Why 60’s album covers are worth it

19 Feb

“Nashville Skyline,” Bob Dylan, 1969.

While in the middle of Nothing-But-Cornfields, Illinois this past weekend, I stumbled across a book worthy enough to earn itself a mention on a music blog.

To me, one of the strongest arguments for keeping vinyl around is the art. It’s not just that many of album covers are gorgeous – they’re funky, mind-bending, and indicative of an era.  Album artwork can say as much as any piece of art in a museum, only it’s better since it comes with music. A good cover draws you in, makes you take a chance on a new band.

All of this made Storm Thorgerson’s Classic Album Covers of the 60’s a must-have. While there is some narration, this book is more a gallery of a decade, starting in the early years where bands wore suits and stood, smiling, in a line; moving through the jazz to psyychedlic to hard core psychedelic. There are pterodactyls, houses built out of grapes, musicians dressed as wizards and women floating underwater. There’s the nude portrait of Yoko Ono and John Lennon and Led Zepplin’s zephyr.

And, while the book highlights classic, timeless bands – The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jimmi Hendrix and Bob Dylan – there are albums also chosen solely for the their amazing art, perhaps not well-known but still amazing to look at.

“The Fool,” The Fool, 1969.

I wasn’t alive in the 60’s. Thorgerson makes me wish I was. With every turn of the page I tasted an era and found another album I wanted to listen to. Scrolling through an ITunes library will never compare.

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