All posts by stilsongreene

Sgt. Pepper all over again.

June 1, 1967, I was 12 years old and I was in Leesburg Drug Fair. Most likely I had a few comic books in hand when I picked up The Beatles’ new album, or what I thought was the Beatles’ new album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Looking at the cover I didn’t know what the hell was going on except amongst the many faces I saw four, eight really, familiar ones with the words The Beatles arranged in flowers on the ground. So with a little over $10 spent I had my reading material and music in a paper bag as I walked home. I was not expecting how everything would change so quickly.

I was a Beatle kid, from Ed Sullivan to Revolver I was in it. I already had the single Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane so I was anticipating something different from the band, but I wasn’t really ready for this.

Opening Pepper was an experience, it was my first gatefold album, it was the first to have the lyrics printed on it, the first to have an insert of cutouts… it was bright, beautiful, shiny and more than new, it was birthed.


I remember my first listen, it was on my white Sears stereo. I was sitting in the middle of my room with the speakers as wide apart as they would stretch with the volume on “loud”. Suddenly a smash of guitars and someone singing “It was 20 years  ago today….”

I was gone, I didn’t know what I was listening to, I only knew I wanted to hear again and again. It was rock and roll but it was also something all together different. It was Beatle music, not Fab, but Beatle music. That afternoon discovering Pepper is still close to my living awareness. I can almost bring back that strange feeling of a door opening. In retrospect, it was the day I became a teenager. Pepper grabbed my hand and lashed me into a more adult world with plasticine porters with looking glass ties.

Flash forward 50 years. A new remixed version of Sgt. Pepper is released with great hoopla and anticipation.  I received an email notice that an Amazon package arrived at my house. I quickly took the afternoon off, hurried home, opened the package and there was Pepper. Not newly birthed, but it was grinning at me, saying: “well kid, you ready… again”?

I was in the house alone, the volume was on 8 (that’s louder than my 12 year old loud), and that feeling came again, and it was more than what I expected. They did it again. But this time the door did not open to adulthood, it opened a window to that kid in a second floor bedroom with head, ears and heart wide open. I didn’t return to being that kid, but for the first time I could see him with my older eyes. I was equipped with the knowledge of what lies ahead for him in the next 50 years, both good and bad. It was Pepper‘s new gift to me, we are who we were and somewhere deep down in our blood innocence still flows within you and without you.

SG: May 30, 2017

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To answer your question, how does the new mix sound? 

You can search the net on how this new mix came about, it’s a fascinating read especially with George Martin’s son Giles at the board. Here are 10 of my reactions:

  1. It’s a totally new listening experience with dynamic leveled stereo.
  2. Ringo’s drums are brought to the front and he does some of his best work, work that before was buried sonically.
  3. Getting Better rocks harder.
  4. Harmonies and background vocals are much sharper, you can even hear George’s wonderful harmony vocals.
  5. John’s rhythm guitar is very present in the new mix.
  6. Within You Without You is a new experience.
  7. Good Morning‘s tension is turned up and it’s great
  8. There is more space in every song
  9. You can hear The Beatles as a 4 piece band and realize they could have played most of the songs live.
  10. A Day In The Life remains the masterpiece and this new mix throws all pretenders to its crown aside

Here’s a link to the 2 CD Deluxe version.

The vinyl version.

And the 4 CD, DVD, Blu Ray and Anniversary Book version.

I wish there was a record store I could direct you to, or a Drug Fair.

 

 

Ten things I’m thinking….

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1. Van Morrison is singing better than ever, this proves it.

2. Cerphe’s Up should be on every music lover’s bookshelf.

3. We need John Lennon today more than ever.

4. It’s scary times when elected officials, especially Congress, are more afraid of the President than the power of the people.

5. The half hour black and white Gunsmoke episodes are better than the full hour color episodes.

6. Saturday morning cartoons suck. I’m so happy I grew up with Hanna-Barbara and Warner Brothers toons.

7. The new Tarzan movie was great and critics are wrong most of the time.

8. Jim Gaffigan, Chelsea Handler, Amy Schumer and Conan O’Brien have never made me laugh.

9. The Beatles could have thrown their careers away in 1964 when the refused to play America’s segregated venues, instead they changed the world.

10. The bottom line is not money, it’s people.

Small Town Talk Speaks Volumes

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Any book dealing with Bob Dylan is usually full of conundrums and partial truths, but any book dealing with Bob Dylan is usually a good read. Sprinkle in The Band, Van Morrison, Paul Butterfield, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Todd Rundgren and other rock notables and you should have an enjoyable word stew. Barney Hoskyns’ new book, Small Town Talk, is a very good entree.

Dylan was visiting his brooding, enigmatic manger Albert Grossman in Woodstock NY. He had just returned from a hard grueling career changing 1966 electric world tour with his backing band, The Hawks. He needed to re-charge. Woodstock was the ideal place for him and his family to leave the public eye and enjoy a more rural pastoral life. In other words Bob was tired.

That all changed on July 29, 1966 when Bob wrecked his beloved Triumph motorcycle. Reports of the time ranged from his death, to broken neck to career ending injuries… at this point the book takes off.

During his recovery Bob invited The Hawks up to the village to play, write, and have some fun. The Hawks became The Band, the playing and writing became The Basement Tapes and the fun became infectious. Word leaked about what was happening up in Old Woodstock, then the songs leaked out and then Big Pink leaked out,  then everything changed.

Soon every rock star passed through, visited  or moved to the tiny village, and with them came sex, drugs, and, you know, rock and roll. It was a startling invasion of not only musicians but their entourages: parasites, groupies, drug dealers and media. This book chronicles those stories from 1966 until today. Some of the best parts of the story is how the locality and its governing officials and town business owners had to deal with this new paradigm of change. (The Chief Of Police has some fine stories with regards to the driving escapades of certain members of The Band ). Money was flowing in, but the quiet farming/art community was becoming more Greenwich Village than Mayberry. A seamy underbelly was growing underneath the narrow streets of the beautiful old village. The uneasy balance between old and new Woodstock is as much a character in the story as any musician. It is also filled with sadness as many of the Woodstock icons succumbed to their demons: Richard Manuel, Janis Joplin, Rick Danko and others.

Small Town Talk is a wonderful read, and any rock fan who cares about the birth of the Americana genre should pick it up. I’m betting most Dylan and Band fans already have. My only complaint is I wish the author would have dug deeper into the locals’ reaction to the conquering horde, being from a small town I know how my father would have.

Available at your favorite bookstore and here at Amazon.

Beards. Nine Things To Know.

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Beards are in these days. Scruffy beards, huge beards, barely there beards, well coiffed beards and hipster “touch of a beard.” Well, I’ve had a beard for 43 years. I grew mine as a sophomore in college, it sprung from my fu manchu mustache to goatee to full-on beard. Many of my family members, including my wife and daughter, and friends have never “seen” me without a beard. I’ve had a beard for over two-thirds of my life. So in the name of lumberjacks and other facial hair aficionados, I’d like to dispel some beard falsehoods and add some biased beard truths.

  1. Most of us shave, some like me everyday. Some of us keep a clean edge to our beard and some don’t like the neck beard thing. So throwing the razor away, in most cases, is a myth.
  2. We don’t need less napkins when we eat, we need more. We also need a good “food in your beard” partner to point out when we have ketchup in our beard. See non-beards can feel that shit on their skin, we need other eyes on it or a napkin-wipe after every bite.
  3. They don’t itch. When people say to you “doesn’t that thing itch”?, it’s because they can’t grow one. Beard envy is a horrible thing.
  4. Most us us get our beard trimmed as often as your get your hair cut. You may not be able to tell it, but we do. Finding the right professional that can give you a beard trim that looks like you didn’t get a beard trim is a gift. When you find one, as I have (thank you Bonnie), you never leave.
  5. We shampoo and condition our beards. See #2, all the shit that falls on your beard needs to be washed out. EVERYDAY. Because of that we also need our beard to be conditioned so it doesn’t dry out and get, now wait for it, split ends. My wife has now turned me on to “beard oil”, bless her heart. Look it up, it’s real and wonderful.
  6. Beards do not make you warmer in the winter nor more comfortable in the summer, they just make you cooler.
  7. They have a surprise factor. A beard can be any damn color it wants to be and you have no control over it. I’ve seen dirty blond haired men have a red ginger beard, I’ve seen dark haired men have blond beards, I’ve seen gray beards on 20 year olds, and the one I respect the most is when the mustache is a totally different color than the beard. Weird but cool.
  8. I’ve never understood the Amish or Lincoln beard, you know the beard without a mustache. It’s oddly incomplete and I feel somehow the wearer is judging me harshly.
  9. Chicks don’t really dig beards.  ‘Nuff said.Beards

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Bands

On November 25, Thanksgiving, 1976 at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom The Band called it quits. They called it in style with a huge guest filled concert that was labeled The Last Waltz. After 17 years on the road, the toll on Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel was being to show emotionally and physically. The film and recording of this event has gone down as one of the greatest live concerts ever staged. But there’s more to add to their legacy with two new found recordings.

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The first being a recording of a concert only fours months before The Last Waltz. The Band at Carter Baron Amphitheater Washington DC, July 17th 1976 proves they were not throwing the towel in on other dates of their last tour. I was fortunate to be in the audience that night, it was a downpour of rain but the show went on.

I had seen The Band many times before, even followed The Band/Dylan Before The Flood Tour on its East Coast dates. This show was bittersweet  for me, the audience knew it was maybe the last time they would ever see one of the greatest bands and live acts on stage. But The Band came to play and the recording proves it. Starting with their “we own this now” cover of Don’t Do It  to the ending notes of W. S. Walcott Medicine Show, their playing is committed and sharp. The vocals, always a benchmark of a Band show, were great except for Manuel’s which were strained and weary. Always considered the lead singer by his bandmates, his voice was showing the road and all its distractions. Robbie’s guitar work on the recording is the best I’ve ever heard, his lead on Forbidden Fruit just kills it. Garth doesn’t go off the charts as he was capable of with his keyboard work but still keeps the glue. Rick was always an inspired bassist and sometimes an ethereal vocalist, here he proves both especially on It Makes No Difference. As always Levon’s drum work was in the pocket and his vocals impassioned and impeccable. He was always the heart and soul of this unit. Other highlights are Twilight and a bare bones non-horned up Ophelia. A full track listing follows at the end of this post. A worthy and important addition for any Band fan.

81auja5zysL._SL1425_In 1983 members of The Band reconvened as a touring unit minus Robbie Robertson, his guitar work taken over by The Cate Brothers; and though not on stage, his brilliant songwriting was in full force. This is a recording of their first concert since The Last Waltz. They had played together backing Danko’s solo work and in some impromptu jams with other artists, but this was the kickoff, the 2nd Act. Recorded in Chicago’s Mandel Hall on November 6, 1983 as a FM broadcast special The Band came roaring back and took names. That concert can now be found on a new and most worthy CD called And Then There Was Four.
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Starting with some drum kicks and whoops The Band storms into Up On Cripple Creek and never lets up. You can feel the love on stage as they played old favorites, a solo Danko tune and some lively blues numbers that Levon was swimming deep in since 1976. The Cate Brothers do admirable work here but even two guitarists could not match the staccato power of Robertson live, but the exuberance of the performances more than makes up for it. Every song is good and for a board recording of a radio broadcast, the quality is great. I do nothing but smile when I hear them.  Some standouts are The Shape I’m In, Rag Mama Rag and a wonderful joyous version of (I Don’t Want To) Hang up My Rock and Roll Shoes.  A complete track listing follows at the end of the post.

The biggest notice here is the quality of Manuel’s voice, what was weary and worn in 1976 was strong and pure here, listen to King Harvest Has Surely Come and I Shall Be Released for the proof. Sadly this would not last, three years later in an undiagnosed depression he took his own life in a Florida motel during a tour. This tragic incident ending this second chapter of The Band. The third chapter was seven years away with the release of Jericho, a superb album that kicked off a short lived but beautiful Renaissance. #

 

The Band ‎– Carter Barron Amphitheater Washington DC, July 17th 1976

1 – Don’t Do It
2 –  The Shape I’m In
3 –  It Makes No Difference
4 – The Weight
5 – King Harvest (Has Surely Come)
6 – Twilight
7 – Ophelia
8 – Tears Of Rage
9 – Forbidden Fruit
10 – This Wheel’s On Fire
11 – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
12  – The Genetic Method
13 – Chest Fever
14 – Up On Cripple Creek
14 – The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show

And Then There Were Four

1 – Up on Cripple Creek                                                                                                  2 – The Shape I’m In
3 – It Makes No Difference
4 – Milk Cow Boogie
5 – Mystery Train
6 – King Harvest
7 – Java Blues
8 – I Shall Be Released
9 – Rag Mama Rag
10 – Long Black Veil
11 – (I Don’t Want To) Hang up My Rock and Roll Shoes
12 – The Weight
13 – Ophelia

 

Fab Phases

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The appeal of The Beatles’ work is their ever changing style, the experimentation, the boundary pushing and the pure unexpected path they would show us from album to album. In this post I’ll break down what I consider the phases of their career and pick a song from that phase. The song may not be their best or my favorite but will act as a gate to their particular wheelhouse at the time.

The Fab Years

From the second you heard or saw them you knew something was up, something just shifted. They popped from the radio with an exuberance that has yet to be equaled. From I Want To Hold Your Hand to Eight Days A Week the songs from 1963 and 1964 were pieces of youthful innocence with just a taste of cheek thrown in. Hold Me Tight sums up that time and their sound, soon it would all change.

The Look Inside Year: 1965

With Beatlemania still raging, The Beatles found a cohort amongst the madness, Bob Dylan.  They both shared a public meteoric rise and the chains that accompany it. They also admired each others’ work, Dylan went electric and The Fabs looked inside. You can hear this new introspective earlier in I’m A Loser but it really blooms in Help! and especially Rubber Soul. Songs like Hide Your Love Away, Tell Me What You See, Norwegian Wood and Nowhere Man come from a place not akin to yeah, yeah, yeah. But it’s In My Life that represents this phase in its glory. I’m still floored that two twenty four year olds penned such a beautiful song about looking back over a life lived.

Peppered

Starting with 1966’s Revolver through 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band the boys shook off a lot of Fab. The decision to quit touring and concentrate on studio work, and with EMI giving them full reign and unlimited recording time, they rewarded us with music so new and exciting it was if it came from another place and time.  Songs like Tomorrow Never Knows, Eleanor Rigby, Taxman, A Little Help From My Friends, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and the great A Day In The Life were so different some critics insinuated that it wasn’t really the Beatles, and in a sense they were right. The shot across the bow of this phase was the single Strawberry Fields Forever. It sounded like they recorded a fever dream of John’s and released it on an unsuspecting audience. The shot hit its target square on.

Individually Speaking

A trip of meditation to India, personal problems and shifting tastes all stewed together brought forth 1968’s The Beatles, forever known as The White Album. A wide collection of songs that were mainly written individually and recorded non-collectively. Martha My Dear is just Paul on every instrument. Paul and John even play drums on a few cuts as Ringo left the band for a few weeks. It is evidence of their talent that even in this poisoned atmosphere they got anything done, much less a two-set magnus opus. While My Guitar Gently Weeps represents this beautiful mess brilliantly in the sense that it is a George song that shines with anything John and Paul wrote at the time. It also features an outside musician in a pivotal role: Eric Clapton plays the lead guitar.

The Get Back Days

Feeling lost and anxious The Beatles decided their next album would be a return to roots. (Note:They began recording this album in 1968, due to the unpleasant process and squabbling over mixes the album was not released until 1970 as Let It Be. Even though it was their last official release, Abbey Road was recored after these sessions.) They decided to venture into a new studio, film the sessions, produce the music themselves and record everything live. So begins the band’s breakup. The Get Back sessions were a disaster. Acrimony ruled, petty arguments were so heated George stormed out and didn’t return for days. What was intended as a filmed reunion of sorts became a public recording of a band in crisis. Not that it doesn’t hold brilliant moments: the rooftop concert, the title track Let It Be, Get Back, and Across The Universe; but it is Two Of Us that shines on their purpose. Here John and Paul sing blissful harmony on a song they wrote together at a time when they were falling apart.

Note: In 2003 a new version of Let It Be was released, Let It Be…Naked. These are the original performances recorded sans Phil Spector audio clutter and wild mixes, this truthfully represents The Get Back Sessions.

Swan Songs

One thing about The Beatles, they were self aware. Knowing the troubles and bad feelings of the Get Back Sessions and their unhappiness with the work, they pulled together to do something special. Reconvening at Abbey Road Studios with producer George Martin in 1969, they set out to prove to the public and, more importantly themselves, that they were still The Beatles and still Top o the Pops. They did, they were and they are. First titled Everest, the album Abbey Road is considered by many as their finest hour. The songs are excellent and the performances are as strong as anything they recorded. Something, Come Together, Here Comes The Sun are important canon to their legacy but it is the side two medley that sums up Abbey Road. Their last shout from Everest on their final recording was all anyone could ask for from four young lads from Liverpool.  One sweet dream……

The White Album – Edited

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The Beatles, also known as the White Album, is the ninth studio album by the Beatles, released on 22 November 1968. This was a double album and to many it’s their favorite album by the band. Not me. Don’t get me wrong, I love this work but I’ve always found it a bit, let’s say, over indulgent. I want to hear every song on it but I think it could’ve been an amazing one disc release.

So here is my edited version of The White Album. I cut it to a 12 song album with, IMO, the strongest cuts.

The Beatles

Side one:

1. Back in the USSR

2. Dear Prudence

3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps

4. Happiness is a Warm Gun

5. Martha My Dear

6. I’m So Tired

Side two:

7. Blackbird

8. I Will

9. Helter Skelter

10. Revolution 1

11. Savoy Truffle

12. Cry Baby Cry.

I know the villagers are picking up pitch forks and lighting torches to storm Castle Stilson for omitting Rocky Raccoon, Bungalow Bill, Mother Nature’s Son and many others, but just think, they would comprise the best outtakes album ever released. Here’s the complete list of tracks that didn’t make my cut: Glass Onion, Ob La Di Ob La Da, Wild Honey Pie, Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, Piggies, Rocky Raccoon, Don’t Pass Me By, Why Don’t We Do It In The Road, Julia, Birthday, Yer Blues, Mother Nature’s Son, Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey, Sexy Sadie, Long Long Long, Honey Pie, Revolution 9 and Goodnight.

I would love to see your edited version of this classic or your reasons why it’s perfect as is.

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If I owned…

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If I owned a TV Network

Primetime would start at 7pm, I know it would put Pat Sajak and Steve Harvey out of some work but shit, they got enough.

Any writer submitting an evil twin or doppelgänger script would be immediately fired and that goes for goofy-ass time travel, too.

A Western and a Star Trek series would always be on the schedule, it’s my network right?

We would do an hour-a-week of classic Warner Bros and Hanna-Barbara cartoons,  uncut dammit. Frying pans, eye balls bulging out of the sockets and the Coyote getting’ his ass flailed while consistently trying to kill RoadRunner, hell every kid needs to see that shit. Hell, I need to see that shit!

The only reality show would be The Kardashians Krumble and a show that follows that TMZ ass around all day with a camera asking him stupid inappropriate questions.

Finally this cat below would never ever be an actor on any show on the network. He may be a fine guy and a good actor but … never mind I just can’t stand him.

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If I owned a Rock Radio Station

I would have Cerphe as my only radio personality.

The only musical mandates would be, Foreigner and Styx are never to be played. Hotel California, Dream On, Brown Eyed Girl, Moondance, Free Bird, Turn The Page, Good Ol’ Rock n Roll, Black Water, Satisfaction, The Joker, Another One Bites The Dust and More Than A Feeling are off the playlist.

You would hear more 50’s and early 60’s stuff, more Dylan, more Elvis, more The Band, more Kiss, more Beatles and early British invasion, more prog rock, more singer/songwriters and only the good new rock, which face it aint much, so it will be heavy on the classic shit but with…wait for it… deeper tracks.

Did I say no Foreigner and Styx?

BADFINGER – A primer

20140320_532a5e9028fcaFormed in 1961 as the Iveys, Badfinger was one of the first acts signed to The Beatles’ new record label Apple. Their first album, Magic Christian Music, was a home run with their first smash single, written by Paul McCartney, Come And Get It.

They followed that single with No Matter What You Are, Day After Day and Baby Blue, all worldwide hits. They were all over George Harrison’s opus All Things Must Past, they backed up Ringo on his hit It Don’t Come Easy, they played on most of John Lennon’s Imagine album and they were the stage band for George’s famous Concert for Bangladesh.

With a pedigree like that you would think they would be part of rock’s canon. But no. Badfinger was plagued by bad management, lost opportunities and sadly, two tragic suicides.  You can read a good synopsis of their journey on their Wikipedia page.

So this post is just a introduction to some Badfinger you may not be familiar with, but should be, let’s get to it.

The followup to Magic Christian was the album No Dice.  This work contained the hit No Matter What and a soon to be world wide hit for Harry Nilsson and eventually Mariah Carey, Without You. Every cut on No Dice is great and each one moves further away from The Fab’s shadow.  Here is a beautiful song about the tragic life of a London call girl, beautifully rendered cinematically by writer Peter Ham, Midnight Caller.

The album Straight Up followed and became the band’s biggest seller. Both Day After Day and Baby Blue were on this seminal album, but they were not alone. Here is the poignant Perfection, whose lyrics are as relevant today as they were in 1971.

Also on this album was the great Name Of The Game.

Subsequent albums followed, all worthwhile, but none as powerful as No Dice or Straight Up.  Leaving Apple Badfinger signed with Warner Bros., their second Warner release Wish You Were Here was released in October 1974 and garnered glowing reviews. Unfortunately the bird was mired in management and label woes, thus the album never received any push from either. The band then went on a sad and tragic spiral. (Note:Today, Joey Molland, guitarist and vocalist, keeps the band’s music and legacy alive, you can follow him on Twitter @BadfingerJoey). Wish You Were Here is now considered the band’s masterpiece and one of the great lost classics of rock and roll. I agree, it is a beautiful work. It is hard to find, but if you can ever get a copy, get it. The above Amazon link has it in stock periodically.  Here is a fantastic cut from Wish You Were Here, No One Knows It.

I hope this will open the door for you to discover more of Badfinger. There are some very good Best of collections available, but start with the three albums above, No Dice, Straight Up and Wish You Were Here.

Five Favorite Album Covers

I love album covers. It’s the thing I miss the most about vinyl. I know vinyl is back, but most of the time the cover is designed for the CD, digital image AND the vinyl album. Not much room for nuance when the design is made for a .375 inch square avatar instead  of a square foot canvas.

The following are five of my favorite covers, I’m not saying they are the best, just five art/designs that hold special to me. I also admit what sound came from their sleeves made an impression on the choices.

5. Sailin’ Shoes – Little Feat  This was not only my initial introduction to the band but to their cover artist, Neon Park. He went on to make many more Feat covers and became a much in-demand  illustrator. Sailin’ Shoes remains my favorite Feat album and my favorite Park cover. I mean an anthropomorphized slice of cake on a swing, half a blue boy and a voyeuristic  snail, come on!

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4. Led Zeppelin  This album burst out of the speakers like a rock blues hurricane, and the album art captures that explosion. All of Zeppelin’s covers were fantastic but its first, and starkest design, is the best. Note: the band and friends thought this album would fail like a lead ballon, thus the band name and the art: crash of the Hindenburg.

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3. School’s Out – Alice Cooper  A perfect album cover for me at the time. Released in the Summer of 1972, I had just graduated high school and the single and the album became athemic. The cover was also interactive. It was a desk. Using great photography, oragami and wicked attention to detail, this design stood as art or at least a good high school shop project. Note: the original release album sleeve was a pair of girl’s panties soon replaced by a regular paper sleeve. Alice knew his audience, huh?

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2. The Band – The Band   Designed by the great Bob Cato, using an Elliot Landy photograph, this simple cover speaks volumes of what waits inside. Their first album, Music From Big Pink (and a contender for this list) did not show the members of the group on either the front or the back; you had to open it up to see the group. Here they confront you head-on, staring at you from another time. This was the time of paisley and psychedelic design and fonts. Not this band, there were dressed as workers, laborers, as if they stepped out of 1940’s  America. Hell, they could’ve been mistaken for hobos then. The album was sepia toned as if taken from our grandparents’ scrapbook. And the music reflected it all, and magnificently. A masterpiece.

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1. Revolver – The Beatles  Now you know I could’ve put lots of Fab covers here, as a matter of fact all five spots could be Fab covers: With The Beatles, Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper, The Beatles (White Album), Abbey Road. But Revolver is my favorite. Designed and drawn by their friend and fellow musician Klaus Voorman, the cover captured the band as they were moving from Fabdom to somewhere else. It captures this space in time and the music within perfectly. As a professional graphic designer I think it is beautifully rendered and remains timeless. It also won the Grammy for Best Album Cover Design, that’s one they got right.

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OK, one more, not really a favorite but this design for Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats freaked me out in 1969 and still does today. Some cats have nightmares about bogeymen and monsters, I have nightmares of Hot Rats.

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I’d love to know some of your favorite covers and why.