Friday , September 25 2020
For those who lived through the time, you will find the covers of long lost memories.

Book Review – Album Cover Album by Roger Dean And Storm Thorgerson

Album Cover Album is a review of some of the greatest album cover designs ever created. It primarily spans the period from 1950 through the 1970s. The book is edited by two designers who are best known for their work on album covers. Roger Dean is best known for his work with Yes, and Storm Thogerson is known for his work with Pink Floyd.

Album Cover Album begins with an introduction that takes us from the first sound recordings that were created 130 years ago, through the first paper envelopes in the early part of the 1900s. It then guides us on a tour through the development of the jackets in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and the 1970s.

The first section is "Jazz" and it highlights some of the designs that came out of the 1950s jazz scene. These are where the first development began. In many instances the quality and innovation of these covers were not attained in any other genre until rock music in the 1960s.

The next focus is "Psychedelia." During this time bands began to secure more power to direct their own covers. This led to the employment of designers, artists, and photographers. It spawned a virtual industry, with the result being a wide range of colorful jackets that was widely diversified.

The "Golden Years" features the best of covers through the 60s and 70s. These were chosen primarily because of the images that they presented, not so much because of the music that was contained on the record within. These are really the classics.

"Influence & Coincidence" looks at covers that contain similar design features or that their approaches are similar. Taken separately, you don't really appreciate the similarities that some of these have. Put together on a page, it is quite remarkable how much alike they can be.

"Miscellany" looks at packaging strategies. One section considers how the covers of the band Chicago had a similar theme. Other sections consider examples where the musicians themselves designed the packaging, and other packaging that was censored.

"Portfolio's" takes a look at eight designers and small individual portfolios of each. These are: Roger Dean, Rick Griffin, John Kosh, Jon Van Hamersveld, Pacific Eye and Ear, Rod Dyer, Hipgnosis, and Jon Pasche.

"Devices & Disguises" takes a look at alternatives to the standard motifs of photographic or illustrative covers. These are designs where there is an extra flap, as with The Who's Tommy, or sleeves that you could play with, such as with Led Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin III.

Album Cover Album is a trip down memory lane. For those who remember the era of the vinyl record, the covers sometimes meant just as much as the music itself. In today's world of the CD and small format, it is just not the same.

This book is a must-have for anyone who listened to music of the sixties or seventies. For those who lived through the time, you will find the covers a reminder of long-lost memories. The book is sized to that of an album cover and was a pleasure to read. If you like music, like artwork, or like album covers, I very highly recommend this book.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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