.” But French detractors of the band liked to call the English rockers “Depede Mode,” which translated means “dirty pedophiles.”

In April 1909 Charles David Herrold, an electronics instructor in San Jose, California, constructed an early radio station. He coined the terms "narrowcasting" and "broadcasting" respectively to identify transmissions destined for a single receiver such as that on board a ship, and those transmissions destined for a general audience.

Although there is some debate among collectors about what was the last commercially released 8-track tape by a major label, many agree it was "Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits" in November 1988. There are reports of bootleg 8-track tapes being produced in Mexico as late as 1995 and some independent artists have released 8-track tapes as late as 2006.

Courtney Love has had her share of troubles. In fact, while appearing at a Seattle benefit dedicated to stopping violence against women, Love got into a fight, slapping a woman and wrestling with her on the floor.

Paul McCartney wrote the song "Lovely Rita, Meter Maid" for the album "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" after getting a parking ticket from a female warden in Abbey Road.

After seeing the 1978 movie, The Buddy Holly Story, Crickets drummer Jerry Allison said he thought it "was a horrible movie." He went on to say "the only thing I saw about it that was real was they spelled Buddy's name right."

The all-time most nominated Grammy artist is Quincy Jones with 77 nominations.

Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols proclaimed, “I wanna be like Iggy Pop and die before I’m thirty.” When a friend explained to him that Iggy Pop was indeed alive, Vicious was dumbfounded.

Iwao Takamoto, the animator who created the cartoon dog Scooby-Doo, said that he got the inspiration to name his character from the closing scat to Frank Sinatra's "Strangers In The Night.” (Dooby-dooby-doo...)

Joe Perry of Aerosmith fame had been partying for more than twenty years before getting sober. When asked how he felt, he replied, “A little hung over.”

When the Righteous Brothers single "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" was reviewed on the British TV show Juke Box Jury in January, 1965, it was voted a "miss" by all four judges. Since that time, it has become US radio's most played rock and roll song of all time, being heard over eight million times.

Paul Anka's first 45 sold just 300 copies. The follow-up, "Diana,” sold nine million.

The Future Of The Music Industry And NYLVI - Where Do We Fit In?

NYLVI started up about a year or so ago and grown by leaps and bounds. Here, one of the founders explains his take on their website and the future of music.

In this post I’ll explain how we at NYLVI see the future of the music industry, furthermore we will explore how independent artists, bands and labels can benefit from alternative revenue streams in the future.

Technological Change, Formats, Distribution And How to Make a Living

For a long time vinyl was the preferred format for music. However, at some point the CD came along and became the dominating format. But, as is clear, the CD has always been a format based on compromises. It is a digital format, but with limited capability to take advantage of the potential of digital music. At the same time the CD also has the cover art and the liner notes, but smaller than on vinyl, and lacking the charm and sound we like so much about vinyl.

As often happens with things that are stuck in the middle they disappear as technology advances and new and more convenient options become available.

Music as digital files has gradually become the preferred option for many people and the way to make a living from it has been to charge on a file by file basis. However, there is a shift under way towards streaming music.

People will still want to download their music for a few more years, but eventually streaming will be the preferred option, and this will continue to accelerate as especially cell phone Internet connections become more available, speedy and cheaper. There are currently tons of services for streaming music, such as well know players like, Pandora and Rhapsody, which have deals with labels, and others like Mixwit and The Hype Machine, which do not.

Basically there are two ways of making money from legal streaming services. The first option is from advertising and the other is from subscription. For the services, which do not have deals with labels, and instead rely on streaming files available on the net, one could argue that the payment to the content owner is increased attention, which is an increasingly scarce resource.

Further, some of these services have associate deals with other players, like Amazon and eMusic, such that people will buy the music they like from these in the format they prefer. However, these services, to some extent, still remain controversial.

There is no doubt that the shift to digital music in general has made if more difficult to earn money directly from the music. One could make the argument that piracy is one of the reasons, with people downloading music for free instead of paying for it. However, on the other hand one could argue that the increased availability of music increases people’s interest and that people would not have bought the music anyway.

In our opinion piracy is not the factor leading to reduced revenues, although playing a role as a change agent. The way we see it what is leading to lower revenues is the economics concerned with digital music.

When an artist can record a record, distribute it to a huge number of people and promote it almost for free, this will be reflected in the price one will be able to charge. Meaning that what can be earned from ad and subscription based services is less than it used to be, when buying a CD in a record store or on the Internet was the only option.

The consequence is that in order to make a living players in the music industry will in the future have to rely on alternative ways of making money. Some of these ways are playing more concerts, merchandise, commission based work, vinyl records, and probably many many more, which have not yet been thought of. In effect the role of digital music can, to some extent, be thought of as promotion for these alternative revenue streams.

The Democratization of the Music Industry

The shift to digital music files and streaming has over the last few years lead to a democratization of the music industry. Since it is no longer necessary for an artist to sign a deal with a major label to get his/her music out to a large audience the result is that we experience much more musical diversity. The consequence is that we will see much more variation in music taste.

What has up to this point been labeled as mainstream will gradually vanish and be replaced by a niche driven culture. There will be no next The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Rather we will see a lot of local variation tied to geographical locations or within global networks of people sharing the same music taste. So it will really be all about the edges.

So Where does NYLVI fit In?

The underlying idea behind NYLVI is based on the two aspects described above: The impact of the technological development on format and distribution, the democratization of the music industry and the economics concerned with these two factors. When building a marketplace for buying and selling vinyl records structured after the world’s music scenes in order to support independent artists, labels and record stores this is what we think about.

Vinyl Records

By focusing only on vinyl records we want to support one of the alternative revenue streams artists can make a living from. As we wrote in the last post we believe that vinyl records and digital music is perfectly compatible. Unlike the CD they are located on each end of the scale, and have a distinct set of qualities, which make them preferable.

While writing this post I have been listening to Fleet Foxes on The Hype Machine, where I discovered them, but since I like them a lot I have also bought their record on vinyl. The Hype Machine made it possible for me to discover them, recommend them to my friends and it’s convenient to listen to them while typing on my computer.

However, I will also have a copy of the record on my shelf, be able to appreciate the cover art and look at the liner notes. When I later tonight have friends over we might want to listen to it on vinyl, because it’s a different and more physical experience. Years ahead, although digital music will also be there, I will still be able to take the record out, think about it’s history and maybe at some point pass it on to someone else. And all this has a lot of value to me, which I am more than willing to pay for.

And, I can easily be charged a certain price for it because of the limited availability and the costs involved in making and distributing it.

The World’s Music Scenes

By structuring the marketplace after the world’s music scenes, meaning both geographical scenes and scenes based on musical preferences, we want to take into consideration the trend towards a niche driven culture. We believe the geographical part of the scene structure is a great way to make small local variations available to a global audience.

On the other hand technology has made it a lot easier for people, who share the same taste to connect. We therefore hope that the part of the scene structure, which focuses on scenes based on musical preferences, will help people with the same music taste to connect and share, and make the musical innovation within these networks more available to a wider audience.

So that’s what NYLVI is all about. Supporting local independent artist, labels and record stores by making musical innovation available to a global audience on vinyl.

About Author Nylvi co-founder Thomas Stenumgaard writes about vinyl records and the future of the music industry. A new social marketplace for buying and selling vinyl records. For more information check out

Music News & Notes

New Music! Grant Hart from husker Du to Drop New Record

Con D'or Records and MVD Audio are proud to announce the release of Grant Hart - Hot Wax on both CD and vinyl for worldwide distribution on October 6th, 2009.

'80s alternative rock has gone down in the history of music as one of the most fertile and influential musical movements ever - as judged by the amount of notable bands that would subsequently "follow the leaders." And one of the leading lights of the movement was unquestionably Hüsker Dü. After the group's split, drummer Grant Hart moved out front with guitar in hand, and also handled lead vocals on his solo releases. But Hart has spent the last few years working on Hot Wax.


Woodstock to Broadway?

If you can't get backing for an anniversary rock festival, just take your show to Broadway. That's what Michael Lang, one of the original Woodstock promoters, is planning to do.

Lang is looking towards a 2010-11 season opening of a show with songs drawn from the era of the original festival and story based partly on the book The Road to Woodstock. He is producing with Sam Nappi of Alliance Energy, a green power generation company.

We will hear more very soon.


MJ Remembered

Madonna surprised the audience at last night's MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) by taking the stage and pouring her heart out in a lengthy speech about Michael Jackson, talking about similarities in their lives and interactions that they had over time.

The speech was followed by a group of dancers performing the signature dances from Thriller, Bad and Smooth Criminal, finishing off with the Janet Jackson performing one last time with her brother as she matched dance moves with the video for Scream.

The following is the text from Madonna's tribute to Michael Jackson:

"Michael Jackson was born in August, 1958. so was I. Michael Jackson grew up in the suburbs of the Midwest. So did I. Michael Jackson had eight brothers and sisters. So do I. When Michael Jackson was 6 he became a superstar and was perhaps the world's most beloved child. When I was 6 my mother died. I think he got the shorter end of the stick.

"I never had a mother, but he never had a childhood. And when you never get to have something, you become obsessed by it. I spent my childhood searching for my mother figures; sometimes I was successful. But how do you recreate your childhood when you are under the magnifying glass of the world for your entire life?

"There is no question that Michael Jackson was one of the greatest talents the world has ever known. ... That when he sang a song at the ripe old age of 8, he could make you feel like an experienced adult was squeezing your heart with his words. ... That the way he moved had the elegance of Fred Astaire and packed the punch of Muhammad Ali. ... That his music had an extra layer of inexplicable magic that didn't just make you want to dance but actually made you believe that you could fly, dare to dream, be anything that you wanted to be. Because that is what heroes do. And Michael Jackson was a hero.

"He performed in soccer stadiums around the world, he sold hundreds of millions of records, he dined with prime ministers and presidents. Girls fell in love with him, boys fell in love with him, everyone wanted to dance like him, he seemed otherworldly, but he was also a human being. Like most performers, he was shy and plagued with insecurities.

"I can't say we were great friends, but in 1991 I decided I wanted to get to know him better. I asked him out to dinner: I said, 'My treat, I'll drive, just you and me.' He agreed and showed up to my house without any bodyguards. We drove to the restaurant in my car. It was dark out, but he was still wearing sunglasses. I said, 'Michael, I feel like I'm talking to a limousine, do you think you could take off those glasses so I could see your eyes?' He paused for a moment, then he tossed the glasses out the window, looked at me with a wink and a smile and said, 'Can you see me now, is that better?'

"In that moment, I could see both his vulnerability and his charm. The rest of the dinner, I was hell-bent on getting him to eat French fries, drink wine, have dessert and say bad words, things he never seemed to allow himself to do. Later, we went back to my house to watch a movie and we sat on the couch like two kids, and somewhere in the middle of the film, his hand snuck over and held mine. It felt like he was looking for a friend more than a romance and I was happy to oblige him. And in that moment he didn't feel like a superstar, he felt like a human being. We went out a few more times together and then for one reason or another we fell out of touch. Then, the witch hunt began and it seemed like one negative story after the other was coming out about Michael. I felt his pain. I know what it's like to walk down the street and feel like the whole world has turned against you. I know what it's like to feel helpless and unable to defend yourself because the roar of the lynch mob is so loud that you are convinced your voice can never be heard.

"But I had a childhood, and I was allowed to make mistakes and find my own way in the world without the glare of the spotlight. When I first heard that Michael had died I was in London, days away from the opening of my tour. Michael was going to perform in the same venue as me a week later. All I could think about in that moment was that I had abandoned him. That we had abandoned him. That we had allowed this magnificent creature that once set the world on fire to somehow slip through the cracks. While he was trying to build a family and rebuild his career, we were all busy passing judgment. Most of us had turned our backs on him.

"In a desperate attempt to hold onto his memory, I went on the Internet to watch old clips of him dancing and singing on TV and onstage and I thought, 'My God, he was so unique, so original, so rare. And there will never be anyone like him again.' He was a king. But he was also a human being and alas, we are all human beings and sometimes we have to lose things before we can truly appreciate them. I want to end this on a positive note and say that my sons, age 9 and 4, are obsessed with Michael Jackson. There's a whole lot of crotch-grabbing and moonwalking going on in my house, and it seems like a whole new generation of kids has discovered his genius and are bringing him to life again. I hope that wherever Michael is now, he is smiling about this.

"Yes, yes Michael Jackson was a human being, but dammit, he was a king. Long live the king."