Artist: Jimi Hendrix Album Title:War Heroes Label: Reprise Catalog: MS 2103 Year: 1972 Genre: rock Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Concept: Ken Dyball - Doug Campbell Cover drawing: Paul Jansen
Grade: **** star
I'm not a super Hendrix fan, but there's something mesmerizing about the late Paul Jansen's hyper-realistic portrait of Hendrix. (The album cover's actually better than the album.)
I grabbed a brief bio on Jansen:
Paul Jansen graduated from the Fine Arts Department with honors and a grant from the School of Visual Arts in the 1960s, after returning from Vietnam. After receiving postgraduate awards and scholarships such as to the renowned Skowhegan School with teachers Robert Indiana in 1969 Paul developed his unique technique and mastery of the line.
With mentors from such as Frank Stella, and Franz Kline along with George Maciunas the “Father of Soho” and founder of the Fluxus Movement, Paul termed his venue as a “3D Abstract Expressionist” with cartoonist flair.
Shortly thereafter, Paul served as Residence Artist at Jimi Hendrix’ Electric Lady Recording Studios in New York City. Jansen’s work appeared in Rolling Stone Magazine, The Village Voice and Playboy, and includes album cover designs for Jimi Hendrix War Heroes, and Loose Ends, and Henry McCullough’s Mind Your Own Business! Which was nominated for Album Cover of the Year Award, in London, England
Only 63, suffering from lung cancer, Jensen passed away in 2008. His wife retains an interesting website devoted to the artist:
Artist: Four Tops Album Title:Meeting of the Mind Label: ABC Dunhill Catalog: DSD 50166 Year: 1974 Genre: soul Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Concept: Peter Palombi Cover photo: Peter Palombi
Grade: *** star
Even if you hadn't been aware The Four Tops had switched their corporate allegiances from Motown to ABC Dunhill, chances are the weird cover would have given you a clue. Designed by Peter Palombi (his instantly recognizable, hper-realistic air brush stylings have been featured on dozens of album covers), it was hard to imagine Motown ever blessing the strange, slightly psychedelic cover art for this one. Frankly, I still don't know what the concept was - maybe the four streams of bubbles were intended to reflect the Tops ?
Artist: Derringer Album Title:Derringer Label: Blue Sky Catalog: FZ-34181 Year: 1976 Genre: rock Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Concept: Gerald Huerta Cover photo: Don Hunstein Construction: Nick Fasciano Grade: * star
To be honest, there's nothing particular appalling about this album cover. In fact, the only reason I picked it from the seemingly endless floor of "logo" covers, is the fact I happened to have a copy sitting on my desk. I'm not sure how much Blue Sky paid for this strategic concept, but from an artistic standpoint, the results were simply bland and completely forgettable (which also happens to describe most of the music on this album). As mentioned, the md-'70s saw a tidal way of these anonymous logo cover, Dreck !!!
Artist: Hawkwind Album Title:Road Hawks Label: United Artists Catalog: UAK 29919 Year: 1975 Genre: space rock Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Concept: Barney Bubbles Cover photo: not applicable Grade: **** stars
I guess it's funny I own this album since I'm not a big Hawkwind/space rock fan. In fact, I've probably only played this album three or four times in the 30 years I've owned it. That said, I'm a big fan of the late English graphic artist Barney Bubbles who was the inspiration for this cover.
Bubbles had previously designed a tour poster for Hawkwind and the band were so enamored with the work, they elected to adopted it for their 1975 album "Road Hawks". It may not be the prettiest cover I've ever encountered, but I just love the work's art deco feel.
Artist: Screamin Jay Hawkins Album Title: ... What That Is! Label: Philips Catalog: PHS 600-319 Year: 1969 Genre: soul Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Sleeve design: not listed Concept: not listed Cover photo: Dunstan Pereira Grade: * star
Admittedly the late Screamin Jay Hawkins was an unusual character, but this album cover is simply something else. How many artists would subject themselves to something like this? Seriously? What was Hawkins' record label thinking? "Yeah, we'll put him in a coffin (with a close-up shot on the back cover) and sell a million copies ..." Maybe it was meant to be quirky, but at least to my eyes the result was merely gruesome.
Artist: Eric Burdon and the Animals Album Title: Eric Is Here Label: MGM Catalog: SE 4433 Year: 1967 Genre: rock Grading: VG+ cover / VG+ LP Sleeve design: Acy Lehman Concept: Nancy Reiner Cover photo: not applicable Grade: * star
Ouch - where do you even start? I'm guessing that while the rest of the band may have been a little upset with Eric Burdon hogging the media spotlight and effectively taking over The Animals nameplate, in the wake of this horrible album cover, they might have been a little less upset knowing their pictures were plastered on the cover. Not that I am particularly artsy, but you can't help but think that if this had been submitted as a 9th grade art project, you might have recommended a do-over.