Sunday, January 15, 2006

Making rock music larger than life

So double albums are making a comeback? Big deal. They're still CDs, and they're still packaged in a case the size of a cocktail napkin. Massive pop ambition isn't something you should be able to hold in one hand.Consider some of the classic relics of the gatefold era: The Beatles' single-disc ''Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1967) positioned the lads as groundbreaking collage artists, while Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention's brutal parody of the ''Pepper's" cover with ''We're Only in It for the Money" (1968) deflated those same pretensions (as the Beatles themselves would do later that year with the anti-design of ''The White Album"). The UK cover of Jimi Hendrix's ''Electric Ladyland" double was a crowd of nude, smiling women that cemented the guitarist's superstud rep and scandalized record store owners (the artwork was changed to a simple headshot for the American release). The entire wing of prog-rock -- Yes, Pink Floyd, ELP -- would not conceptually exist without the gatefold cover.


At 2:50 AM, Blogger Yer Blues said...

White Album is my all time fave Beatles album. Variety of songs in a double album.


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