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Crappy Album Covers #106 — Crappy Canadian Covers

… And both of them are from that group from Montreal called April Wine. This group was really big in Canada in the 70s and 80s, and they had some of my favourite songs that I grew up with. Trouble was, while their music was really good, their record covers consistently sucked greasy cheese balls. They were flat, cliche covers that made no impression whatsoever on the buyer. Here are two of, in my opinion, the worst album covers that April Wine had offered in this vein.

Album_Cover_Crap_169_April_Wine This is their 1973 album “Electric Jewels”, which is cliche in every detail  and screams to the buyer nothing more than “this is an album with music in it”. It totally belies what is inside the covers of this album. Well, there is “Electric” in the title, so you might be expected to play this one a little louder. 

While just about every track on this record is a strong track, capable of getting you hooked, none of its three singles made the top-10 (Lady Run, Lady Hide (peaked @ 19, lasted 5 weeks); Weeping Widow (peaked @ 40, lasted 2 weeks); and Electric Jewels (never made the top 40)).

Both records in today’s posting could easily have been designed by K-Tel.

Album_Cover_Crap_170_April_Wine_2 The cover for “Live at the El Mocambo” embellishes the design on the backdrop of one of the stages of the landmark night club. The two palm trees were part of El Mocambo’s trademark. But this idea only works as an album cover backdrop if you live in Toronto. If you are from outside Toronto, or have never been in the night club, you are left scratching your head, wondering if they’ve adopted a Jimmy Buffett sound. 

The ElMo, as it is known to us locals, is located on 404 Spadina, in the middle of what they call the Computer Ghetto in Downtown Toronto. Got changed to a dance studio a few years back, then re-opened again.

The Ramones played there. So did Lou Reed, Blondie, The Police, Black Flag, Jonhhy Winter, Charles Mingus, Rush, Elvis Costello, U2, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and even Marilyn Monroe. She played there in 1958. When April Wine recorded live for this album in 1977, they were opening for The Rolling Stones.

Just like a Canadian band to take all that tradition, and all those bragging rights, and make an album cover that is as lame as you can possibly make it. Believe it or not, their concerts were not lame, explaining why they recorded 7 live albums in their tenure. This album reputedly has a killer live version of Oowatanite. But who would know? By 1979, I remember noticing piles of these albums in the delete bin.

In total April Wine had released 35 singles by 1993, and 21 of them charted in the Top 40. 7 of them were hits in the U. S., with three of them peaking on Billboard in the Top 40: Could Have Been A Lady (1972), Roller (1979), and Just Between You and Me (1981). At least 3 of their albums went either platinum or double platinum.

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