Despite many very impressive reviews, TROUT MASK RELPICA by Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, sold very poorly when it was released. Over time it has become widely acclaimed as a work of genius and one of the most influential albums of the entire Rock era. The songs were all written by Beefheart, arranged by drummer John “Drumbo” French and produced by Frank Zappa.
For those who were not around when IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING was released, it will be very hard for you to imagine what a huge impact this album had when it was released in 1969. It was nothing like anything that had ever been done before. Certainly nothing like anything done in the Rock world. The sound of the record was far more advanced than anything ever heard prior to its release.
Roy Wood, often known as the Wizard, is an iconic music figure in England. Unfortunately, for some completely mystifying reason, his talents were never appreciated by the Rock fans in the United States.
During the late 60’s when so many British bands were enjoying huge success in the US, his band called The Move never caught on. This was true despite Roy’s leadership that guided The Move in scoring several songs on the UK charts.
The closest thing to hit that The Move had in the US was called “Do Ya”. The complete story of the song and the band was already posted on this website (story). While the song never got past the lower levels of the charts, it was enough to cause a split in the band. Roy, using most of the same Move members, started an off shoot that he called The Electric Light Orchestra.
The Beatles have always had interesting album covers. At three of them caused a great deal of controversy. We may get to others in the future, but today we will focus on the cover of Abbey Road.
When Paul McCartney did a pencil sketch of what he wanted on the cover of Abbey Road, he never imagined what demons he would unleash. It did seem pretty simple and straight forward. The fab four walking across Abbey Road.
The only problem that anyone foresaw was crowd control and traffic. That was easily solved when the police blocked off the area and gave the photographer just ten minutes to take his best shots. Despite having to balance himself on a step ladder while taking the legendary photo, the work was accomplished in the allotted time. Everyone was happy with the results.
Big Brother & The Holding Company
The first time I met Janis Joplin was when I was the MC for her first concert ever in Philadelphia. It was held on the U of Penn campus in their Irvine Auditorium. Also on the bill was Philadelphia’s own Soul Survivors and Edison Electric. Oddly, Edison Electric went on last.
Over the years the art of designing album covers has been almost as appealing as the music inside. Artists were often commissioned to draw or paint a cover that fit the group or title of the record. Some were real works of art and others were just plain strange.
One of the strangest album covers of all time was one that not many people even saw. The group was called Pigeon. It is often said that you can’t judge a book by its cover. That was often not true of album covers. Pigeon was a very good example. Their cover featured a dead pigeon that was in a sandwich. This bad taste cover was almost as bad as the record itself. I will spare you the viewing of the cover and instead will concentrate on ones that were a lot more cleverly and/or artfully done.