Monday, February 1, 2010

Then and Now

The Beatles – Abbey Road (1970)
The cover photograph was taken by photographer Iain Macmillan. Macmillan was given only ten minutes around 11:30 that morning to take the photo on a zebra crossing on Abbey Road. That cover photograph has since become one of the most famous and most imitated album covers in recording history. In the photograph, the Beatles walk across the street single file from left to right, with Lennon leading, followed by Starr, McCartney, and Harrison. McCartney is bare-footed and out of step with the other three. The photograph also played a prominent part in the "Paul is dead" urban legend in late 1969. With the exception of Harrison the group are wearing suits designed by Tommy Nutter. The man standing on the pavement in the background is Paul Cole (c. 1911 – 13 February 2008), an American tourist unaware he had been photographed until he saw the album cover months later. The zebra crossing today remains a popular destination for Beatles fans.

Pink Floyd – Animals (1977)
Once the album was complete, work began on its cover. Hipgnosis, designer of the band's previous album covers, offered three ideas, one of which was a small child entering his parents' bedroom to find them having sex—“copulating, like animals!”—but unusually the final concept was designed by Waters. At the time he lived near Clapham Common, and regularly drove past Battersea Power Station, which was by then approaching the end of its useful life. The building was chosen as the subject of the cover image, and the band commissioned German company Ballon Fabrik (who had previously constructed Zeppelin airships) and Australian artist Jeffrey Shaw to build a 30 feet (9.1 m) pig-shaped balloon (known as Algie). The balloon was inflated with helium and manoeuvred into position on 2 December, with a trained marksman ready to fire if it escaped. Unfortunately inclement weather delayed shooting, and the band's manager Steve O'Rourke had neglected to book the marksman for a second day. The balloon broke free of its moorings and ascended into the sky. It eventually landed in Kent, and was recovered by a local farmer, reportedly furious that it had "apparently scared his cows" The balloon was recovered and shooting continued for a third day, but the image of the pig was later superimposed onto the cover photograph as the early photographs of the power station were considered to be better. The album's theme continues onto the record's picture labels. Side one's label shows a fish-eye lens view of a dog and the English countryside, and side two features a pig and sheep, in the same setting. Drummer Nick Mason's handwriting is used as a typeface throughout the packaging. The gatefold features monochrome photographs of the dereliction around the power station.

Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin Bob Dylan (1963)
The street on the album cover is Jones Street in Greenwich Village, a small street west of 6th Avenue and between Bleecker Street and 4th St. (positively!) The photograph was taken in February 1963 by Don Hunstein. Dylan lived a short ways away at 161 West 4th Street at the time.

Led Zeppelin –Houses of the Holy (1973)
The cover art for Houses of the Holy was inspired by the ending of Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End. (The ending involves several hundred million naked children, only slightly and physically resembling the human race in basic forms.) It is a collage of several photographs which were taken at the Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland, by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis.

Led Zeppelin – Physical Grafitti (1975)
The two five-story buildings photographed for the album cover are located at 96 and 98 St. Mark's Place in New York City. To enable the image to fit properly with the square format of the album cover, the fourth floor had to be cropped out, making them appear as four-story buildings in the image. Also where the Stones ‘Waiting on a Friend’ video was shot in 1981.

The Velvet Underground – Live at Max’s Kansas City (1970)
213 Park Ave S New York City Recorded on a tape recorder by Warhol disciple Brigid Polk, LMKC is said to be the last VU performance to include frontman Lou Reed. The concert was part of the … Velvet's nine-week stint at Max's, a one time nightclub/restaurant frequented by the glammy likes of Warhol, Bowie, and Iggy Pop. The club closed in 1981 and now stands as the Green Café, one of Manhattan's umpteen unremarkable delis.

The Doors – Morrison Hotel (1970)
Morrison Hotel, 1246 Hope Street and West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles. The Morrison Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, where the album's cover photo was snapped, closed its doors in 2007. Prior to that, the hotel had been low-income housing for residents of the central city.

Mazzy Star – She Hangs Brightly (1990)
Main Stair Hall on the Ground Floor Emile Tassel House in Brussels, Belgium. Victor Horta was the architect for this sophisticated home, built from 1893-97.

Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
The cover of the album is a picture of Marina City in the band's adopted hometown of Chicago. Marina Towers Condominium Association‎ 300 North State Street Chicago

"Past and present collide as Detectives L.C. Graves and James Leavelle escort Lee Harvey Oswald through the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters, as it appears now. Oswald, Jack Ruby, Leavelle and Graves stand precisely where the murder occurred on November 22, 1963. Jim Leavelle is the only key player still alive today.

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