Records, Album Covers
In the 1960s everyone had a “record collection.” That phrase was commonly used, especially by the record industry as it urged us to add this or that album “to our collection.” And we did, filling up the slots on our Magnavox French Provincial hi-fi sets or in a metal record rack/stand designed to hold 25 records at max. Music collections like this rarely exceeded 100 pieces and the entire musical content would seem laughably small to any iPod user today.
Today, the phrase “record collection” is no longer used casually in that way. Collectors with real record collections generally have thousands and fill rooms with them. As much as I loved the idea, I knew long ago I would never have enough space to hold all the records I wanted to own. And so I did what collectors usually do when faced with such a problem, I specialized. And so my record collection consists of two basic categories: music I personally want to listen to, and interesting cover art. I won’t bore you with a pointless discussion of my musical tastes, but I will share some of my favorite cover art examples here, and here.
As these examples show, the era of the large 12-inch LP record format was indeed a golden age, producing many beautiful, interesting, quirky, and fun designs worth collecting. The Dave Brubeck “Angel Eyes” cover is a joy to behold, a stunning piece of work in my opinion, and I’m not just talking about the model. If an album cover is supposed to grab your attention—and it is—surely this is a gem.
In a discussion of the future of the art of music packaging in a noted music magazine in the early ’80s I decried the then-new CD format, arguing that it was a giant step backwards for music art and that the large-format LP canvas would ultimately prevail over the much-smaller CD. I was as opinionated then as I am today, though I like to think that today I am less often wrong.
DETAILS from top left: Dave Brubeck Quartet / Angel Eyes, Columbia CS 9148, photo by Jerome Ducrot, model uncredited; Hymn Sing / Blackwood Brothers Quartet, RCA Victor LPM-1255; Swingin' On Broadway / The Jonah Jones Quartet, Capitol T963;
Top Hits in Hi Fi / Top Tunes / Johnny Sullivan and His Orchestra, Parade SP 101.
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