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It often contains images, lyrics, liner notes and other goodies
It is an art form all in itself
1. Sgt. Peppers The concept of the album : it would be as though the Beatles were another band, performing a concert. Paul and John said one should imagine that the band had just finished the concert, perhaps in a park. John’s list of people to show was interesting because it included Jesus and Gandhi and more cynically, Hitler. George’s list were all gurus. Ringo said "What ever the others say is fine by me",.
The publicity generated by the Pistols' antics made it unnecessary to put their faces on records -- "They were ugly anyway," Reid (designer) once said -- so the album's cover flaunts what he calls "cheap hype." He had to revise his design continually because of changes in the album's title and contents. "It caused me enormous aggravation," says Reid. The ransom-note lettering was quickly imitated by hundreds of punk bands.
Reid's work "did much to democratize the process of art and design." That is, he did for art what the Pistols did for music -- make it seem easy and fun.
3. Sticky Fingers At a party in New York in 1969, Andy Warhol casually mentioned to Mick Jagger that it would be amusing to have a real zipper on an album cover. A year later, Jagger proposed the idea for Sticky Fingers, the first release on the new Rolling Stones label.
What the band wanted: Something not only “simple, clinical and precise” but pertinent to the Floyd’s light show
"Pink Floyd's music is very evocative," says Thorgerson of Hipgnosis. "They conjure up very unusual atmospheres of feelings and spaces. When we're doing the packaging, we're trying in part to say this represents the music or the band in pictorial or graphic terms."
6: Elvis: First Album Iconic in itself it also inspired the NEXT one…
7: The Clash: London Calling September 21st, 1979, at a Clash show at New York's Palladium: "The show had gone quite well," says Simonon, "but for me inside, it just wasn't working well, so I suppose I took it out on the bass. If I was smart, I would have got the spare bass and used that one, because it wasn't as good as the one I smashed up." Simonon still has the pieces.
8: The Velvet Underground The banana on the LP actually peeled back to reveal a suggestively pink banana on the inside!
"It was one of those men's magazines, like Saga, " says designer Park. "The cover story was 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh,' and it was the adventure of a guy, naked to the waist, who was in water. The water was swarming with weasels, and they were all kind of climbing on him and biting him. So Frank said, 'This is it. What can you do that's worse than this?' And the rest is history."
The shot of Bruce Springsteen leaning into Clarence Clemons on the cover of Born To Run -- one with a guitar, the other, seen fully on the back cover, blowing his saxophone -- is one of rock's archetypal poses.
12: Herb Alpert: Whipped Cream & Other Delights This one inspired many others!
The theme of Wish You Were Here is absence. On one level, it is about the withdrawal from reality of Syd Barrett, the group's eccentric, departed founder. In a more general sense, "it was about the end of relationships,"
14: ELP: Brain Salad Surgery Mr. Giger, designer of this ELP album cover is generally better known for his Alien!