Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Soft Machine

I’m reading Dave Weigel’s brilliant history of prog rock, The Show That Never Ends. One of the earliest prog bands were the Soft Machine who took their name from the title of a book by beat generation icon William S. Burroughs.

The cover of their eponymous 1968 debut album had moving parts as described at Discogs:

Circular cut-out in sleeve, revealing rotating ‘clockwork image’ card insert- through which the band members can be viewed on a further inserted full-color backing sheet.

The older brother of a friend of mine had the LP. I recall messing about with it much to his displeasure. Kids do the darndest things.

Here’s the cover:

Here’s the gatefold featuring the band and a woman’s butt:

Here’s the whole damn LP. Despite the blank look, if you click on play, it, well, plays;

2 thoughts on “Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Soft Machine

  1. I had to “listen” to Heir Apparent and Soft Machine as they opened for Jim Hendrix in 1968. It was a brutal 60 minute wait.

  2. It would not be an understatement to say that this album changed my life. I bought the original with the spinnable wheel in the cover – later editions didn’t have the wheel, doubtless because of the expense.

    Ironically, this album was never released in the UK, though it was imported heavily. Soft Machine Volume Two did get a UK release. Soft Machine were hugely popular there.

    I remember that one of the original Pink Floyd members recalled the days that both bands gigged at UFO, noting that Soft Machine differed from them because Soft Machine’s members could actually play their instruments and understood music.

    There had never been anyone like Soft Machine before, and there has never been anything like the original band since. The first two albums were released on one CD when CDs came out. I think I was the first person in Chicago to buy it.

    They remain in heavy rotation in these precincts.

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