The VINYL word Album art rocks own worth
The legendary Pink Floyd’s album cover for their Dark Side of the Moon LP is considered by many as one of the most iconic album covers of all time.
The original artwork for the album is thought to be the single most valuable artwork in rock history and is being exhibited at a San Francisco Art Gallery, along with 100 other classic original album designs, including The Beatles’ Abbey Road and Rubber Soul, The Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde.
It got me thinking about record album designs and just how important they are in music and their cultural significance.
At the time of its release, The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album was the most expensive album cover ever made. It cost around £3000 where most albums at the time cost about £50.
The album cover went on to win a Grammy award for its designers, Jann Howarth and Peter Blake, in 1967 not surprisingly for Best Album Cover — Graphic Art.
Another iconic album cover that comes to mind is Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. The artwork is quite simple with Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks posing together.
Stevie is dressed as the Welsh Witch “Rhiannon” and Mick is in some very tight Tudor style pants. What makes it iconic though, is the two balls dangling together on a toilet chain between Mick’s legs.
According to Mick Fleetwood, the wearing of the balls dates back to an early Fleetwood Mac gig where he had “one or two ales” and ripped the wooden balls from the toilet chain and dangled them between his legs. To this day the legendary drummer wears the attachment when he is on stage.
I mentioned the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet album cover. The original cover was embroiled in many months of controversy in 1968. Back then it was very taboo to feature toilets in any kind of publicity, but the Stones went ahead and featured a toilet wall covered in graffiti. The actual photo was taken at a Porsche Dealership in Los Angeles. The album was delayed for months and the original artwork didn’t surface until the 80s.
Classic album covers don’t just define the music but also defines an era whether it is 60s, 70s or today.
A book called Art Record Covers by Francesco Spampinato features more than 500 covers and for any lover of vinyl it is worth adding to your music library.
Brian Kelly is a host on Coast Breakfast radio.
album cover. Left: Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright.