Your Favourite Album Art


Ready for the third installment of You Favourite Album Art? It comes from Paul, a Rock Sellout reader who wanted to share with us, his picks. And I gotta say, I agree with every last one.


Hmmmm, where to start? At the moment I can’t seem to recall any “special” stories that relate to my favourite album art, but I sure can recall album covers that stand out above the rest…

Well, the 90’s produced some amazing music and some real memorable album covers. Here’s a few that I really liked:

  • Sebadoh’s 1994 release “Bakesale” features a classic shot of a naked one-year-old Lou Barlow on a toilet exploration / adventure (taken by his mother). Vintage, Fun, Sebadoh.
    [ John – I also was a huge fan of the cover for their album “Harmacy” which I believe was an ode to a pharmacy with a substantial typo ]
  • Archers of Loaf 1994 release “vs. The Greatest of All Time” includes a shot of the great “King Clancy”. The album, a 10” 45 RPM, is pressed in translucent lime-green vinyl. So cool.
  • The 1998 Tortoise release “TNT” is simply a hand drawn doodle on a CD-R index cover. I don’t know why I like it, but I do.

OK, I too was a Twisted Sister fan and had the “Come Out And Play” record, and much to my wife’s disillusionment, I still do – along with “Stay Hungry”. Dee Snider’s image will always remain etched in my memory, no matter how hard I try to remove it.

On the topic of 80’s Metal I would be remiss if I didn’t mention David Lee Roth’s 1986 album “Eat ‘Em And Smile”1 (very, very colourful) and Iron Maiden’s effort from that same year, “Somewhere In Time”2 (What can I say – I spent hours and hours and hours listening to Wasted Years and just looking at that album cover trying to find hidden pictures).
[ John – Ever notice the “Kilroy was Here” in the hieroglyphs on Powerslave? ]

1

2

When it comes to production though, the Ultra Lounge Sampler CD takes the cake. I mean, c’mon it’s lounge music, but the CD case is fuzzy (yes, fuzzy) with a beveled shinny plastic logo! Just like a “puffy sticker” – you know what I’m talking about. The textures… You really gotta touch it. Plus, it comes with a drink coaster. Brilliant!

But the ultimate Album cover review can be seen here.
I don’t know if I’d file any of the artwork under “Your Favourite Album Art” but it is certainly memorable.

I’d like to thank Paul for his installment of “Your Favourite Album Art“. You too, can share with us, so we can share with the world: Email Me Your Suggestion – John

I grew up 99 miles north of where I currently reside. There wasn’t much from a cultural perspective in that area, but the local record store owner stayed on top of new album releases. His niche was metal. I wish the time machine was capable of bringing me back to 1982 so I could see if Mr. Mike stocked any of my current favorites. I bet he did, but I thought they were too “wimpy”.

Getting back on track…my parents and I drove down to Green Bay to visit my Dad’s sister. We went shopping at the local mall before stopping at her place. Galaxy of Sound was a hole in the wall record store, but I remembered that it sold T’s and buttons from a previous visit. The money I brought with that day would never leave that store. I walked out with the first Vandenberg album, Motorhead’s Iron Fist, and the first rock n roll T I would ever purchase…Iron Maiden’s Killers.


A friend of mine had a stack of his sister’s records in his room earlier that summer and I can remember being fascinated by the cover art of the Iron Maiden EP Maiden Japan. I flipped through a few more albums and there it was, my holy grail of that summer…the Iron Maiden Killers cover.

I’m not so sure I appreciated the music Iron Maiden was making at that time, but the shock value of Derek Riggs’ Killers artwork hit home. The victim’s hands, the bloody ax…what more could a rebellious teen want?
If you’ve never heard any of Iron Maiden’s first three full lengths, I strongly recommend givng them your full attention. They were influenced more by the punk movement than anyone acknowledges. You hear the band name and instantly think metal. It’s worth your while, trust me on that.

This is the first story in what I hope will become a regular feature here at Rock Sellout that is not only populated with stories from the Rock Sellout staff, but also from you, our loyal followers… Your chance to share in something I don’t think we spend enough time talking about. Album Artwork & Design. After you’ve read the first installment, if you have an album that knocked your socks in terms of the art and design, by all means Email Me Your Story and we’ll include your story in our regular installments. So, without further adieu I give you “Your Favourite Album Art

Since my daytime gig since high school (which is about 1989 for those keeping track) has been in graphic design, it’s something I hold near and dear to my heart. Any time I bought an album in my formative years, an important aspect has (and will for that matter) always been the thought and care that has gone into the artwork and craft that has gone into the packaging of the album.

The first album I am choosing to talk about not only will date me (as if my note about my high school years didn’t already), but it will firmly illustrate my foundations in the “where I come from” in a musical sense. So, yes, I’ve been around for a bit, and yes I have donned a mullet before they were so chic, the second go-around.

I will never forget how truly impressed I was the day my older brother walked through the door with the new record (Yes I said “record” – that’s what you crazy kids call vinyl these days) by one of our favourite bands at the time, Twisted Sister. That album was Come Out And Play. The album featured a standing–upright view of a manhole cover. Spray painted in bright pink graffiti (which was all the rage at this time thanks in part to break dancing, skate boarding and Beat Street) was the band’s name and the album title. The manhole cover was forged with the trademark stylized “TS” logo we had been introduced on their 3rd album, Stay Hungry, the one prior to Come Out and Play that really brought them to the forefront of the MTV Generation.

I realize at this point, you’re saying to yourself “what the hell is so exciting about the damn album, John? A manhole cover… yippee!“. But yo’, yo’ check this. Once you got past the shrinkwrap you immediately noticed that the manhole cover had a pair of hands coming out from under them. And yes! They sure as hell looked like none other than their frontman, Dee Snider’s. And then you noticed what I believe made this a album more memorable for the artwork and design than necessarily the content that was on it. You see, the manhole cover was perfed and die-cut such that you could lift it up and open. And when you did, there came Dee Snider, like a pop-up book right out of the friggen’ of the sewer! How cool was that? (The answer is very). When I think back to that album in terms of the production aspect of that album jacket and how much it must have cost to produce, I am pretty sure that the label was anticipating this album be huge based on the success of Stay Hungry. Sadly as I can remember, it wasn’t.

However here I am today telling you just how cool that artwork was to this day. Especially when you consider that we are now, almost at the end of cycle of the compact disc, poised to make the move into digital delivery all but making the printed pieces of art we fawned over while listening to the latest greatest by that band you loved, a thing of the past. It’s pretty interesting to think of how record companies and bands are going to be able to deliver that type of user experience, the same one that engaged me so many years ago, in this new, digital realm. If I was a betting man, I’d put my money on more multi-media user created content becoming part of the album experience. The internet has Web 2.0, maybe bands will have Album 2.0? Or would it be Album 4.0, since 2.0 is 8-track tapes, and 3.0 is CD’s?

So there, you have the first installment of “Your Favourite Album Art“. And in the spirit of Web 2.0, I invite you to share with us, so we can share with the world your spin on this Email Me Your Story