Favorite A&M Album Jackets

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Here is something that I thought of this morning. What are your favorite jackets for the series from the start of A&M through the end of 1972?
Pick up to ten by artists that you have in your collection from that time period. Please do a short answer for your choices.
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
Wow there are a few I can for several artists I will name a few to start
1 Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass South of the border the photos were taken at the Landmark Patio del Moro apartment complex and had a Spanish aire to it
2 the first 2 Baja Marimba Band Lps with the participants dressed in Mexican bandits regalia that also had a spanish aire to it
3 ( Sorry this is past 1972 but this is one of my favorites) Herb Alpert Rise With Herb standing in front one of the Studios At A&M the wall had images of vinyl records the sunlight ( or a very good lighting system) made them sparkle
I'll try to think of more I'll check my collection in the meantime for more ideas but so far these are standouts
 

Rudy

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Most of mine would be post-1972. Or if I had to, I'd default to picking ten of the A&M/CTi album covers, as I'm a fan of Pete Turner's photography. My criteria for favorites are ones that I would hang on my wall in LP frames. And as of right now, only one A&M (The Police -- Ghost in the Machine) is on the wall. Although it is in a themed grouping of red/black album covers, like the West Side Story film soundtrack, Rush's Hold Your Fire, Mancini's Mr Lucky, etc. The "classic era" A&M album covers...eh, not so much a fan of those. And some like the Whipped Cream cover are so dated and overused now that if I never saw it again in my life, it'd be no loss.
 

Michael Hagerty

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Contributor
Most of mine would be post-1972. Or if I had to, I'd default to picking ten of the A&M/CTi album covers, as I'm a fan of Pete Turner's photography. My criteria for favorites are ones that I would hang on my wall in LP frames. And as of right now, only one A&M (The Police -- Ghost in the Machine) is on the wall. Although it is in a themed grouping of red/black album covers, like the West Side Story film soundtrack, Rush's Hold Your Fire, Mancini's Mr Lucky, etc. The "classic era" A&M album covers...eh, not so much a fan of those. And some like the Whipped Cream cover are so dated and overused now that if I never saw it again in my life, it'd be no loss.
I think a lot of the problem is that most of this time period covers when album art was done in-house---not just at A&M, which had Peter Whorf, but at Columbia and RCA---a lot of albums that almost didn't need a label logo on the cover. You could tell from the layout , photo composition and font choices whose it was.

All that said, I'll go for ten in roughly chronological order but bend the rules about having it in my collection, since I really don't do physical media anymore:

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1. WHIPPED CREAM & OTHER DELIGHTS-Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (1965)

Now that I know it's not a trick question---c'mon. One of the most iconic album covers in music history. A boundary-breaker that all of a sudden raised the bar (some prudes would say "lowered").

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2. LOOK AROUND-Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 (1968)

Maybe this is a "you had to be there", but I'm from there. This is a late '60s Los Angeles afternoon---visibility 50 feet, sky turned white from photochemical smog, but a gentle breeze blowing in from the coast. The colors are perfect and----Lani's looking at you.

Sigh.

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3. CHRISTMAS ALBUM-Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (1968)

Subtle whimsy. Herb as Santa, but with his trumpet, not in some cheesy pose coming out of a chimney.

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4. ROAD SONG-Wes Montgomery (1969)

One of the few literal Pete Turner photographs for an album title.

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5. SUMMERTIME-Paul Desmond (1969)

The reverse of ROAD SONG. The ironic Pete Turner photograph. Yeah, the sun is melting the icicles, but that happens in winter, too. Could be spring. It ain't summertime.
 
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Michael Hagerty

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Contributor
( I split this into two parts because of a vague recollection---maybe wrong---that these posts have image limits)

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6. AHEAD RINGS OUT-Blodwyn Pig (1969)

My last A&M album purchases prior to this having been MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF, WARM and CRYSTAL ILLUSIONS, the sight of a pig's head wearing headphones, sunglasses and smoking a joint with the A&M logo on the cover was a bit of a shocker in the record department at The Broadway, but---it made an impression. This is a licensing deal and A&M simply went with the artwork from the UK release and slapped the A&M drop-down box on it. Good move. I can't think of a single album cover that more clearly states the label was serious about rock. Lucille Starr and Bob Regan, call your office. You, too, Claudine.

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7. SEASONS-Pete Jolly (1970)

Simple. Beautiful. A&M's cover art goes freeform. The second release of the 3000 series to shrink the logo (Paul Desmond's BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER was first).

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8. CARPENTERS (1971)

A lot of people thought this was underwhelming or didn't understand what the idea was. But in our house, we had a photo of my late dad, with an uncharacteristic beard, taken in the 1940s in Lone Pine, California---in exactly this sort of foldable portrait. So I had a soft spot. Purely objectively, it's the introduction of what would be the group logo, it tells you it's on A&M and if you want more, that'll be $5.98. They were hot enough to get away with it.

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9. SMOKIN'-Humble Pie (1972)

It says rock and roll. Loud. The template for a lot of what rock album covers would look like in some sense through the 70s.

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10. THE RAIN BOOK-Renee Armand (1972)

It's cold and raining in L.A. The city's sitting through an unexpected storm. And the album cover reinforces the central lyric of the album's first single.

THE RAIN BOOK is the first album to not have the A&M logo on the front cover. Wasn't on the back, either. Just a tasteful "A&M Records, Inc." and the address in the lower right side of the back cover. As if you could tear your eyes off the photo of Renee (and Renee, I know you occasionally check in here, so please know that I say that with deep respect. I've already made it clear in other posts that this album is an overlooked masterpiece).
 

Rudy

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If I break the 1972 rule...

There are two by Joe Jackson which I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite from.

This one pays homage to a Blue Note jazz album:

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The Sonny Rollins original:

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Then there is this evocative cover for Night and Day. I like the simplicity; in fact, I like that in most album covers and photographs (which is why some of the "throw everything and the kitchen sink" covers from the 60s don't work for me). I forgot...I do have this one on my wall as well (it's not grouped with the black/red covers).

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With The Police, similarly, it was a tough choice between Synchronicity and Ghost in the Machine but the latter wins out, again, due to being a clean and simplistic design.

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Synchronicity's use of color, though, is what attracts me to it, and there were well over a dozen color variations on the jacket's colors, and the pictures behind the color were also rotated between different versions of the cover.

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Crime of the Century is another favorite--as they were going with the prog rock sound here, the cover fits that theme.

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At this point, I have to take a break and say that I promise I won't subject anyone to the "chest hair wig" album covers of Gino Vannelli. 😁
 

Rudy

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This Squeeze album has a very stylish cover design, and came in many color choices (blue, pink, yellow, green).

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One of my favorite Pete Turner photos. I use it as a background on my car system, in fact (the original wide version).

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New Zealand's Split Enz. This one also came in a variety of colors (at least five).

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Road Song has another favorite Pete Turner photo, only this one was reversed to use on the album jacket.

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Styx had some clever covers, but there has always been something about the "fire and ice" photo on their A&M debut that appeals to me.

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I may scrape out another list for the 60s era once I get some time. It's not like they're bad, but they're uniformly good and honestly, none of them really stand out as being exceptional.
 

Rudy

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Quickly while I still have a few moments...in no particular order, the first five in the classic years.

Back to the "simplicity" theme. And, one picture tells an entire story here.

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This one, with its minimal use of color, has always attracted me.

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This is one of the more clever covers, a cartoon mashup of the first two album covers, and an endless source of entertainment trying to guess who is who.

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Bold colors win here:

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This one is simplistic in design, but has the added detail of the reflection in the lenses. And it would be too plain unless it had the colored words framing the photo.

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Rudy

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Last five in the classic years....

Living in a boating community, this photo always appealed to me.

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The two CTi albums above would be part of the pre-72 group.

Clever design, using film:

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Liking the simpler designs the best, this one is simple, clean and elegant all in one.

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rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Thanks for all the great responses. I liked the covers of the CTI issues as I had seen them on the sleeves and color catalog. They have a simplicity but also an elegance to them. Unfortunately I do not have any of them. I knew Whipped Cream would show up and I see Look Around also made the cut. That one is bright and colorful and gives hint to the colorful treasures within. For some of my own choices, I would pick Whipped Cream but also SRO. I like the way Herb is at the base of the steps as he could have placed himself at the top of the stairs but to me he is giving the band high regard. Crystal Illusions is also a top for me as I feel it was a great cover as it gives a mystique as does the music of the title song. Pais Tropical to me gives a nod to the startup of Brasil'66 with the tropical theme. I like Lani Hall's debut solo for the side view and not a full front face picture and the colorful back painting. Baja Marimba Band's For Animals Only for the colorful artwork is my favorite of theirs. I go along with Carpenters for the simplicity and the excellence of the album. The two Burt Bacharach's are a tough choice. The Reach Out has all the frames and different moods but Make It Easy On Yourself gets a bit of an edge for its simplicity and his serious look as though he is composing something difficult right then. I have two by Claudine Longet-the debut and Colours. I like the colorful cover of the debut and she looks pale and washed out on Colours.
Again, thanks for all the great responses.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
One from that period I really like is the reissued Ticket To Ride album cover with Karen & Richard on the yacht. It was shot on a very sunny day (compared to the original “Offering” cover that was shot on an overcast day and Karen looks like a nun for some reason). And it just gives those vibes of wanting to just relax and listen to the music. Even later on the photo for the Sing/Druscilla Penny 45 looks similar in style to the revised TTR and should’ve been used for an LP.

On cover from later is A Kind of Hush—-just the window pane with the front on the edges really stands out. Along with both Christmas Portrait & An Old-Fashioned Christmas. I really like those older Christmas album covers since the photographer or designer really tried to get the Christmas spirit on the cover before you opened the album like that Herb Alpert Christmas one and he’s Santa Claus. Modern Christmas covers I find I kind of done in a hurry and don’t really look Christmasy. They’ll photograph the artist in front of a winter scene or do something that looks Christmasy but isn’t. I guess it was more the time where it was before all this political correctness and the people weren’t worried about offending other people by saying “Merry Christmas” or overly doing the Christmas stuff, whereas now they think they might offend people.
 

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
One from that period I really like is the reissued Ticket To Ride album cover with Karen & Richard on the yacht. It was shot on a very sunny day (compared to the original “Offering” cover that was shot on an overcast day and Karen looks like a nun for some reason). And it just gives those vibes of wanting to just relax and listen to the music. Even later on the photo for the Sing/Druscilla Penny 45 looks similar in style to the revised TTR and should’ve been used for an LP.

On cover from later is A Kind of Hush—-just the window pane with the front on the edges really stands out. Along with both Christmas Portrait & An Old-Fashioned Christmas. I really like those older Christmas album covers since the photographer or designer really tried to get the Christmas spirit on the cover before you opened the album like that Herb Alpert Christmas one and he’s Santa Claus. Modern Christmas covers I find I kind of done in a hurry and don’t really look Christmasy. They’ll photograph the artist in front of a winter scene or do something that looks Christmasy but isn’t. I guess it was more the time where it was before all this political correctness and the people weren’t worried about offending other people by saying “Merry Christmas” or overly doing the Christmas stuff, whereas now they think they might offend people.
You are right about the Christmas A&M jackets. They do all look good and have the Christmas Spirit. I do not even look at Christmas releases of today.
 

Moritat

Well-Known Member
All the Pete Turner covers, especially ROAD SONG / Wes Montgomery and GLORY OF LOVE / Herbie Mann.
 
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