The Greatest Gatefold L.P.s Inner-Sleeves.
Although it is thought that the first rock and roll record to be made outside of the U.S.A. was a New Zealand cover of ?Rock Around The Clock? by Johnny Cooper in 1955, it was decades before rock music was presented here with anything less than scorn.
With the arrival of the L.P. any chance to reduce the overall production cost was eagerly grasped so records that had gatefold covers overseas were reduced to single sleeves here; coloured rear covers were reproduced in black and white and the vinyl quality was as thin as the flimsy cardboard.
Of course this produced rarities like David Bowie?s ?Hunky Dory? which had the nice, cheap single-colour back cover used as the FRONT cover as well! ? don?t ask me why. I would love to talk to the anonymous executives who made these kind of decisions and see if they can remember why!
But the point is this?
It was only when I began travelling overseas with The Chills in the mid to late eighties that I began to see in second-hand record shops what we in N.Z. had missed out on.
Great, bold photographs of artists against a chosen backdrop; some weird collages of concepts to stare at whilst absorbing the music; some challenging ideas ? like a hairy dead rock star hanging over a calender for that year of the album?s release! ? Alice Cooper?s ?Killer?.
And then recently , the topic of great gate-fold covers came up in converstaion - and, in particular, those striking inner images which could even be wonderful enough to jeopardise the safety of the vinyl 12 inch disc within, by pinning them up on the wall.
So, as people do, we started to make a list!
Now; I made three rules. (You don?t have to agree with them but I do think they make sense.)
1: The image has to be across both sides of the inner gatefold ? not just half. (Sorry ? there?s goes that great shot of Tim Buckley with a gas mask in ?Greetings From L.A.?)
2: A good image but accompanied by a lot of credits and/or lyrics just doesn?t allow it into the upper league either. (There goes Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band ? ?Trout Mask Replica?)
3: Some really good gate-fold inner-sleeves are comprised of a bunch of smaller images or photographs and they may be effective but not in the same way as those big, powerful images that really make you catch your breath. (Farewell Syd Barrett ? ?Syd Barrett? Harvest Double Compilation L.P.)
So here are my first twenty-five selections for your assessment and comment. (I am counting on you either knowing these covers or being able to find them on the net.)
There may be confusion over different covers in different countries but not so much that it can?t be quickly sorted. If it does get messy then we can get digital photos of the artwork on display - for reference only.
Syd Barrett - 'The Madcap Laughs'
David Bowie - 'Alladin Sane'
Alice Cooper - 'Love It To Death'
Alice Cooper - 'Killer'
The Doors - 'The Soft Parade'
The Doors - 'Morrison Hotel'
Nick Drake - 'Nick Drake' [8 song compilation]
Bob Dylan - 'The Basement Tapes'
Brian Eno - 'Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)'
Fripp And Eno - 'No Pussyfooting'
Van Morrison - 'Tupelo Honey'
Mott The Hoople - 'Mad Shadows'
Gram Parsons - 'GP'
Suzi Quatro - 'Your Mama Won't Like Me'
Rolling Stones - 'Beggars Banquet'
Rolling Stones - 'Their Satanic Majesties Request'
Roxy Music - 'Stranded'
Sly And The Family Stone - 'There's A Riot Goin' On'
The Stooges - "Funhouse'
The Turtles 'Present The Battle Of The Bands'
Velvet Underground - 'Andy Warhol's Velvet Underground featuring Nico' [Compilation]
The Who - 'Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy'
Wings - 'Venus And Mars'
Neil Young - 'Tonight's The Night'
Frank Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention - 'We're
Only In It For The Money'
Martin Phillipps. 1/9/09.