|In May of 2007, Rolling Stone’s web-based tentacle asked readers what the 10 worst albums of all time were, which were recorded by the great artists. You are looking at the #1 album.
While “Down in the Groove”, Bob Dylan’s 28th album has been nearly universally reviled, the problems I have with it are in the artwork.
The accusation levelled at this album is that it contains, apart from a large number of collaborations, a number of cover songs. I could have told those reviewers that by looking at the album cover, a problem was iminent. Not only is this 1988 album the umpteenth album with a cover photo of Dylan in concert, it is at least the third one which sports a blurry photograph.
|This, by all accounts was the second, which was his second greatest hits album. His first greatest hits album originally had exactly the same photo. Now when the first album came out in 1967, the cover photo was considered good enough to be awarded a grammy. But then he uses exactly the same photo for volume 2, released in 1971 (the photo was later changed, to a different concert photo).
This second volume had a paucity of actual “hits”, and instead had many originals which garnered hits through other artists covering him. This album can be regarded as a compilation of older material in LP form, to make up for the early 70s, which were doldrum years for Dylan.
|Boy’s Town Gang consisted of Cynthia Manley, and a revolving door of pretty boyz. These two are most likely to be Tom Morely and Bruce Carlton, seeing that the release of Can’t Take My Eyes Off You was around 1982.
They were into the so-called “high-energy” disco, in the late 70s and early 80s, as it was on its last stages of life support.When the Village People met a quasi-demise with their musical interpretation of the film “Can’t Stop the Music”, leaving a hole in the “high energy disco written by homosexuals” market, The Boy’s Town Gang were right there to take up the slack, giving the San Francisco area a steady supply of disco.
|Phillipino comedic vocalist Roman “Yoyoy” Villame (1938-2007) shows us how to get the woman we want to marry.
Villame recorded over 40 albums in his lifetime, mostly to do with political and social satire. He is admired for his sense of humor, both on and offstage.
|Bob Geldof to deals with the three dominant sources of insecurity, satisfaction and anxiety for the human species in his 2002 album, “Sex, Age, and Death”.
While this photo had to be part of the best photo shoot ever for the photographer, it reduces the theme of the album to a cliche. Many others probably thought the same, since there is no record of the album or its hit single, an anthem to “Pale White Girls”, charting.
Since then, he had met a fork in his career path, and has seemed to have chosen activism. Geldof was the former frontman for The Boomtown Rats, and has received many awards and honorary degrees. I don’t think this record cover influenced anyone’s decision to give him accolades, though.
|And you see, the band Louis XIV charted this album at #24 in 2005. Any elements from the album design made it possible? Both have nude/semi-nude women on the cover. That’s old-school. This woman is parallel to her photographer. Is that it? Naw…
Hmm… Oh, yes! This one has a “Parental Advisory/Explicit Lyrics” sticker on it. That has to be the reason. Just having naked women on the album cover doesn’t cut it anymore, folks. Those warning stickers have made many a mediocre act skyrocket to fame and glory. Geldof ought to get with the program.
This album, called “The Best Little Secrets are Kept” has an otherwise un-original concept with the playlist once again written on the skin of the model posing nude for the album.
To be fair, there was the Hoover, Alabama Board of Education in the Southern US who stopped them from playing in Hoover, because the lyrics were too explicit. Leave it to school boards such as the Hoover, Alabama school board to provide the kind of publicity that could never have been bought at any price.
|Well, no, this wasn’t MS Paint. You can tell that a toddler was set loose on a piece of blank ruled paper with markers.Wikipedia makes no mention of whose toddler it was that did this, but does say that this 2004 album was critically well-received, and debuted at #7 in the US.The Cure’s 12th album has been inflicted on over 2 million fans worldwide.|
|Frank Black’s “The Cult of Ray”, was recorded in 1996, three years after The Pixies broke up. But this record is not mentioned on the Frank Black website. It is mentioned on the Black Francis website. Why there are two websites referring to the same person, I’ll never know.Frank Black, who also goes by a third monacre, “Black Francis Black” — frig it, let’s keep it simple and call him Charles Thompson. Chuck, you see, released this third album to negative reviews, and had gone on releasing many more albums garnering only but a shadow of his former glory under The Pixies.
In fact, that was the state of affairs by the time this album came out. They were punishing him for overuse of the cut-and-paste tool on MS-Paint.
Allmusic.com has it that The Pixies have reunited as of 2003 and have started touring again. I don’t know of any new albums by them except for “best of” compilations released by 4AD. Chuck’s “Frank Black” website, however, has a list of tour dates.
|Milton Babbitt looks like he is trying to out-do Stephen Hawking for the tackiest cover. At least Hawking might have an excuse; but Babbitt here is trying to make this poster look avant-garde.
So here he is, like your most imposing physics teacher, making music about ends being a new beginning, and manifolds. As if there were not enough ended beginnings, he also plays “Swan Song #1” (as if there will be a #2…?).
Allmusic says that he is a leading avant-garde classical performer who taught both music and mathematics at Princeton, and taught music at Julliard. He was a leading music theorist, but you look at this and think that this 2001 CD just contains self-indulgent tomfoolery.
The 50-minute CD appears to be selling for $48 on Amazon.
|Uhh, … Hi, yourself….This 1979 album appears to have been Barraclough’s last LP, and she had disappeared amid rumors of connections to Janis Joplin, and Bob Dylan. Some fans revere her as quite a talent, but you wouldn’t know it with that cartoony “Hi” on this album cover.This link to You Tube shows her potential talent.|
|It is not clear what year Mike Melvoin recorded this 12-inch LP, but the hits listed on the jacket place this record in the early-to mid-1970s.
Hear synthesised versions of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love”; Blood, Sweat, and Tears’ “Spinning Wheel”; The Beatles’ “Ballad of John and Yoko”; Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild”; Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay”; and many other monster hits.
His treatment of Lay Lady Lay is given below, superimposed on a Pierre Cardin fashion display.
|This hard to look at 1995 album cover along with its title hides the fact that this is an electronic album from the British electronic duo known as Fortran 5.
The members of Fortran 5 have gone on to form the duo Komputer. They have released 7 albums of their synthesised works. They have been releasing EPs and LPs in both CD and vinyl formats, with their latest release, Synthetik, being a CD-only release in 2007.
By the time this record came out, Nirvana already took the idea of totally immersing the kid in water, so I guess they had to settle for this. Neverhteless, I hear that the Children’s Aid Society is looking for the guy who took this photo and allowed the infant depicted in this photo to play with the toilet water.
I have it on some authority that Sebadoh’s album doesn’t suck as much as the cover suggests. In fact, this 1996 album is considered their finest, and it put them at the forefront of the indie rock scene back then, helping to pioneer the so-called “lo-fi” buy cheap tramadol music genre.
Wat Tyler’s (circa) 1999 recording “The Fat of The Band” is actually a parody of Prodigy’s “The Fat of the Land”.
Tyler has a few humorous songs on this LP, but they have not garnered good reviews. A New Music Express reviewer said of this recording “If this is punk rock, my name is Rick Wakeman”. I could only guess that his name already wasn’t Rick Wakeman, since the article is uncredited.
And just to show you the difference, here is Prodigy’s 1997 million-seller (2 million, actually) “Fat of the Land”, released on Warner and peaking at #1 on Billboard for 1 week.:
OK… I said that Jabberwocky was going to be the last Herb Alpert parody, didn’t I? Well, it seems as though poor Alpert must have a red-and-white target painted on his back, since even the Washington Symphonic Brass is now into it for this 2007 rendition of Carmina Burana.
Many famous musicians such as Bizet, Puccini, Berlioz and Karl Orff have composed pieces for this collection of medieval Bavarian poems, written in Latin. It is thought by some to be the most famous operatic work after Handel’s Messiah.
This monk seems to have the easy job of drinking beer and dipping his pastry into himself before he eats it. That’s probably why he’s smiling.
Was there ever a “Brahm’s Breakfast Concerto”? Or a “Brahm’s Bacon Bolero”? Or, “Eggs over Easy in E-Flat?”
Whatever it is, I found out through my trusty reasearch that Johannes Brahms has been hawking breakfast cereal. I’ve seen it on You Tube, so therefore it must be true! Just look:
|Enough with bad hair on women, Guys are equally capable of falling out of the wrong side of the bed and combing their hair with a mixmaster.
Many may like the music inside this 1998 double CD by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, but clearly, their hair is wearing them, not the other way around.
The album was recorded over two separate years, all but 5 tracks were done in 1967 and the rest in 1969.
|Chris Lee clearly has a case of bed-head. Photo was likely cut off at the top to hide the “cow-lick”.
This 2003 album “Cool Rock” has been mildly recieved by reviewers, and has not charted, that I am aware of.
|This is the last (I promise) of the Herb Alpert parody covers I have.
Jabberwocky is an audio montage troupe in the tradition of Negativland and Plunderphonics. All these folks use spliced audio sequences and multi-track audio in order to make social commentary on media, popular culture, sexuality, war, and religion.
You can download the whole album (In the tradition of Plunderphonics and Negativland, audio and artwork are open-sourced) and cover art here.
|It is said that donkeys like carrots, so one can hold a carrot on the end of a stick in front of the donkey, and this makes them move forward, thus overcoming stubbornness.
That’s the cliche I think the album depicts. The idea is that the donkey never gets the carrot, but hopes that it does. Kind of like the deal that Badfinger made with Warner at the time this album came out, 1972. This album was the last one made for Apple Records, essentially ending their close association with The Beatles.
Other bloggers have noted confusion about the name Badfinger and Ass being on the same cover. It is a pet peeve that I have had of most bands since the early 70s, in that the metaphors are so mixed up that the message is completely lost. Usually a sign of what is inside the cover.
This LP peaked at #122 with its single “The Apple of My Eye” peaking at #102 on Billboard.
|Here is the Lawrence Welk organist Bob Ralston, who while trying to be Alpert-esque with the album lettering, has still managed to do this album cover without being covered in food, to his credit.
Judging by Ralston’s youthful appearance, this album probably dates to about the same time as “Whipped Cream”.
|“Sweet Cream and Other Delights” is a 1978 album by the all-girl funk/soul trio from Detroit called Sweet Cream.
When working as backup singers, they would be featured on many albums as “The Ridgeway Sisters” or “The Ridgeways”.
The three Ridgeway sisters (Gloria, Esther, and Gracie) have been singing as a group since age 4, 6 and 8 respectively. At most recent report, only Gloria has survived the three, the others having passed on in this decade, while still in their forties.
|Another album cover which has been fodder for the CAC blogs, “Return to Oz”, from a Leo Sayer wannabe named Dardy. If anyone can tell me something biographical about Dardy, drop me a comment.|
|This dynamic fun machine also produces happiness. Every home should have one. This one has a flat tire, so it can only produce mild sanguinity. It’s all you can do until the Dynamic Duo purchases a tire tube at Wal-Mart’s next clearance sale.|
|Get ready for a feeling of bliss that is beyond belief … The Young Believers are going to impose cheer and goodwill whether you like it or not. Rise and shine! Up with the crows! The happiness you have demanded all your life is now mandatory.|
|And after you have complied with the minimum requirements for happiness, you get to consume special pills and fly into a perfect utopia where the food is great, the sex is better, and the best thing about this epic voyage is that you don’t even have to leave the room.|
|A recurring rule of CACs is that if you don’t want to make your album cover crappy is occasionally in the attempt to overvalue the art of their children and make their art. The motorhome (bus?) looks like a hot dog on wheels.No information on “Sounds of VIctory” (or is the band name “Jesus Freak?) that I could find.|
|You certainly can’t possibly get more late ’60s than this design. These ladies were from The Vassar College Glee Club in Rhode Island.They sing “America”, “White Rabbit”, and other 60s contemporary (at the time) hits from folk and acid rock genres.
The G-Stringers have been in existence since at least 1965, and various incarnations of them have performed at Carnegie Hall.
|The design element (there is only one) that John Bayley uses combines all of the most incoherent elements of late-60s album design, hoping it will amount to something, for this 1976 album, “Minstrel of the Morning”.Lessee … what do they throw in? A clay tiger, a kid in a lotus position (who will surely become warped when he gets older), a nearly comatose woman in a flowing dress (the feeding tube was temporarily disconnected for the photo shoot), a sitar, a mandolin, John Bayley channeling Mr. T, and a Wal-Mart circular rug, curtains, a painted over Roman blind, and some artificial plants.
A copy of this was sold on E-Bay last year for $75.00
|The closest explanation for this disaster of an album cover is … okay, some guy goes to the Harlem branch of the Salvation Army store in New York City, buys a random mixture of men’s, boy’s and lady’s clothing, then goes to the neighbouring soup kitchen at the Habour Light, and tells four jobless hoboes that he is willing to pay them two cases of beer each if they will dress up in these clothes for an album cover. At this point the hoboes still hadn’t bargained for mascara being part of the deal. But hey, there’s two cases of beer on the line. Each! That wasn’t so bad, but then the photographer told them they had to bathe first.One of the hoboes angrily responded “What’s wrong with our personal hygeine? We take a bath every February 29th whether we need it or not!” That was almost the last straw, and after nearly an hour of thinking about it, they realised that they won’t be able to afford that much beer for a very long time, so they grudgingly obeyed.
This is why “They have got to rock and roll.”
|This is the kind of thing that gives the LGBT community a bad name. Don’t know the artist, album or anything else about this disaster of an album design.
This is worse than an album cover, because it is a picture disc. Notice the hole punched in the center, near the price tag? Yeah, you take this, put it on your turntable, and watch this guy/girl/whtever rotate as he/she/it sings you some tunes.
Don’t picture this as a rotating CD, because CDs rotate too fast. You need to imagine this rotating at 33 1/3 rpm, where you could still make out some of the details as it spins.
I am usually a curious hound for finding out about most CAC’s but the blog I got this from also didn’t know, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.
|This appears to be by a member of the profession that is responsible for disasters like the one above.
With this album design, I would say that John Butterworth should stick to medicine.