King Crimson

Pete Townsend of the Who called it an uncanny masterpiece.

in_the_courtLG4He was speaking of the King Crimson album “in the court of the crimson king”.  The name King Crimson came from the band’s lyricist Peter Sinfield as a synonym for Beelzebub, prince of demons. The band known as King Crimson was started in late 1968, shortly after, they purchased a Mellotron, a unique keyboard instrument that could play back any recorded sounds such as stringed instruments, voices, or sound effects. King Crimson used it to create an original orchestral rock sound never heard before. In the spring of 1969, they played at the Rolling Stones free concert in Hyde Park, London, before a crowd of 650,000 people. The first King Crimson album titled ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ was released in October of that same year.  The album drew on a wide range of influences including improvisation, classical, folk, jazz, military, with a little British pop and a touch of Jimi Hendrix mixed in. Their sound presented a unique approach to music and was a break from the usual blues-based rock of the day. King Crimson has been credited by many with starting the progressive rock movement.

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Yesterday and Today Album Cover


It was the original cover shot for the Beatles album yesterday and today. But radio Dj’s were so offended that capitol recalled the album.


The original album cover from the Beatles – Yesterday and Today

In 1966, photographer Robert Whitaker brought the Beatles into his studio for a conceptual art shoot called “A somnambulant adventure”. The Beatles were dressed in white smocks and covered in pieces of meat and plastic doll parts.  The story goes that McCartney pushed the photo to be the cover, saying it was their view on the war.  When the original cover was recalled…several printed copies were sent to landfills but there were too many.  So, Capitol Records decided to paste a new cover over the old one, a picture of the fab four sitting around an open steamer trunk.  Both the original butcher cover as it became known and the pasted on cover became valuable collectors items…now selling for thousands of dollars.

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Allman Brothers – Eat a Peach


Cover of "Eat a Peach"

Cover of Eat a Peachne

In the fall of 1971, Duanne Allman died in a tragic motorcycle accident. After the passing of Duane Allman, the other members of the Allman Brothers band went their separate ways.  However, they all felt a void that needed to be filled. They found themselves calling each other, wanting to get together and jam.  Finally, the five remaining members came back together with Dickey Betts filling in the oversized shoes of Duanne. Using the three tracks completed with Duanne, some unreleased Fillmore recordings, and a side of new songs, the revised Allman Brothers band finished their fourth album, Eat a peach.  Simultaneously, it was a sad ending and a bright new beginning.You can hear more stories like this and the great music behind it at deep end

Crosby Stills and Nash-Album Cover

Crosby, Stills & Nash (album)

Crosby, Stills & Nash (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take a look at the photo on the cover of the first Crosby stills and Nash album. For their first album, Crosby stills and Nash wanted a cover that would reflect the intimacy of the music.  They wanted it to look real and natural, just like their music. While driving around Hollywood, Graham Nash spotted an old abandoned house at the corner of palm and Santa Monica boulevard.  They called photographer Henry Diltz who met them there.  Nothing was added to the photo…everything was there…the house, the couch, the palm.   When they got the proofs back, they realized they were sitting out of order…Nash stills and Crosby.  So they went back to do a re shoot…but there was no couch, no palm, no house.  It had been torn down and only a pile of rubble remained. They took it as a sign and used the original shot.

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Lou Reed

Cover of "Transformer"

Cover of Transformer

In the late 60s, Lou Reed was the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist of artist Andy Warhol’s band Velvet Underground.  After quitting the Velvet Underground in August 1970, Lou took a job at his father’s tax accounting firm as a typist, earning $40 a week. Rather than spend the rest of his life swimming around in the secretarial pool, a year later, lou signed a recording contract with RCA.  Joined by some of the top session musicians of the time, including guitarist Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman keyboard player for the band, Yes, Lou recorded his first solo album in London.  The self-titled “Lou Reed” album contained several re-recorded, commercially produced versions of unreleased Velvet Underground songs. Rolling Stone Magazine called it “almost perfect”.  Then, with the help of David Bowie and
Mick Ronson, Lou Reed recorded and released the album, “Transformer”.  On it was a song about the exploits of the hustlers and transvestites that were frequent guests of Andy Warhol’s Factory. ‘Walk on the wild side’ became Lou Reed’s signature song. Lou Reed passed away Sunday, October 27, 2013.
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Breakfast in America

Cover of "Breakfast in America"

Cover of Breakfast in America

According to keyboardist Rick Davies of Supertramp, the members of the band didn’t want to appear on the album covers because they didn’t want fans to watch them grow old.  After the band moved to the united states, artist Mike Doud drew several illustration for the next Supertramp Album Breakfast in America.  He tried combining breakfast and America in his sketches.  One of the drawings had a giant cheerio rolling down Arizona’s Monument Valley into a lake of Milk.  The Band, however, preferred the sketch of the Statue of Liberty Holding a glass of orange juice over Manhattan Island.  Wanting a real model to play the statue of liberty, they found a matronly woman and dressed her as a waitress.  Doud’s Assistant, Mick Haggerty, built an amazing miniature of Manhattan out of breakfast dishes and utensils.  Haggerty, an Englishman, called the album cover shot…”a west coast treatment of an East Coast icon.” In 1980, Supertramp’s breakfast in America won a Grammy for best recording package … You can find more stories like this and the music behind it at

Faces – Ooh La La

Album Designer Jim Ladwig, had run across a 1930s toothpaste ad featuring a photo of radio star Fred Allen with eyes and mouth that moved when a tab was pulled. Ladwig constructed an album sized model of the ad and showed it to Faces member Ron Wood who said ‘Ooh La La.’ Jim Ladwigs design eventually worked its way onto the cover of the Faces Album Ooh La la…replacing the face of Fred Allen with the face of a 1920’s italien Comedian…complete with moving eyes and Jaw. The album turned out to be the Last for the band Faces. Rod Stewart was distracted by his solo career and was showing less and less interest in being front man for any band. Although, he had recorded the voice for the title track…it was not used nor was the version recorded by Ronnie Lane. Instead, producer Glyn Johns suggested that Ron wood give it a try. That was the track used on the song. After the release, Rod Stewart had some very harsh words to say about Faces and the album Ooh La La. Ronnie lane quit a few months later and the band fell apart shortly afterwards.

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