Thursday, August 28, 2008

Greatest Album Art

Music Album Art has as much history attached to it as the albums themselves. In some cases the album art has become iconic not just to the album, but to the band itself. Here are a few of my favourites in no particular order

The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)

The cover art was by Andy Warhol and remains one of the most recognizable album covers in rock history. Andy Warhol was also one of the producers and the album was recorded during his 1966 'Exploding Plastic Inevitable' tour.

Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

Probably the most instantly recognisable album cover of all time, Dark Side of the Moon's refracting prism is said to represent the group's striking sound & light effects during their live shows. Apparently the band took less than three minutes to decide on the now-famous image, declaring it, simply, “appropriate”.

Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy (1973)

According to Wikipedia, "The cover art for Houses of the Holy was inspired by the ending of Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End. (The ending involves several hundred million naked children, only slightly and physically resembling the human race in basic forms). It is a collage of several photographs which were taken at the Giant's Causeway, Ireland, by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis.

The two children who modelled for the cover were siblings. The photoshoot was a frustrating affair over the course ten days. Shooting was done first thing in the morning and at sunset in order to capture the light at dawn and dusk, but the desired effect was never achieved due to constant rain and clouds. The photos of the two children were taken in black and white and were multi-printed to create the effect of 11 nubiles that can be seen on the album cover. The results of the shoot were less than satisfactory, but some accidental tinting effects in post-production created an unexpectedly magical album cover."

Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland (1968)

There is an interesting story behind the album cover. Hendrix's had written a letter his label Reprise describing exactly what he wanted for the cover. He wanted a colour photo by Linda Eastman from his group sitting with children on a sculpture from Alice In Wonderland in Central Park NY. However his letter was ignored and the company's art department produced this cover featuring naked women lounging in front of a black background - Thank God for that :-)

Toto - Turn Back (1981)

This minimalistic design has always been one of my favourites, though I can’t say much the same about the music

Pink Floyd - A Collection of Great Dance Songs (1981)

Of course Floyd never made music for the dance floor. Hence the album title is almost an oxymoron. The cover which featured a photograph of ballroom dancers tied to the ground very much like Gulliver so they cannot move. One of my all time favorites.

Iron Maiden - Brave New World (2000)

Iron Maiden's iconic mascot Eddie has takes centrestage on every album cover. However "Brave New World' is by far my favourite. The album art and title song are references to the 1932 novel of the same name written by Aldous Huxley, which anticipates developments in reproductive technology, biological engineering, and sleep-learning that combine to change society. What was fantasy 70 years ago is fact today !!

Police - Ghost in the Machine (1981)

This one is an eternal favourite as well. The cover art features an LED-inspired graphic that actually depicts the heads of the three band members each with a distinctive hair style (from left to right, Andy Summers, Sting with spiky hair, and Stewart Copeland with a fringe !! Apparently, the band had spent weeks trying to decide a photograph for the album cover and the finally consented on this one !!


Anonymous said...

Great collection. Dark Side of the Moon and the Warhol cover are among my favourites too. As an addition I'll throw in Bjork's surreal, geisha inspired Homogenic and Prince's Purple Rain with the purple (what else?) jacket and motorcycle.

Aaarti said...

Great stuff.. i've always wondered about such cover images..... :D

stuti said...

Nice compilation - really liked the Police's.

A few others that I remember
- Megadeth's Youthanasia (the one with babies on the clothesline)
- Nirvana's Nevermind (the swimming baby)
- The Cranberries' Wake up and Smell the coffee (the one with red bubbles)
- Pearl Jam's Yield - very wistful
- The Doors' :))))


Ranganath Eunny said...

Cool post...reminds me of Def Leppard 's "Retroactive" album cover