All people who put out albums are celebrities. I am only talking about people who actually have no business making records.
There are more of these kinds of albums which will be covered later, including albums by Democrats.
All people who put out albums are celebrities. I am only talking about people who actually have no business making records.
|Shaq O’Neal has been a superstar on the basketball court. On this offering, he exposes to us his skills as a rap singer. It was widely known that Shaq had modest talents in this area, yet he had inflicted upon us no less than five rap albums, extending all the way to 2001.
This is the cover of a single, (I Know I Got) Skillz off of his 1993 album “Shaq Diesel”.
|A decade earlier, you may remember Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker, who had hosted the PTL ministries. PTL stands for “Praise the Lord!”. I recall how they came under fire for increasingly shady practices.
Tammy Faye, years before this, was actually quite attractive, and had shorter hair and a pound less makeup , closer to the population average for females. This is her in the early stages of her getting into this “makeup store casualty” chic. She seemed to have believed that makeup should be applied to the face no less than an inch thick.
Apart from the fact that she should stick to preaching and singing on TV, the cover shows her in her unfortunate makeup casualty stage. There was a time a few generations ago that a woman simply wearing that much makeup and hairspray would have been considered vain and sinful.
|The late president Ronald Regan was born in 1911, in the days of the horse and buggy. If that was a 1938 picture of Reagan, then he was 27 years old there. His acting career started in radio, then went to movies (which could have been either silent films or talkies). He became president of the Screen Actors’ Guild, then later Governor of California, then President of the United States. Quite a career path for a middling actor, not known for ever saying anything particularly quotable (Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations does not list Reagan), unless it was something comedians could make fun of.
An album and album cover to be liked only for die-hard conservatives. There are 5 albums listed on allmusic.com credited to Ronald Reagan, but this is not one of them.
|The next one is about Barry Goldwater’s recording of an acceptance speech, supposedly for winning the presidency against Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
And that is what makes this cover hilarious. The election was actually won by Lyndon Johnson, by a landslide (60%). So what was this guy trying to prove?
Another “Dewey Defeats Truman” episode. I can’t brag too loud for the Democrats, however, since it was Lyndon Johnson that escalated the Vietnam war, and by 1968, Americans had enough of him, and many began burning their draft cards in protest of the war.
|History has shown that The Goldwaters, the accompanying campaign band for Barry Goldwater’s presidential bid, was the best thing that ever happened to Lyndon Johnson’s campaign. If all you do as a campaign organiser is get a bunch of amateurish but politically loyal musicians from local university campuses to show up with you on every campaign stop, you know you’re going to get into trouble.
The barely listenable music inside the album should cause one to re-title it: “Sing Folk Songs to Bug the Republicans”.
There are more of these kinds of albums which will be covered later, including albums by Democrats.
Stephen Hawking, by the standards of his peers, has only made a name for himself as a “great scientist” because of his disability, ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease). We, the buying public seek out his wisdom through his writings, but would probably be less willing to do so if he were not depicted contorted, and on a wheelchair, as he was in his first publically-available book “A Brief History of Time”.
Similarly, I would want to think that as a buying public of record albums, that it is best to think of anyone we put on our turntables as musicians, rather than as “disabled”. I want to hear your music first. Then you can brag about playing the piano without fingers, or whatever. The problem with each of the following records, the artists seem to want us to know that they have a disability before we buy the record. So, seeing their picture on the cover, one tends to feel slightly embarrassed for them, the way I do when I open my cover of Hawking. I like my music purchases to be more about music and not so much about records whose covers treat their artists as carnival attractions. Thus I have to admit that the only reason that other Internet sites (these are ubiquitous on a search for crappy album covers) find them crappy, it is because of who these people are, not because of some aesthetic misjudgement or other form of idiocy on the designer’s part. They are crappy album covers, but for all the wrong reasons.
The following record covers are offered without my usual smart-aleck comments. They are here, because they, like many of my albums, seem to be a staple of Crappy Albums lists. I just thought I would offer any striaght dope I could find on these people.
|Roy Thackerson, or The Fingerless Fiddler, lost his eyesight in one eye and most of the fingers in his left hand at age 6 due to being too close to a blasting cap at the time of explosion.
He apparently is quite the bluegrass fiddler, enough to say that he has been a judge for fiddling contests in Nashville over a 17 year period. He has also played at the Grand Old Opry.
|When even Wikipedia says that this 1968 album by The Braillettes is often listed as one of the worst album covers of all time (with several references given), it is difficult to talk straight about this album.
The young girl in the front, Maggie Liebniz, is the only one who is not blind. Her boyfriend and later husband, John Skoglund, took this photo of them. The names of the other two are Jackie Overalls and Kay Smith. It is likely that this is their only album. The three hail from Alameda, California.
|There are no references to this album that I can find anywhere on this person, not even her name.
There are, however, pages upon pages upon pages of Google references to this cover on “worst album cover” lists. I gave up after the third page.
|The Addicts 1975 release, a Gospel album called “The Addicts Sing” is a collectors’ item, whose asking price on some websites hovers around $70.00, depending on the condition. The tan box between the two lads on the bottom of the cover is a quote from II Corinthians 5:17, a quote having to do with the Ministry of reconciliation.
These guys are 9 former heroin addicts who, it seems, made the record while in prison, and presumably got early relseases after dropping their habit and turning over a new leaf.
|UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! Yes! I now have the much -talked about and much grossed-out over back cover! It is one thing to say it’s gross, but it is much more effective to show you!|
It is worth repeating from the last post that you should ask nicely before playing someone else’s musical instruments. Gerhard Polt illustrates this point nicely. Having his head on a silver platter was apparently too good for him. Here, his head is served on a cheap Chinette dish with ham, pineapple and ketchup. Hey, maybe that’s not really ham (OK, I won’t go there).
There is a Wikipedia entry on Polt, however, I don’t know if it is the same Gerhard Polt as this one. The Wikipedia mentions that he seemed to have more than a passing interest in writing about Bavarian culture. Could that explain the album cover? Was it something he wrote?
Well, this isn’t really a crappy album cover, per se, precisely because one can sense that it is intentionally crappy. I guess that still makes it crappy.
The album cover shows the lead singer Gary Dalway (the human, not the pig) of the UK group The Handsome Beasts, getting to know his partner a bit better from their 1981 album Bestiality. This same album had been reissued in CD form in 1996 with 4 bonus tracks. They are still putting out records, the latest being in 2007. For the record, Gary Dalway has recently left the group, which may reduce the supply of future crappy album covers somewhat. Oh, well…
There will be even more people that worry me in future posts.
In installment #2, I believe I mentioned that there would be more albums regarding a white person’s idea of Africa.
Now, there are times that, due to the difficulty in getting black people to act like our stereotypes of them, we must instead get white people to do our dirty work for us.
Dave Harris and the Powerhouse Five would like to remind you that despite social objections, cannibalism can be a good thing for everybody. See the nice lady in the burning pot? Look at how much fun she seems to be having! Wouldn’t you just like to join her?
“Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals” was released by Decca in 1960. Not much more info seems to exist on the band. Except that one blogger observed that the chick in the pot looks a lot like Hilary Clinton. There are still reissues being made of the work of this band on Rhino Records.
Anna Russell here has angered the local native population because she was playing with someone’s bongo drums without asking. You know how it is. How would you feel if you knew your house guest was playing with your drum kit or your guitar that you worked so hard to tune up? Non-musical people don’t seem to sympathise with these things, and just barge in and use our stuff anyway, and it angers us. I don’t have any spears to throw at them, but gosh, I would find something.
Notice also the kinds of loincloths the natives are wearing. They look like Scottish kilts without the tartan; cut instead from maybe a tablecloth. Anna Russell, who died in 2006, was a vocalist and comedienne, whom we can’t be sure if her birthplace is London, England or London, Ontario.
Another Decca 1956 recording, “Africa Speaks, America Answers” shows a nice effort to try and establish diplomacy. I understand many people from the that continent will still find it humorous in the sense that Africa always seems to be discussed as if it were just one country.
The artists here are cited as “Guy Warren with the Red Saunders Orchestra under the direction of Gene Esposito”. I am able to suss out that Guy Warren is the black guy on the bongos, whose birth name is Warren Gamaliel Akwei. He has worked with such greats as Theolonius Monk and Charlie Parker. Warren, who now goes by the name of Kofi Ghanaba, now lives in Ghana.
The Limbo has a lot of symbolic significance these days, in North American culture, especially with the effects of free trade on ordianry people. “How low can you go?” is not just for that young lady in the pink dress anymore. It is for labour standards, environmental standards, oh, don’t get me started.
I just wonder, if the limbo rod (or whatever that horizontal thing is called) burns through and burning pieces fall on top of her, does she “lose” this limbo contest? Can she sue for injuries?
“If The Bomb Falls” was a 1961 album put out by the TOPS recording label. The TOPS label was owned by Precision Radiation Instruments (PRI) of Los Angeles. The same label recorded Mel Torme, Lena Horne, and the Ink Spots. This single album sold more than any of them did, and broke all sales records for the company, especially after the Russians announced it was testing the A-bomb.
And you can see here that the album design was precisely for the paranoid at heart. There is the title in the biggest lettering you have seen in your life; there is the mushroom cloud; there are various newspaper-style articles reminding us of how urgent this crisis is, and how fearful we should all be.
I wouldn’t feel the way I do about the album cover of Europe’s “The Final Countdown” (1985) if I didn’t think the title track sucked so much. This is the second major rock act to be named after a continent. The first one was Asia, formed in 1982, three years before Europe did (thanks to a contributor for setting me right on the dates).
The title track was a major hit for Europe, but it was one of those songs that was interesting so long as you didn’t think about the words. Heck, it isn’t even about doomsday. If these are the lyrics, then I can’t even be sure if it’s about anything.
This, then, is an album cover about nothing. Taken in context with the music, they could have chosen a wallflower pattern as well (that’s OK, I’ll bargain for this one instead).
Oh, but yes: there really was a doomsday album in the 1980s — it was Hal Lindsay’s “Countdown to Armageddon”! Who can forget good ole Hal? Hal predicted the world would end in the 1970s, and made a killing (pardon the pun) selling his book “The Late Great Planet Earth”. Then, in the 80s and still realising that the world was still intact, he remembered P. T. Barnum’s maxim that there’s a sucker born every minute, then wrote the book that accompanied this record in the 1980s. And you know what? P. T. Barnum was absolutely right in his predictions!
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR, armageddon became a tough sell. The new ruse is now terrorism, and of our living in fear of lunatics taking over the world who weild very sharp office stationery to get planes to slam into buildings. And they spend their time in caves, too.
Freddie Gage has with this album cover, achieved a level of morbidity reserved only for folks like Nietzsche or August Strindberg. He has made a name for himself as an evangelical preacher who has won favour with the likes of Jerry Fallwell.
As a casual passerby who may not have heard of Freddie Gage, I would see that much of the design is taken up by the title.
Obviously, the death of all of his buddies weigh very heavily on his mind. He is from the southern USA and not some war-torn country. I am sure he didn’t lose anyone at Gitmo.
I think in reality, the voices inside his head told him to kill all his friends. Now he lives in regret, and in fulfillment of his persecution comlpex, he is now in actual pursuit by law enforcement.
Well, Dr. Murray Banks has the answer. He will be a fountain of advice and wisdom for our poor friend Freddie, telling him how he can live with himself, up until his first psychiatric appointment.
What about the artwork here? Late 50s to mid-60s low-budget cartoon-style artwork. For this, I would like to invent a new word to describe the effect: it’s chugly (cheesy + ugly). I think chugly was a popular style back then. It was during and after the McCarthy era that this artwork seemed to have its heyday. It didn’t offend, it could not be called “sexy” or “political” or anything else that was a virtual McCarthy-era cuss word. It was the artistic drek that could only come from the era and sociopolitical climate in which it existed. Lately, I have noticed that Starbucks and Chapters Bookstores have veered dangerously close to this kind of aesthetic.
For the record, “All My Friends Are Dead” is also the title of a song released around 2003 by the Norwegian punk rock group Turbonegro.
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These female prisoners were put in civvies and told that in exchange for their cooperation, they would get a larger cell with a TV and internet. And if they live at the end of this, they may even get what was promised!
The Secret Service are testing the effects of mind-alterng drugs by making their subjects, usually taken from a prison population, take a dose of their “new drug”, and then making them sleep out in the snow on nothing more than a 2×4 propped up on one end by a couple of pieces of titanium rods. Their hands are tied to the front of their bodies to prevent premature frostbite.
In the background you can see the Secret Service lab facility, nestled in an undisclosed location in the Rockies, somewhere in Oregon. The smoke is rising from their crematorium. Those were probably the remains of subjects who underwent previous drug trials and were never the same since. And since returning them to the prison population would compromise their ability to attract new candidates, the Secret Service will just report them missing.
On to the next album: Are you in your rotting wooden rocking chair in the middle of a swamp? Good. Sit. Relax. Breathe in. Breathe out. Close your eyes. Imagine that you are in your favourite EZ-Boy recliner in your living room, or lying in bed in the comfort of your home. Never mind the alligators or black bears. If you have a cell phone, you can call an ambulance. Just forget about them for now, and just focus on relaxation.”
Yup. The only way to relax me after that point is if I left the swamp and went home to my EZ-Boy recliner.
This album cover, like most space album covers we will be seeing, remind me of a DEVO album. This one is just DEVO with chicks. The chicks are obviously playing the aliens. They have little antennas sticking out of their heads, and seem to have no need for oxygen helmets.They all have different coloured skin.
Those male astronauts will be sorely disappointed when they find out that if they are of different species, then they probably can’t mate with them. You know, it’s because of, you know …. YOU KNOW!!!….. plumbing issues. Either the space chicks will have one hole too many or one hole not enough. You know how it is. It’s the part on Star Trek that they never talk about.
People familiar with classical music need almost no introduction to Arthur Ferrante and Louis Teicher. Both are classical pop pianists who had been going strong for five decades with over 80 albums to their credit. This album, like the Les Baxter album was released in 1958.
What was so special about 1958? In January, Sputnik fell out of orbit, and the first-ever American satellite, the Explorer, was launched. It was also the same year that Canada’s Avro Arrow made its first flight. There was a frenzied rush toward space exploration, and the arms race was born between the USA and the USSR.
This then captures the imagination of many musicians and artists, and these folks were of no exception.
Ferrante and Teicher have space suits too. Our friends here seem to be monitoring the effect of zero gravity on the wearing of kid gloves and spats.
This 1982 self-titled LP by the funk/soul group Loveship. Are they on a real spaceship? In that era, they could be at a disco. Perhaps they are at a disco on a spaceship. Frig it, it’s all in your head anyway, right? So just buy this record and forget about it. There doesn’t look like there will be any three-holed alien chicks where they’re going.
Kjell Kraghe is a Swedish performer, and not much info exists on him in English. It seems that he had appeared in a Swedish TV miniseries, but again information is sketchy.
At any rate, one has to admit that this cover could have used better planning. Or, are we supposed to think: on a bright day, with boats in full sail, Kjell rises out of the horizon, smiling at us …? I would still be thinking: but isn’t he getting wet? Whatever his dilemma, he doesn’t seem to mind.
And what about the boats? Kjell’s presence seems to be creating a wind effect that causes the sailboats to sail away from him. Kind of like a scarecrow for sailboats.
I am a relative newbie to classical music. There are 2 organists on the album “Look Ma! 4 Hands”, Richard Dissell and Robert Reilly, Jr. That’s 4 hands, and from what I understand to be the wont of some album designers for classical music, there is from time to time an accompanying picture that makes it look absurd, such as this retouched photo of a woman with 4 hands extending from her gown.
I suppose there is humor there, but I would think that it would be a bit frightening to young children below age 5. This photo came from the Tacky Raccoons blog, where they seem to have a lot of unique crappy album covers.
Maralee Dawn is another ventriloquist who has entertained children for at least 10 years, and also has her own website. Her puppets actually look like toy dolls, but looking at her website they seem to be of the kind where the lower jaw moves.
I just get a little worried that she seems just a little too attached to these dolls. I don’t know.
Then there’s more here. They are depicted here riding a dirt bike, yet only Butch, one of the puppets is actually wearing a helmet.
I can see them riding along, then Maralee lets go of the handlebars at 50 miles an hour, and tells Butch to take over.
Alfred Hitchcock, however, has all of the psychos beat. Not content to be merely detached from reality, but he is typically preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of death, murder, rape, and all things that inspire horror.
Now, we see in this photo that he has suicidal thoughts. Now that crosses the line. He probably needed to cool off in a psychiatric facility after this episode.
Scientist was the nickname of a reggae singer who seemed to be a whiz at repairing broken sound equipment and other electronics. As early as 1980, his handle was changed to “the Dub Chemist”. This album was released in 1981 under his original monacre. It was through his engineering prowess that Scientist, on a dare to be a recording engineer for a record album, invented his own style of reggae called Dub, inventing new sounds through the mixer board. Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1960, he is now a recording engineer in Silver Springs, Maryland.
As impressed as I am by all that, his album cover will not win many awards. Neither will the long title. Looks like he took a few tips from Alfred Hitchcock.
|Some of the photo retouching ideas are kind of kinky, but that’s part of what makes them so hilarious.
It turns out that there are some blogs that have had more than their share of fun with this photo. They have taken their talents in Photoshop to make albums with her head pasted on other very recognisable albums in order to make new and amusing combinations. Let’s take a visual tour.
First of all, here is Joyce (from the last post). Her natural self, being every bit the librarian we’ve known and loved. If she is not a librarian, she ought to be. The rose she holds as a finishing touch to the photo gets the message across that this is not a heavy metal album. I think the rose is quite effective.
|Ah, yes … hangin’ out with early Bob Dylan, smokin’ weed and listening to Dylan’s poetry and song. I thought that was Joyce on the album. She’s more hip than we gave her credit.|
|Once again, Joyce proves us all wrong about her. Here she is as a glamourous diva, the real creative muse behind Beyonce.|
|For sheer technological prowess, nothing beats the retouching job of this Prince album. Prince is now the woman he always wanted to be.|
|Now for the ultimate, Joyce’s head pasted on Cher’s body. And there’s more …|
|Here, Joyce, shows us her other, darker side. She wantsssss it! She wantssss it! (The ring, that is)|
And finally, Joyce is seen chillin’ out with her homies from the ‘hood at NWA, yo!
The background on almost all of these albums were hard to track down if not impossible. In most cases on this installment we shall deal mostly with obscure albums. The coincidence is that these albums have some disturbing connection with the social process of courtship. Maybe they are unable to mate in captivity.
There is no information that I can find on John Bult. Just this lasting impression, the album cover to “Julie’s Sixteenth Birthday”, plastered all over the ‘net. I can’t say what hasn’t already been said about the creepy impression this album gives me, and the incredulity that an album cover like this would actually be thought to sell records.
All I can do now is to say that this blogger seemed to put it best (get your Irish accent on as you read this quote):
Julie looks like a happy birthday girl, doesn’t she? Who wouldn’t want to be the object of John Bult’s inappropriate lust?
He’s doing this right, though. He took her to a nice place with a piano and tablecloths, he had a mug of beer to steady his nerves, and he’s holding her hand as he whispers to her “Whatever you do, don’t tell your dad.”
What can I possibly add to that?
UPDATE: Well, it turns out that I can add something. In fact, it explains everything. Julie, you see, is the daughter of the character of the the fella singing. She’s reached her sixteenth birthday, and she’s going out on her first date. Her father spent more time at the bar getting drunk than with his family, and so he thought he would make up for it by having a heart-to-heart talk with Julie before she goes out. After hearing a small audio snippet, John doesn’t sound Irish at all, but American. From Louisiana, in fact. That said, I still think that the choice of album cover is a case of really bad judgement.
Now for this next album, I wouldn’t bother mentioning the legendary 1983 album by Joyce Drake, simply titled, “Joyce”, if it were not for the fact that it was deemed #1 on their list of crappy album cover of all time by the (UK) Guardian. This blogger says that this one is considered the Mona Lisa of bad album covers. And that is the only thing that makes the record legendary and worthy of any mention. Personally, it doesn’t grab me either way, although I admit she definitely needs a nose job.
I am hesitant to make intelligible comments on the record or the cover, for the first and foremost reason that it was most likely a vanity pressing. And if it is a vanity pressing, then it is no surprise that precious little thought was given to marketing or saleability. This album did not pass by a focus group; it also shows signs of having no makeup artist; nobody did her hair; nobody told her how to dress up. She simply posed for a photo and sang the songs on the record.
Joyce Drake, according to the most reliable sources, is a preacher’s wife, and lives in Sealy, Texas; and has not released another record after this one. We make fun of it because of its profound lack of pretense. We are so awash in Photoshop-retouched images of perfection that when confronted with a record like this, we don’t know how else to react. We recoil whenever someone is not seen to “get with the program”, and to stick to the impossibly high standards we make of all those who put a photo of themselves out to print. Face it: if a person finances their own record, they are likely not going to follow the typical marketing path that succeeded for, say, Madonna. Such a thought may never have occured to them.
On to the next album cover. It is known in psychiatric circles that if you are lacking in feelings you probably also lack empathy or remorse for those who do. This makes what is known as a “psychopathic” personality. While it would be obvious that you can’t “borrow” feelings to compensate, a psychopath would place a drain on those around him or her until they too are deficient in feeling.
I think other possible (and compelling) album titles that would go well with this photo would be: “Can I borrow a shirt?” (look at the one he’s got on), “Can I borrow 20 bucks for a haircut?”, “Can I borrow 20 bucks until I get back on my back again (I’m almost there!)?”, “Would you like fries with that?”, or “Can I get something started for you?” to borrow from Starbucks.
Some guys are poets so they can attract women. Some guys have such musical power that they can summon scantily-clad women with just a little string accompaniment with a 6-string ukelele. Such is the miracle of Dinky.
Maybe she is not being summoned so much as that she was always there and with that music he’s playing, she just can’t keep her clothes on.
No information on this album cover. I could very well have my head up my keester and Dinky might actually be the name of the female. I’ve seen both in my online searches.
I’ve also seen such women rise from harmonicas. Dick Marris has a little woman right here. It must be real, since this album was recorded before the days of Photoshop and personal computers. Those were the days of miracle and wonder, when giants walked the earth. Certainly giant harmonicas were among us back then (either Richard is blowing a giant harmonica or his head and hands are small — but then again, it has to be large enough to seat a “little lady”, if you know what I mean).
A search for Dick Marris also turned out to be unfruitful.
Xiu Xiu is a indie experimental outfit out of California. Despite its oriental-sounding name, none of its members have oriental-sounding names. A publicity photo of the group looks overwhelmingly Caucasian. One reviewer calls Xiu Xiu “the undisputed masters of introspective, creepy, noise-pop”. They have been around since 2000.
This 2003 album cover called “A Promise” shows a nude guy who wants to be your friend. He even brought you a present, look! Will you play?
To appreciate the full impact of how crappy this album cover is, I propose the following mental exercise. You are buying the CD, or better still, the 12″ vinyl version if it exists. The seller places it in a clear plastic bag. Now you are walking out of the store where you are seen with this album in clear view of everyone else in the shopping mall. You might even walk past a biker gang hanging out at the food court, all of whom notice your new album purchase. See the problem? The only way I would buy this album, if I really had to have my Xiu Xiu “fix”, and if this were the last Xiu Xiu album on Earth, would be to mail away to whoever is selling this, and instruct them to mail it to me in a large manila-coloured envolope or cardboard envolope, so that the general public doesn’t see the ugly cover. Also, I wouldn’t play it on my first date.
This album (Music to Keep Your Hustband Happy) is one of a couple of albums I am aware of that was set up to encourage sex play among married couples.
There are some who guide you on “what women want” and the ones here are a guide on, presumably, what men want. I wouldn’t see women buying this. Men would buy it for their wives. The covers must therefore attract the male customers.
Sometimes, however, the way to a man’s heart is by tearing off his clothes. Early Hip-Hop artist Tony Tee offers us a show of his masculinity by showing himself as about to lift a barbell, which doesn’t look an ounce over 40 pounds, in his 1988 album “Time to Get Physical”.
The spandex chick on the cover, going by the body language of both involved parties doesn’t look like she’s propositioning him as much as she is threatening him. Maybe he didn’t pay his share of the rent, or maybe he is hanging out too much in the gym. She is probably accepting sex favours as payment.
Now, there are of course some women who can’t stand real men, so she will date a fake one — one made of wood. And, she’ll live in her own world where wooden people and trees talk. This is the world that Nashville-based Geradine Ragan and her “friend” Ricky (who looks like “Planet of the Apes Meets Evel Knievel”) want you to get to know better.
I must say that the true essence of wooden puppets are greatly under-appreciated. They don’t talk back, they don’t verbally abuse you, they don’t come home drunk, and they are neither too tired nor do they ever have headaches.
The back cover of the album makes a big deal of the devout Christianity of her and her husband. Her husband, a real person named Dave Ragan, shares his life with Geraldine and Ricky, surely making efforts toward tolerance and a peaceful co-existence with this “other man”. Ricky barely tolerates the fact that Geraldine must give the occasional bit of airtime to that husband of hers, Dave. Ricky is probably heartbroken that she decided to marry this perfect stranger without even asking him if it is OK, first. And, obviously, what do the trees think of all this?
Now, with Oscar Zamora and his little wooden “friend” Don Chema, I have the ability to engage in what has so far been my good track record at giving both sexes equal time. That is mostly due to luck, and the abundance of crappy album covers. This Latino ventriloquist is based in the Southwestern US, and seems to be famous more with Latinos than with anyone else.
Alla Pugatjova (also spelled Alla Pugacheva) is legendary female vocalist from the former Soviet Union whose career goes all the way back to the mid-1960s. “Every Night and Every Day” and “Superman” are two tracks that seem to come from her 1985 album, “Watch Out!”, an album which appears to be in English. So, this is more like the cover for a 45 RPM single, and not an album.
At any rate, the actual album cover was quite tasteful. This one was by contrast cheesy in the extreme. Sometimes I can’t decide where to put certain albums, because clearly there is crossover. I could have grouped it with the Frankenchrist album because of the dune buggy, but I think viagra won out, because of the unnamed dude in the Superman costume. But I have a lot in this category. So many crappy album covers, so little time.
Now that this guy thinks he is Superman, all I can say to Alla is, “be careful what you pray for”.
You can never go wrong with albums that sport naked chicks on the cover. Clearly, Eddie is pleased to see her, and she looks pleased to see him. Fine and dandy, but couldn’t he have chose a better title than “Recorded Live at the Open Face Sandwich Club”? Do we really need to be informed that he was playing in a restaurant where people may have only heard him between bites of their steak slices on rye, and were probably chatting throughout his set? Maybe the chick on his piano could control the crowd and tell those wayward patrons to shut the f**k up and let him play.
Eddie Mack had a short career spanning from the late 40s to early 50s. Allmusic lists his genre as “Rock”. Yeah. He looks pretty rockin’ to me. But then, one must be reminded that it was the early ’50s.
As for chicks getting the guy, the Ritchie Family seem to have no problems going by this album cover. The ladies are the ones in the picture that are fully dressed.
I just worry a little that there is not an even share of guys for the girls. There are 5 guys in the photo for 3 women. That’s one and two-thirds guys for each woman. My theory is that they got one each with two guys acting as “floaters” in case they have one of those “emergencies”. Maybe one of them might get sick. Maybe two of them. I hope the guys wear condoms.
Now we get to see an album where both sexes are in the buff. This is an obscure Various Artists compilation, but it appears from some (unreliable) sources that it was released in 1971. Arranged around their photo like signs of the zodiac are line drawings of people in various sex positions. The title is “The Sensuous Black Woman with The Sensuous Black Man”.
Some advice: premarital sex is only fun until you make the girl pregnant. Then, it’s not cool anymore. The late 60s and early 70s was an era of something called “free sex”, which seems in hindsight not to have been that sensible. Albums like this will tell our kids: “See what we were like? We had all kinds of sex and thought somehow we would never get the girl pregnant.” It’s the magical thinking of teens with adult levels of hormones.
I don’t particularly wish to discuss heavy metal album covers all that much. They are meant to be ugly, disturbing, and sometimes even hard to look at. It goes with the territory, and the fans expect it and want it. However, the AC/DC tribute band “Boned” produced a 2005 album cover that pushes the boundaries of artful dissonance clearly into the realm of good old-fashioned bad taste. In the heavy metal arena, you have to work pretty damned hard to make a cover that doesn’t merely disturb and annoy; it just sucks.
But being disgusting is not without its rock-and roll history. Jim Morrisson of The Doors fame showed his willy at several concerts and got arrested for it. Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper were biting heads off small animals at one time. The audience wanted it, they delivered.
Ever notice that on some of the best paintings in classical art, how we can never tell if the woman is smiling or frowning? In this album (see right) we can’t be sure if the expression on Millie Jackson’s face is one of pleasure or pain. Does this qualify the album cover for display in The Louvre?
So, while we are on the topic of eating, masturbating, and other base functions of the body, we may as well discuss this album cover, the one R&B legend Millie Jackson made famous, an album released in 1990 called “Back to The Shit”. According to The (UK) Guardian, Millie’s BTTS album is #2 on their list of the worst album covers of all time. The #1 album will be in this series, so not to worry.
Millie is no relation to “that other” Jackson clan (as far as I was able to tell), but for a while I had her confused with La Toya Jackson, whom some people referred to as “La Toilet” Jackson. I thought they were referring to this ghastly album cover, but I was thinking of the wrong Jackson.
Notice how, in this album cover, the bathroom decor, the hairdo, and the clothes she is wearing do nothing to rescue the photo from its overall repulsiveness. Not sure at all why she is holding a shoe in her hand. Maybe she was about to throw it at the photographer, who is obviously too obsessed and won’t leave her alone to do her business in private. Track titles include “Muffle that fart” and “Love Stinks” (a cover of the J Geils hit).
Millie Jackson has appeared in a video singing alongside Elton John (see below) for a 1985 single “An Act of War”.
And I nearly forgot to include Jazz legend Dick Hyman’s album Moon Gas in this post. I can relate to this title. I get something that can be called “Moon Gas” whenever I eat baked beans.
The album was likely made before the first Apollo landing, since we now know the moon has no gas at all. But perhaps he had in mind what I had in mind. Who knows? So, is this poor lady sitting in her own gas, or is she having to endure someone else’s?
But in any event, I would be clearly remiss to leave this out of the bodily functions category.
Hyman has been going strong since the 1940s, and has over 50 albums to his credit. Allmusic.com indicates that this album has been re-released in 2003, and I could not find an indication of the original date of release.
From the “You Can’t Be Serious” department: I have found an album cover that has a creepy resemblance to the Dead Kennedy’s Frankenchrist album.
I imagine the album designers had every intention of making this a fun record. I may not understand the language of the album, but I see children riding toy cars, a clown and a giraffe. How can that not be fun?
Well, you have to be me, you see, and have my point of view. I had, in my sordid past, been into a number of musical genres, including punk rock. Years after Sid Vicious announced the “death” of punk rock back in 1979 (it had barely gotten started, but admittedly had a limited artistic range), the Dead Kennedys from California had the following album cover for the 1985 album, Frankenchrist (see right):
Yes, indeedee… All them be’s middle-aged dudes driving toy sedans. I would imagine the children above who seem to wield lighter sports cars and crash helmets can now have a race against those fez-toting Freemasons, and see who really rules the toy car circuit. I don’t think those Shriners will give up their toy car dominance without a fight, what do you think?
Those kids look threatening. They look like they are ready to wup some Freemason ass.
The moment I saw that movie poster for that upcoming film “Step Brothers” (Sony Pictures), my first thought was about that crappy album cover from Trazan and Banarne, from way back.
Members of the Swedish children’s pop music group Electric Banana, Trazan and Banarne had this as the photo for their album cover, self-titled. I’ll spare you the bias involved in a white person’s view of life in an African jungle (there will be other opportunities in this series), but I guess the photo gets across that life in the jungle involves merely swinging from tree to tree and eating bananas. Of course, you have to share your bananas with the local primates, in order to live in harmony with nature. Trazan presents himself as a good citizen of the jungle by sharing his banana with his companion Banarne. Trazan, by the way, and not “Tarzan”, is the proper spelling for the artist here.
I don’t know why this picture came to my mind when I saw a poster for a soon-to-be released major movie: Step Brothers (Starring Will Ferrell and John Reilly)? I am sure they have nothing to do with each other. I don’t think these guys live in a jungle or anything. They probably don’t wear argyle sweaters in the jungle. I think it’s more to do with that Mutt-and-Jeff groove both pictures have.
I am not here to say what is the worst cover, exactly. That would be too difficult to judge.
Many album covers look truly ugly but must be given leeway, since the lion’s share of them are low-budget enterprises, purchased by buying public who know the local artist. Perhaps many of the people who have purchased the album, the album appears humourous, since they may know what the artist was trying to say.
So, even going through a site such as this one, we find some idiotic “worst album submissions” (who would criticise the album cover to Supertramp’s Breakfast In America?), and submissions simply because the album cover looks disturbing. But sometimes that makes the cover a good one, since it serves as to a warning as to what to expect in its contents. I think some people would be greatly misled if they bought an Iggy Pop record because it had a cute bunny rabbit on the cover.
“Passion in Paint” is one wretched album cover whose artwork is short on both passion and paint. In this case, it wasn’t necessary to even have bad artwork, since as you can see by the subtitle “Famous paintings set to music”, they could have easily picked a famous classical painting, most of which are now in the public domain, and cost the record company (RCA Victor, in this case) nothing.
There appeared in the 50s and 60s to be a whole slew of sexless and artless book covers, photos, and record albums that made you wonder why the artist bothered at all. Thus, all bad art will have a story behind them, including the social , historical and economic forces which make them suck so much.
There will be more to come about crappy album covers in the following weeks.