Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of record covers from the golden age of LPs

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Cliff banger


“Expresso Bongo!”   Cliff Richard from the movie of the same name (1959)  Columbia Records (UK)

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The man who sold the world


Original cover of David Bowie’s self-titled album from 1969 which was subsequently reissued as Space Odyssey.  Phillips Records (UK)   At $6,826, this is the most expensive record ever sold on Discogs!  See the story here!

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Golden Years



My friend Tony and I went to see David Bowie in Cleveland at the Public Theatre in 1976 on his tour to promote Station to Station.  We sat in the fifth row – center.  Or stood on our chairs that is.  Right there – face to face with the thin white duke.  What a great night.  At one point he sang “I’m Waiting for the Man” and when he got to the words “Hey white boy, what you doin’ uptown” I know he pointed right at me.  (Of course, Tony might say it was to him.)  Never did see him live in concert again, but I can’t imagine ever topping that first experience as a 15 year old fan.  And then fan for life.  RIP Ziggy.

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Whip it good


Stirring the Cream  CREAM   Polydor Medium Records  (Holland)

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Inspiration Information #2


Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention  Weasels Ripped My Flesh  Warner Bros. Records  Released in 1970, WRMF is the second posthumous Mothers album released after the band disbanded in 1969.   In contrast to its predecessor, Brunt Weenie Sandwich, which predominately focused on studio recordings of tightly arranged compositions,  this album largely consists of live recordings and features more improvisation.

Neon Park was working as a poster artist with The Family Dog, a San Francisco design group, when he got a call from Frank Zappa asking him to come down to Los Angeles. Zappa had seen the drawings Park had done for a group called Dancing Food and wanted him to paint the jacket for the next Mothers of Invention record, Weasels Ripped My Flesh. At their meeting, Zappa showed Park a magazine cover. “It was one of those men’s magazines, like Saga,” says Park. “The cover story was ‘Weasels Ripped My Flesh,’ and it was the adventure of a guy, naked to the waist, who was in water. The water was swarming with weasels, and they were all kind of climbing on him and biting him. So Frank said, ‘This is it. What can you do that’s worse than this?’ And the rest is history.”


Park’s painting, for which he was paid $250, almost didn’t see the light of day. Zappa butted heads with Warner Bros. over its suitability for release. “Evidently,” says Park, “there was quite a confrontation that occurred over this cover. It wasn’t up to their standards.” Even after Warner Bros. finally consented to use it, there were problems. “The printer was greatly offended,” says Park. “The girl who worked for him, his assistant, she wouldn’t touch the painting. She wouldn’t pick it up with her hands.” Zappa and Park, meanwhile, were tickled silly by the brouhaha: “I was greatly amused by the cover, and so was Frank,” says Park. “I mean, we giggled a lot.”

fz mag man's life-1 56

And courtesy of lp cover lover Tycho …fathers-day-shaving

And/or courtesy of lp cover lover Rejean …


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Inspiration Information #1

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Queen’s 1977 album News of the World was inspired by this cover from the October 1953 edition of Astounding Science Fiction magazine (later called Analog) to illustrate the story The Gulf Between by Tom Godwin:

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The robot killing the man was likened to a child injuring a bug and looking up at his parents saying “what have I done?” The caption for the image was “Please… fix it, Daddy?”  The artist of the original piece, Frank Kelly Freas, painted the album cover based on his original work.  It features Freddie Mercury and Brian May dead in the robot’s giant hand, while Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon plummet to the ground. It’s definitely one of Queen’s most identifiable album covers, which also contained the hits “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions.”

Freas painted another version of it for inner cover. The inner cover version depicted the robot breaking through an auditorium rooftop and reaching for the people in the panicked crowd. This painting was also used in the artwork to promote Queen’s tour.


Artist Frank Kelly Freas was involved in the science fiction field from 1950, until his death in 2005. He painted everything from pieces for NASA, to book covers, to magazine covers, to buxom beauties as nose art on fighter planes to Mad Magazine, and even the covers for the GURPS books for Lensman and Planet Krishna. He won numerous awards, and was often hailed of “The Dean of Science Fiction Artists.” You can check out his awards, browse his art, and even buy pieces of his work at his website, which is chock full of information including a brief documentary by his wife Laura.  Check out his book “The Art of Science Fiction”.

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Joe Cocker’s Blues Band

Rag Goes Mad Front

Rag Goes Mad Rear

Here’s something really cool from LP cover lover, Anthony Hulme:  Hi Matthew,  This is reportedly the earliest recording by the late Joe Cocker.  Joe came from Sheffield, England and Sheffield University produced this EP of local bands in 1967 during University Rag Week in order to raise funds for local charities.  The tracks on the EP were recorded at ‘The Mojo’ a Sheffield nightclub founded by Pete Stringfellow.  (He of ‘Stringfellows’, London fame). The rest is history.

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Signed, sealed, delivered!

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The Letter  The Box Tops  EMI/Stateside Records (Australia)  (1967)  Nice cover art for this huge #1 song sung by 16 year-old Alex Chilton.  Love that opening drumbeat and classic first line “Give me a ticket for an Aero-plane”!  It’s been covered many times.  I’m most fond of Al Green’s early recording.

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“And the colored girls go doo-do-doo”


Lou Reed  “Walk on the Wild Side” b/w “Perfect Day  RCA Victor (Spain)

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