A BRIEF HISTORY OF ALBUM COVERS - I recently discovered and bought a book that is about one of my favorite Rock ‘N’ Roll topics, that being album covers. A Brief History Of Album Covers set me back just $5 (U.S. funds). The store where I bought this cool book sells nothing higher than $5, hence the store name: Five Below. Now, this is not a used book store, nor a thrift store, all the variety of merchandise is sold as “new” at Five Below. There are a few of these Five Below stores in my area of Eastern Pennsylvania. Finding a book that interests me seems to be the norm, each time I visit a Five Below.
A Brief History Of Album Covers is an entertaining and insightful book to read. Author Jason Draper covers nearly 200 classic album covers, all in chronological order. From the debut and self-titled Elvis Presley album from 1956, to the (best of) Oasis album from 2006 – Stop The Clocks. From the Fifties to the “Noughties” as Jason Draper refers to the Millennium decade, he chooses album covers that are “the most iconic, unusual or representative” of each respective decade. It’s interesting and simply fun to see the album covers which Jason Draper has chosen for this book.
Each album cover has a brief write-up, with an anecdotal approach that works just well with me. Every album that is revisited has it’s respective cover pictured, in full color, along with it’s record label, release dates and songwriters. I find this book to be extremely helpful with it’s details that it offers. A Brief History Of Album Covers could have easily been a mammoth sized coffee table book, however, in this instance, the “less is more” school of thought comes together very attractively. This book has a soft cover and is 384 pages long. The oddball measurements (approximately) for this book are: 6 and 5/8″ x 6 and 1/4″.
There are not an abundance of Heavy Metal album covers found in Jason Draper’s research here and I quite honestly can live with it. Not everyone will submit the same list or book of what they consider to be the standout album covers that span 60 years. Iron Maiden’s third studio album from 1982, The Number Of The Beast is included, along with Van Halen’s 1984 and Led Zeppelin’s ultra-legendary sixth studio album – Physical Graffiti.
(Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti)
The diversity is seen here in A Brief History Of Album Covers that lends itself as a tribute to many Rock Music genres, only not all of them. From Frank Sinatra to Lynyrd Skynyrd with Pink Floyd and the Sex Pistols in-between, Jason Draper has accomplished a tidy celebration of album cover art. Sure, if it were my book on a history of album covers I would include representations from Black, Death and Thrash Metal without blinking a Metal eye. As I mentioned earlier though, not everyone will share the same opinion on an absolute list of decade defining album covers.
Even with the lack of Extreme Metal being represented within A Brief History Of Album Covers, I still strongly endorse this book and applaud Jason Draper for revisiting such a tremendous catalog of album covers. His interpretations of the album cover art he compiled, has made me look at these covers with an “open mind” once again. I also commend Jason Draper for paying homage to what is now quickly becoming an obsolete experience for younger generations of music fans, of being able to view and enjoy the album cover art that so often represents the respective music of the album and it’s creators. The LP does live on though, thanks to Jason Draper’s brief journey with all of these cool covers.
There are many interesting facts found in A Brief History Of Album Covers, both historic and artistic. One fact that I was reminded of, (due to my blatantly forgetting about), is the design similarity between Elvis Presley’s 1956 debut album and London Calling by The Clash, which was released back in 1979. Jason Draper refers to The Clash cover as “parodying” the Elvis Presley debut, only I beg to differ. My interpretation is The Clash are paying tribute to a true pioneer of Rock ‘N’ Roll, regardless if the initial intent was to be that of parody or not. Both the Elvis Presley debut album and London Calling are serious representations of their respective Rock genres, therefore the tag of “parody” realistically does not apply. Take a look for yourself below:
Elvis Presley (debut/self titled) – RCA Victor – 1956
The Clash (London Calling) – CBS Records (UK), Epic Records (U.S.)
* Jason Draper is the Reviews Editor for Record Collector Magazine, the United Kingdom’s longest running monthly music magazine, with distribution in the UK and worldwide. Jason Draper is described as a “true collector” on the inside back cover panel of this book… I would tend to agree he surely is, without knowing him.
* The foreword for A Brief History Of Album Covers was written by Paul Du Noyer. As the founder of Mojo (music magazine based in the United Kingdom), Paul Du Noyer has also edited many Rock Music reference books and is an author himself.
* A Brief History Of Album Covers was first published in 2008, by Flame Tree Publishing, based in the United Kingdom.
LONG LIVE ALBUM COVERS.
LONG LIVE THE POWER OF MUSIC.