Saturday, April 17, 2010

National Record Album Day! Today!

Yup, that's right folks, today is National Record Album Day. First I've heard of it but hey, a great excuse to re-visit some vintage rock and roll album covers and other related music art. It was SO HARD to pick just a few to feature, so much great art out there in vinyl land. Just Bowie's or the Dead's covers are enough to fill a quality art book by themselves!
Apparently, small record stores everywhere are having special events, so check out your area. There are links at the bottom of this post for more info and local stores. Take some time to support your local indie record store this week-end, buy that record you've always wanted! Or think ahead and get your mom a groovy disk for Mother's day.

David Bowie "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars"
The cover photograph was taken outside furriers, K. West, at 23 Heddon Street London, W1. The rear cover of the original vinyl album bore the instruction "TO BE PLAYED AT MAXIMUM VOLUME", however this was omitted from the EMI 1999 re-release. In interviews, Bowie has said that the real-life inspiration for Ziggy was chiefly Vince Taylor, though the lyrics hint at Jimi Hendrix ("played it left hand ... jiving us that we were voodoo") and the character was likely a composite. Bowie claimed that the name came from a tailor's shop in London called Ziggy's. "Stardust" comes from one of Bowie's labelmates, a country singer named Norman Carl Odam, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy.  - from Wikipedia
The title wording on the front cover is an ambigram; it can also be read as "American Reality". From NY Times: Artist of the 1960s Rock Counterculture

Patti Smith "Horses" by Robert Mapplethorpe
Some info on the cover photography and an interview with Patti, here: Robert Mapplethorpe

Nirvana "In Utero", Cover art by Robert Fisher
The title was taken from a poem written by Courtney Love. Most of the ideas for the artwork for the album and related singles came from Cobain. Fisher recalled that "[Cobain] would just give me some loose odds and ends and say 'Do something with it.'" In the US, retail chain stores Wal-Mart and Kmart refused to sell the album. According to The New York Times, Wal-Mart claimed it did not carry the album due to lack of consumer demand, while Kmart representatives explained that the album "didn't fit within our merchandise mix". In truth, both chains feared that customers would be offended by the artwork on the album's back cover. DGC issued a new version of the album with reworked packaging to the stores in March 1994. 

This version featured edited album artwork (took out the fetuses), and listed the name of "Rape Me" as "Waif Me". A spokesperson for Nirvana explained that the band decided to edit the packaging because as kids Cobain and Novoselic were only able to buy music from the two chain stores; as a result they "really want to make their music available to kids who don't have the opportunity to go to mom-and-pop stores".      - from Wikipedia
Los Lobos "La Pistola Y El Corazon" by George Yepes
Absolutely one of my favorite paintings of all time... Wouldn't you know it - this original is owned by Sean Penn and Madonna, great taste on this one! What other goodies do you two have on your walls?
More of Yepes art here:

And from Rolling Stone's great archives of portrait illustrations-
Bjork by Mark Ryden for Rolling Stone

Bob Dylan by Skip Liepke for Rolling Stone
Ray Charles by Philip Burke for Rolling Stone

And from Britain's Royal Mail, a series of postal stamps they issued with album cover art... pretty cool.

Wilco, MGMT, Hole Announce Record Store Day Exclusives : Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily
San Francisco:
Amoeba Music (Berkeley)
Rasputin Music (Berkeley)
Down Home Music (El Cerrito)
Mod Lang (El Cerrito)
1-2-3-4 Go! Records (Oakland)