Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On the Other Hand, LPs Were Great

Check out Sergeant Pepper with its cut-outs and photos and lyrics. You could buy it that way for decades.

Oh, and look what came with The Beatles (The White Album) LP. There was a big poster, too. Compare the LP to the shitty cassette version. (My copy came with the cases scotch-taped together.)

London Calling was a thang of beauty. In addition to the great front and back design, you got these great hand-written lyrics on the sleeves. (click to embiggen)

Even bands I didn't much like at the time had some cool stuff. Led Zep's Physical Graffiti had push-pull sleeve action, with images and letters appearing in  the little windows.

So did the Stones' Some Girls, which got them in copyright trouble with the likes of Lucille Ball, and they hadda re-do the cover as a result.

And I always loved Tull's Stand Up.

Yer missin' out with yer MP3s and yer I-Tunes, kids.


  1. Yeah, the first generation or two of PEPPER listeners who rated it as the best thing ever recorded were clearly listening with their eyes at least as much as with their ears, and everyone after them came up under the gospel that the album is the greatest. It's a triumph of packaging, not music. SOME GIRLS isn't much of a classic except in the context of how much sucking they did in the '70s. LONDON CALLING still lives up to its hype, though.

    I'm fried, the only candidates for great LP packaging I can think of at the moment is Ralph J Gleason's long essay running across all six gatefold covers of Lenny Bruce's LIVE AT THE CURRAN THEATER. I never asked much; a cool image on the front [hello Blue Note, Fantasy and Columbia's classical imprint] and a track list & introductory essay on the back.

    Wait, I thought of another one -- the recent two-disk Elvis Costello rereleases are amazing, gloriously appropriate packages that enhance the music without overshadowing it. The similar Replacements rereleases were almost as good.

  2. Be great if when you come on board you expand this topic a little. I hadn't meant to post about LPs but a comment in the cassette post spurred my thinking. These are the LPs that popped into my head. A lot of jazz and blues 78s were beautifully designed. I should dig some up and post those some time.