We’ve been adding quite a few popular Australian vinyl records from the 1960s, 70s and 80s into the collection lately, and it got me thinking about all of that wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful!) cover art that made vinyl record albums so memorable.
This decade by decade smorgasbord includes some of the most iconic album covers from the 1950s through to the mid 2000s, covering not just the great days of the long-playing record but also the first decade of the compact disc. The authors are at pains to point out that the covers are chosen for their design, not the quality of the album itself, but I’m afraid that doesn’t really explain the inclusion of Barry White’s Rhapsody in White (crikey!!). Some decades also come off better than others (the 50s and 60s), as do some genres (jazz and punk), but there is plenty here for just about every taste.
If, like me, you were a classical music nerd growing up in Melbourne in the 1960s you will probably be all too familiar with the World Record Club. The local branch of this British institution was remarkably productive, and many of the records they released came complete with locally designed and produced cover art, much of it startlingly original and inventive; and some of it just plain awful! This wonderful book captures the best and worst of this much loved company, and some of the names involved will definitely take you by surprise!
The movie soundtrack album is tailor-made for some exceptional graphics, feeding as it does off the poster art and graphic design that is part and parcel of a film’s commercial release. This extremely browsable volume goes from the deeply cheesy through to the truly iconic, and functions like a cinematic trip down memory lane as well. What more could you ask?
While not specifically targeting cover art, this survey of 100 of the most important Australian albums definitely does the job as far as reproducing some pretty iconic imagery. Whether its the uncompromising blackness of AC/DC’s Back in Black or the distinctly dustbowl outback of Diesel and Dust by Cold Chisel, this volume captures a uniquely Australian approach to the art of the rock album.
Though no less lavishly illustrated, this work takes a slightly more scholarly approach to its colourful subject as it seeks to chart the entire history of record sleeve design, from early attempts in the 78 RPM era through to the 1990s and the dominance of the compact disc. Only time will tell where design fits into the scheme of things as we slowly but surely move away from physical discs into the world of online music delivery.
And if you just can’t resist the good, the bad and the bizarre, then LP Cover Lover is the site for you!
And here’s one of my favourites from the classic Westminster label. So good!