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Hall of Fame

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R.I.P., Hall of Famer, Alex Steinweiss

The first cover courtesy of Alex Steinweiss:  “Smash Song Hits by Rodgers & Hart”  Columbia Records

A sampling of Alex Steinweiss early album cover designs.

A Taschen book of Steinweiss covers and life of work.

Alex Steinweiss, 1947   Photo William P. Gottlieb

Described as the father of record cover design, Alex Steinweiss, died Sunday at the age of 94.  In 1939, after designing hundreds of packages, posters and catalogues for Columbia, Steinwiess convinced Columbia Records’ to let him “design” the first true record cover. Until then, 78s were sold in generic brown sleeves.   He designed over 850 album covers for Columbia, London, Decca, and Everest Records, developing a trademark style and influencing cover artists and designers throughout the remainder of the century.

I wonder what he would have thought of LP Cover Lover.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (49 votes, average: 4.55 out of 5)
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Walk this way

Abbey Road   The Beatles Apple Records (1969)   One of the most iconic, celebrated and imitated LP covers ever.   The Beatles final studio recording.   Here’s a good one:

Another still from the shoot (above) and Steve just added this outtake (below) of the guys walking the other way (and note Paul’s sandals):

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (66 votes, average: 4.29 out of 5)
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Smooth operator

Jonah Jones   “I Dig Chicks!” Capitol Records     This one is in the Hall of Fame.   I’ve had this record since I was a kid.     I would sit on the floor listening with the cover on my lap dreaming of getting a job as a construction crane operator some day.   Incidentally, this album won the Grammy for best Jazz Group Performance of 1958.   (Seems hard to believe considering the amazing jazz that was being recorded that year by Miles, Monk, Mingus, etc., etc.!)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (96 votes, average: 4.49 out of 5)
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A parallel universe?

Bottom:   “Destination Moon”   The Ames Brothers   RCA Records.   Top:   From Argentina on Camden RCA

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (57 votes, average: 3.95 out of 5)
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Send in the clowns

Tony is the undisputed king of the clown covers.   Here’s an amazing example – Brazilian popular clown Carequinha, in a flying saucer!   It’s great when categories cross-pollinate (where do you file this one?).

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (50 votes, average: 4.16 out of 5)
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Who do you love?

“I Love”   Monty Kelly   Essex Records   “A High-Fidelity Collection of Sensations in Sounds and Moods”   (A nice tag line for LP Cover Lover too).   This is one of a classic series of 10″ and 45 RPM records on the Essex label.   Each with a beautiful cheesecake model and fifties mod cover.     What an outfit!   Bachelor Pad gold!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (64 votes, average: 4.27 out of 5)
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Red Hot and Cool

red hot and cool

The Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Paul Desmond   “Jazz Red Hot and Cool”   Columbia Records   An intimate live recording of a small club date at Basin Street in New York City in 1955.   Set includes Lover, Little Girl Blue, Sometimes I’m Happy, The Duke, Indiana, and Love Walked In. This version of the quartet included Bob Bates on Bass and Joe Dodge on Drums.   This is still early Brubeck, with Desmond (blurred there on the left of the cover), but before the “classic” Quartet with Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on Drums in 1958.   (That is the group that played on “Time Out” and the classic sixties “time signature” series of popular Brubeck releases.   Perhaps the last, big sellers in the genre prior to Motown and The Beatles invasion which knocked so many brilliant, jazz musicians to the sidelines of popular culture.)   On a personal note, I pulled this out of my stepfather’s collection at twelve, so the cover is burned in my memory.     Once – perhaps still – you could find this cover in 9 out of 10 dollar bins.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (68 votes, average: 3.84 out of 5)
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Wanted man

Sam

“Sing It Again, Sam!”   The inimitable song stylings of Sam Sacks   Arliss Records   For those unfamiliar with the wonder of WFMU’s Beware of the Blog let this be a welcome introduction.   Go to BOTB and listen to Sam’s fantastically awful mauling of standards.   A private recording on par with the best of the worst from Mrs. Miller, Lucia Pamela and Florence Foster Jenkins.   I gotta find a copy!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (55 votes, average: 3.49 out of 5)
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Hand jive turkeys

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“Today’s Top Hits” by the HOMESTEAD (?) on Homestead Records (of course) 1979   Featuring bad recreations of chart toppers of the day, like Randy Newman’s “Short People,” one of the greatest politically incorrect songs of all time.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (57 votes, average: 3.56 out of 5)
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Little Deanie

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“Deanie”   Heaven’s Hall of Fame!!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (54 votes, average: 3.65 out of 5)
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