While going to the craft store can be a pain if you are a guy, I recently went with my wife and found something that I had to have. They were frames that were made to specially fit my old vinyl LPs. I was able to take some of my favorite album artwork and put it on my home office like they were artwork, which to me they were.
While listening to music during my teen years I would hold the 12×12 cardboard home of my new record and study it. The cover served 3 main purposes:
* To advertise the contents of the music product.
* To convey the artistic aspirations of the original.
* To serve as a primary image in the promotional efforts surrounding the product or as an identifiable image associated with it.
Also, in the case of vinyl records, it also served as part of the protective sleeve. Many also had a place for the musician to ‘speak’ to their fans. ( Long before the days of websites or MySpace pages.)
Among the most noted covers are those by Pink Floyd, especially The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here (album), The Grateful Dead’s Steal Your Face, Jimi Hendrix’s Axis: Bold as Love and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I remember my brother getting Wish You Were Here and it having a dark purple plastic on the LP instead of the normal clear one. I also remember playing with the cut-out faces of John Lennon on his Wall and Bridges or fantasizing over the girl on the Herb Albert’s Tijuana Brass LP Whipped Cream.
I often wonder with people moving to downloads for their music will the artwork for music be lost?
One of my favorite album cover I bought twice. Once as for the record and a second time at a yard sale just to put it on my wall. This was The Beatle’s Abby Road. On it is has one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. The Fab Four are walking across a street in a straight line and dressed their ‘normal ‘attire’ for the time.
Also in this famous shot of the Beatles walking across London’s Abbey Road is a man staring at them in the distance. That man was Paul Cole. Cole, a longtime resident of Barefoot Bay, Florida, has taken his Final Taxi at the age of 96
Cole explained in 2004 how he came to be there at that precise moment for the front cover of the group’s classic 1969 album.
On a London vacation with his wife, Cole declined to enter a museum on the north London thoroughfare.
“I told her, ‘I’ve seen enough museums. You go on in, take your time and look around and so on, and I’ll just stay out here and see what’s going on outside,’” he recalled.
Parked just outside was a black police van. “I like to just start talking with people,” Cole said. “I walked out, and that cop was sitting there in that police car. I just started carrying on a conversation with him. I was asking him about all kinds of things, about the city of London and the traffic control, things like that. Passing the time of day.”
In the picture, Cole is standing next to the police van.
It was 10 a.m., Aug. 8, 1969. Photographer Iain McMillan was on a stepladder in the middle of the street, photographing the four Beatles as they walked, single-file, across Abbey Road, John Lennon in his famous white suit, Paul McCartney without shoes. The entire shoot lasted 10 minutes.
“I just happened to look up, and I saw those guys walking across the street like a line of ducks,” Cole remembered. “A bunch of kooks, I called them, because they were rather radical-looking at that time. You didn’t walk around in London barefoot.”
About a year later, Cole first noticed the “Abbey Road” album on top of the family record player (his wife was learning to play George Harrison’s love song “Something” on the organ). He did a double-take when he eyeballed McMillan’s photo.
“I had a new sportcoat on, and I had just gotten new shell-rimmed glasses before I left,” he says. “I had to convince the kids that that was me for a while. I told them, ‘Get the magnifying glass out, kids, and you’ll see it’s me.’”
How many years did I stare at Paul Cole’s picture wondering who that guy was?
Do you think we will lose images like this as we move toward downloading more music than buying it?