Category Archives: Album Cover Art

Album Cover Art Wednesday: She’s So Unusual

In the Trump era, we’re in desperate need of fun. What pop star has ever been more fun than Cyndi Lauper?

She’s So Unusual was Cyndi’s debut album. It was a monster hit because of the monster hits Time After Time and Girls Just Want To Have Fun. I told you she was fun.

The photography is by the great Annie Leibovitz:

I came upon this video of Cyndi describing how the cover photo was selected:

The entire She’s So Unusual album is not on YouTube so here are the aforementioned hits:


Album Cover Art Wednesday: Lonesome Echo

The full title of this 1955 LP is Jackie Gleason Presents Lonesome Echo. In addition to his considerable talents as a comic actor, Gleason fancied himself a conductor but not of snooty long hair music. Lonesome Echo is what the Great One called mood music, I’d call it elevator music but it sold well.

The most interesting thing about Lonesome Echo is that the cover art is by Salvador Dali who was a friend of Gleason’s. Here’s how the Catalonian surrealist described the cover in the liner notes:

“The first effect is that of anguish, of space, and of solitude. Secondly, the fragility of the wings of a butterfly, projecting long shadows of late afternoon, reverberates in the landscape like an echo. The feminine element, distant and isolated, forms a perfect triangle with the musical instrument and its other echo, the shell.”

How sweet it is.

Not only did Dali do the cover, he’s on the back cover shaking Jackie’s hand.

And away we go:

The album itself could be prescribed as cure for insomnia. It’s a real snoozer:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Sun Ra

In addition to being a world-class jazz musician, Sun Ra was a world-class eccentric. He claimed to be an alien from Saturn, his album covers reflected that as well as his fascination with ancient Egypt.

Are you ready to space out Arkestra style? Here’s The Heliocentric Worlds Of Sun Ra for your space age entertainment:




Album Cover Art Wednesday: A Witch Is Born

I checked Pulp Librarian’s twitter feed in search of material for tomorrow. Little did I know that I’d find a deeply weird album cover from 1970. This is an ad for the album, the cover is on the left.

Here’s the album. It’s spoken word with Wagner’s Die Walküre: Walkürenritt in the background. The 5 minutes I listened to were unintentionally hilarious.


Album Cover Art Wednesday: Old & In The Way

Old & In The Way was an early side project of Jerry Garcia’s. It was something of a bluegrass super band with Jerry, Vassar Clements, David Grisman, John Kahn, and Peter Rowan.

I’ve always been fond of this 1973 album art by Greg Irons.

Here’s the whole album via the YouTube:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Wild Magnolias

The Wild Magnolias are first and foremost a Mardi Gras Indian tribe. They’re also active when it’s not Carnival with live performances and the odd recording. This week I’m featuring the covers of their first two albums, which were released in 1974 and 1975.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: In Between Tears

1973’s In Between Tears was something of a comeback album for Irma Thomas. She had not recorded a new album in seven years; then she met Jerry Swamp Dogg Williams. The result was one of her best records.

The album art is stunning. It was designed and executed by George Reeder Jr. It was his only album cover, which is a pity. In fact, I could find nothing else about him on the internets.

The cover is worthy of the Soul Queen of New Orleans.

The back cover is just as striking.

The full album is not available on the YouTube, here are some selected tracks.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Lenny Bruce

I’ve had the legendary “sick” comedian Lenny Bruce on my mind because he shows up in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as a character. The fictionalized Lenny bails fellow potty-mouthed comic Midge Maisel out of jail. I’m sure the real Lenny would have done so too. Trivia time: In The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Lenny is played by Luke Kirby who played Daniel Holden’s do-gooder lawyer in Rectify. He knows from bailing out people.

Lenny Bruce was the bad boy of comedy in his day. His frequent obscenity arrests led to his being less funny over time. Who could blame him for obsessing over his legal situation?

These albums date from 1958 and 1959 respectively. They capture Lenny as his glorious politically incorrect peak. I use that term in its pre-Trumper sense. They’ve spoiled a perfectly good phrase just like they’ve spoiled everything else. Thanks, Donald.

Who among us doesn’t want to picnic in a graveyard?

If Lenny were alive today, there would be tiki torches on this cover.

It’s lagniappe time. Frank Zappa and the Mothers were Lenny Bruce’s opening act at the Fillmore West in 1966. Here’s the poster:

Finally, here’s The Sick Humor of Lenny Bruce in its entirety:



Album Cover Art Wednesday: Spirit Of The Boogie

It’s time to get funky at First Draft. This 1975 album from Kool & The Gang really brings the funk. Here’s what James Brown had to say about the band:

“They’re the second-baddest out there…They make such bad records that you got to be careful when you play a new tape on the way home from the record store. Their groove is so strong you could wreck.”

Good gawd, y’all.

I couldn’t find out who the album artist was but it’s a terrific package of African and/or African influenced artwork. We begin with the cover. Where else?

The back cover is nearly as good:

Not only was the LP originally released on Dee-Lite records, it’s a delight to listen to. I’d never heard it before and was pleasantly surprised by the musical range shown by Kool & The Gang. There’s traditional soul as well as hardcore funk. Good gawd, y’all.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Dark Horse

In 1974 George Harrison was at a turning point in his career. He had begun a lucrative and enjoyable side hustle as a movie producer. He started his own record label, which was named for his first release on it. He was the first Beatle to tour extensively as a solo artist. The tour was something of an artistic disaster and I witnessed it first hand. George had a bad case of laryngitis, which was devastating to his voice and disappointing to his audience.

There’s an interesting story behind the album art of Dark Horse. Here’s an extended excerpt from the Wikipedia entry:

The Tom Wilkes-designed front cover of Dark Horse features a 1956 Liverpool Institute high-school photograph presented inside a lotus flower, behind which a dream-like Himalayan landscape extends to the horizon, where the “deathless Yogi of the Ancient of Days”, Shiv-Goraksha Babaji, sits.While some observers have seen pointed similarities with the Beatles’ iconic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover image, Harrison’s choice of artwork reflected his enduring admiration for Terry Gilliam‘s animation on Monty Python’s Flying Circus. In the photo, a thirteen-year-old Harrison is pictured in the centre of the top row, his face tinted blue; school teachers appear dressed in long-sleeve tops bearing a superimposed record-company logo or Om symbol. Wilkes and Harrison disagreed over the size of the Babaji image, which the designer apparently disliked and wanted to reduce in size. 

Inside the gatefold cover, around the edges of a tinted photo of Harrison and comedian Peter Sellerswalking beside a Friar Park lake, text asks the “Wanderer through this Garden’s ways” to “Be kindly” and refrain from casting “Revengeful stones” if “perchance an Imperfection thou hast found”, the reason being: “The Gardener toiled to make his Garden fair, Most for thy Pleasure.” A speech balloon over the photograph contains the words “Well, Leo! What say we promenade through the park?” This line was taken from the Mel Brooks movie The Producers, a favourite of Sellers and Harrison. 

It’s cover art time.

Here’s the back cover whereon George resembles an urban nomad.

It’s gatefold time.

Finally,  here’s the whole damn LP via the YouTube.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Saturday Night Fiedler

Rumor has it that I like puns. So did long time Boston Pops maestro Arthur Fielder.

Are you ready to boogie down? Me neither.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: No Respect

I haven’t posted a comedy album cover in this space for quite some time. The drought ends with Rodney Dangerfield’s classic 1980 LP No Respect. The back cover is better than the front but back covers don’t get no respect.

It was hard being Rodney.

Here’s the whole damn LP in two bites:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Switched On Santa

Switched On Bach was featured in this space not long ago. It’s time to give Father Christmas equal time.

Here are some random tracks from Sy Mann’s 1969 LP:

Have yourself a Moogy Little Christmas, y’all.


Album Cover Art Wednesday: Cheesy Swedish Christmas Covers

Tis the season for bad album cover art and this is the place for it. In fact, this week we feature crappy Swedish album covers. I am not making this up. Why the hell would I?

We begin with a meat focused cover. If you’re a vegan, please avert your eyes:

This one could be subtitled Three Awkward Swedes In Santa Suits:

Dueling accordions? Crazy, Santa Baby.

That is all.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Hollywood Town Hall

The Jayhawks are one of my favorite bands. They are not, however, known for their album art. I do quite like this wintry, snowy, ice peoply cover, which was shot in Hollywood Township, Carver County, Minnesota.

Musically, Hollywood Town Hall put the Jayhawks on the map. FYI, most of the keyboards on the album are played by Heartbreaker Benmont Tench.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Chet Baker

Trumpeter/Singer Chet Baker was the Jazz matinee idol of the Beat generation. He was handsome as all get out and as cool as a cucumber. Album covers from his prime reflect his status as the Marlon Brando/James Dean/Dean Moriarty of Jazz. Here’s a sampler:

It’s time for some cool Jazz from 1956:

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Home Cookin’

I did a search for albums with food-inspired covers. That’s how I stumbled into Home Cookin’. Jimmy Smith was the master of the Hammond organ; one of my favorite instruments. He also apparently liked diner food; as do I. Although food from 1959 would be a mite stale now.

If you’re ready for some tasty organ licks (not the lewd kind) here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube playlist format:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Swing From Paris

I have a soft spot for both gypsy jazz and early album cover art. This 1953 LP scratches both itches as it were.

Note that the image on this video is a variation on the cover above:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Aaron Copland

The great 20th Century American composer Aaron Copland specialized in writing shorter pieces for the ballet and theatre. This inspired some swell cover art. Here are two examples:

Keith Emerson the E in ELP was a huge Copland fan so the band used to perform several Copland pieces. In fact, both Hoedown from Rodeo and Fanfare for the Common Man were frequent set openers.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Impressions

The Impressions were one of the most politically engaged bands of the 1960’s as well as one of the most soulful. In fact, co-founder Jerry (The Iceman) Butler was first elected a Cook County Commissioner in 1985 and still serves on the board. Curtis Mayfield stuck to making music until his death in 1999.

It’s hard to imagine two more contrasting album covers than 1964’s Keep On Pushing and 1968’s This Is My Country. Both albums featured a civil rights anthem as the title track.The earlier album reflected the optimism of 1964 and the second album the despondency of 1968. Same band, wildly different times.

It’s title track time: