Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

Best Album Covers: A Start

LP

A couple of years ago writer Rob O’Connor, penning a column for Yahoo Music, posted a dead-on article that related on a subject I have a true soft spot towards. Even after all the decades that have passed, it’s LP album covers. For those who don’t recognize the term or what these were, author Tom Schreck described it perfectly well:

“Note: For those of you born after 1980, an album was an archaic piece of vinyl that played music when spun in a circle with a needle attached to it…really.”

Ah, but I digress. Mr. O’Connor jotted down not a tribute per se on the topic at hand but instead threw light on a hard fact some of us realized long ago. Sometimes a vinyl’s artwork absolutely sucked:

“Inspired by the ugliness of the new Jane’s Addiction album, The Great Escape Artist, we here at List Of The Day (ok, just me and a bunch of friends with great suggestions) compiled a bunch of lists of album covers that are, in the technical sense, awful.”

You’ll find his graphically challenged catalog here:

The Twenty-Five Worst Album Covers of All-Time

I can’t say I disagree with any one of them listed there. Even the LP listed at the number ten slot. That’s saying something, me being a longtime Beatlemaniac and all. But the truth is the truth:

magical_mystery_tour

10) The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour: Sentimentality makes it hard to realize just how terrible this album cover is. It appeals to small children, but weren’t the Beatles trying to get away from the teeny-bopper crowd? The U.S. version adds “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” to an album that already had “I Am The Walrus.” No need to turn it into a joke. The film is terrible but the album isn’t. But you don’t know that by looking at it.”

Easily, amongst all The Lads‘ album covers, this remains my least favorite in the art department — by the way, an array of Beatles covers examples can be found here on the web. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy this LP musically, however. I very much did. Check out this segment from the old blog series I reprised to see why.

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Still, getting back on subject — I didn’t mean to make this a Beatles music-related post, but there it is — Rob’s article, and the one I’ll link below, did inspire me to start another series of posts. This being the first to chronicle those LP Album covers I thought the most eye-catching, or just plain gorgeous to look at, growing up.

So, what shall I start with, you ask? Well, it’d be the exact same one from 1965 that Tom Schreck highlighted three years ago last month (he has it listed in his post from 1966, but it came out a year earlier):

FRIDAY HAPPY HOUR: Greatest Album Cover EVER!

Primarily known for the solid A Taste of Honey instrumental and Whipped Cream (a number that wasn’t a radio-hit but got surprising attention just for being the theme song used in ABC-TV’s The Dating Game), Whipped Cream & Other Delights was not their best LP. Tune-wise, in my opinion. Still, it proved popular1 (little wonder). While the group had an unexpected hit-filled run during that groovy decade, this record’s gimmick of food-titled songs (with some cover tunes) only went so far. Nevertheless, it was without question Herb and company’s coolest album cover ever, bar none. I can’t tell how many times I stared at this as a kid.

Who am I kidding? I still do. I hope you enjoy it as much as I :-).

Whipped Cream and Other Delights

Artist: Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass
Title: Whipped Cream & Other Delights
Date: 1965
Label: A & M Records
Track Listing (and yes, they did have sides to these things and you did have to turn them over to listen):

Side 1

A Taste of Honey
Green Peppers
Tangerine
Bittersweet Samba
Lemon Tree
Whipped Cream

Side 2

Love Potion No. 9
El Garbanzo
Ladyfingers
Butterball
Peanuts
Lollipops and Roses


The entire series can be found here.


  1. The cover layout featured model Dolores Erickson wearing chiffon and shaving cream. Erickson was three months pregnant at the time. The photo shoot was done in one afternoon with Erickson covered with shaving cream, and a dollop of whipped cream on her head. Though Alpert and Jerry Moss weren’t initially impressed with the concept sketches, when shown the proofs, they were won over. 
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38 Responses to “Best Album Covers: A Start”

  1. Fogs' Movie Reviews

    LOL. I dont know if I can agree on that “Greatest” album cover, but wow… you’re SO right about Mystery Tour. I cant believe I never thought about it til now, just how horrible that cover is.

    Crazy, too, because of my top ten album covers, The Beatles would probably own 5 spots, easy… they had some killer covers!

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    • le0pard13

      Herb and company’s cover remains eye-catching, I think. It certainly is Author Tom’s greatest. I still remember that album cover to this day. I could say the same for Magical Mystery Tour, but for a different reason ;-). I’d also agree with you about The Lads’ album cover. Many of them were killer. Thanks, Fogs.

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  2. Morgan R. Lewis

    I don’t know if Whipped Cream and Other Delights is the best album cover ever, but it’s certainly a decent one. I wholeheartedly agree on Magical Mystery Tour; weird, ugly cover. Considering the Beatles also had one of the best with Abbey Road, it’s a striking contrast.

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    • le0pard13

      I still find it interesting that Delores Erickson, the model so deliciously depicted on the album, was three months pregnant at the shoot. And Abbey Road remains iconic for this fan. Many thanks, Morgan.

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  3. jackdeth72

    Hi, Michael and company:

    You can’t go wrong with Herb Alpert’s ‘A Taste of Honey’!

    Surprised to not see the Beatles ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ here. Call me strange, but I’ve always liked the Robert Crumb exposition and artwork for Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company’s ‘Cheap Thrills’.

    Also the album cover for The Grateful Dead’s ‘American Beauty’.

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