Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nine Inappropriate Classic Rock Album Covers

I remember writing some time ago about an album cover that was particularly apt. These are the flipside. Not horrible, necessarily, not laughable, nor even bad, just wrong in some way for the music contained within.

Molly Hatchet first album cover
Molly Hatchet S/T

The artwork by Frank Frazetta is a sword and sorcery classic, but somebody forgot to tell Danny Joe Brown and the rest of them about the equivalencies between fantasy art and metal.

This would have been great as a Cirith Ungol cover, or for some other band with a name jacked from Tolkien, like Gorgoroth, or Amon Amarth. But for a Southern rock band whose best song is called "Gator Country?"

Not so much.

Boston Don't Look Back album cover
Boston - Don't Look Back

If the metal <==> sword and sorcery equivalency is damn near hard and fast, the prog <==> sci fi one is a little more fluid.

Yes kickstarted the sci-fi thing with the Fragile backstory, but they also went fantasy with Relayer. For every 2112, there's an In the Land of Pink and Grey.

Neither of which sound anything like Boston. Simply put, the Rock 'n' Roll Cities In Flight thing here doesn't work. Not for this album, not for this band. I'm not really judging the music. There's no need for me to slander Boston, at least at the present time.

But listen to it, or at least remember back to when you did: this is beach music, for sunny days, blue skies, hot chicks in pink bikinis. Frisbees. Nowhere in sight is there anything remotely resembling a fucking guitar starship. . . .

Rolling Stones Let It Bleed album cover
Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed

Because the one thing we all think of when we come across smokin' slide guitar blues rock, or for that matter achieve the sweet absolution when she spills her honeyed blood or splatters her musky nectar and makes a mess all over us, is . . . . birthday cake!

Sir Lord Baltimore album cover
Sir Lord Baltimore S/T

Proto-metal cult classic musically, but--and I guess it's because in 1971 they didn't have the metal iconography down pat yet--a bad misfire on the cover logo.

It's like you see some old concert poster from the early '70's and they've got Black Sabbath's name in some airy-fairy, wavy gravy hippie font. Metal is for angular Germanic fonts, goddamnit. Otherwise, how are we to know it's metal?

Jon Anderson Song of Seven album cover
Jon Anderson - Song of Seven

Son of a bitch made the album look like Olias when it don't sound like Olias

Neil Young & Crazy Horse Zuma album cover
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Zuma

There's been some kind of mixup, apparently: this artwork had actually belonged on the cover of a Daniel Johnston album, right?

Roxy Music first album cover
Roxy Music S/T

Actually a little torn on this. On the one hand, it's not surprising that a band featuring two well-known horndogs like Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno should have an album cover that so obviously attempts to titillate.

But on the other hand, this is art rock. Growing up in the '80's, I was despite my best efforts inundated with T'n'A album covers from hair- or sleaze-metal bands like The Scorpions or Warrant, and this sure as hell ain't them.

Blue Öyster Cult On Your Feet Or On Your Knees album cover
Blue Öyster Cult - On Your Feet Or On Your Knees

I'm of the opinion that the cover art for live albums should--unless they are making a visual joke a la Kansas' Two for the Show or Aerosmith's Live! Bootleg--use some pictures that were taken of the band while, you know, playing live.

Think Double Live Gonzo or Live at Budokan or Rainbow's On Stage.

I don't know, maybe it's just me. But a picture of some limousine, even if it is festooned with the BÖ logo, doesn't convey the concert experience. At least Some Enchanted Evening had the Grim Reaper. . . .

Dust hard Attack albuym cover
Dust - Hard Attack

Another Frazetta, and basically, what I'd said about the Hatchet. Maybe if Dust had been some pagan black metal outfit from Norway rather than some hard rock dudes from New York, I'd be feeling the cover more.


rastronomicals said...

I'm sure I'm missing something obvious, leaving it kind of open, feel free to suggest a tenth.

TAD said...

R: WHERE did I read that the model on Roxy's 1st album was a drag queen? Musta been Paul Stump's rather bad & kinda snooty Roxy bio I read a few years back. Don't know if he's right, never looked that close....
...& that Sir Lord Baltimore cover really IS ugly. Didn't they have another album with a sailing ship or something on it...?
...Sorry I've fallen behind, but I'll be reading more of yr recent stuff. & I can already tell you that Hipster Kitty is HEElarious....

rastronomicals said...

Tad! Back on the internets! It gets lonely around here when you're not around . . . .

Seriously, glad you got your technical issues straightened out.

As far as the Roxy drag queen thing, gosh, I had no idea. Looking around now, Christgau at the least believes it to be true.

If so, I'd say the cover is more representative of the band than not.

The other SLB album is Kingdom Come and I think its cover is excellent, looks like a semi-abstract painting of a ghostly pirate ship . . . .