________________________________________________________________________ ______________ S P E C T R O P O P ______________ ________________________________________________________________________ Supporting the initiative to send Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame - Read about it in an essay by Don Charles http://www.spectropop.com/hjeffandellie.html New! Jeff Barry at Spectropop! http://www.spectropop.com/hjeff_barry.html New! The Raindrops at Spectropop! http://www.spectropop.com/gg/raindrops.html ------------------------------------------------------------------------ There are 7 messages in this issue. Topics in this digest: 1. Album Covers From: "Kingsley Abbott" 2. Album Covers From: "David Feldman" 3. Motown album covers From: David Gordon 4. Motown pics From: "Full Name" 5. I just wanted to say From: "Jack Madani" 6. The Screw From: Jimmy860 7. lp covers From: John Rausch ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Message: 1 Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001 13:10:57 -0000 From: "Kingsley Abbott" Subject: Album Covers Paul McArthur's post got me thinking about early Motown covers. There is certainly some reasonably well documented evidence that early, as Motown moved towards its bid for the mainstream, that Berry Gordy sometimes went for 'art' covers of dubious quality - some of the early Marvelettes albums, including the "Please Mr Postman" LP qualify here (This band giving Motown their first No 1 remember), Mary Wells' "Bye Bye baby" and The Miracles' "Mickey's Monkey" (but not two earlier Miracles albums). Bear in mind that, as with other record companies (eg Capitol with The Beach Boys), once success was smelt albums were churned out with amazing speed to catch the sales potential. With groups on the road touring it was probably the case that the art departments simply didn't have up to date shots of the up to date group lineups to use. Marvelettes line up changed quite swiftly in their early career. Generally I think that, whilst there may have been a glimmer of truth in the idea of not featuring black faces early on, Motown soon became very proud to say to the world "Here We Are!" The only white faces I can recall offhand were the couple on the beach on the first Isley Bros Motown album "This Old Heart Of Mine" around 1965. Maybe appropriate here to put in a totally shameless plug for my new Motwon book being published next month by Helter Skelter in London. It's a Motown reader called "Calling Out Around The World" that I have edited. It includes a Motown slanted interview with our own Carol Kaye (Thanks again Carol!). Should be on Amazon and elsewhere soonish, and I am told by the publishers (well they would wouldn't they!) that the US distribution is going to be better for this one than it was for my "Back To The Beach" Beach Boys reader!!! Hope this is helpful. Kingsley Abbott --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 2 Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001 04:21:35 -0500 From: "David Feldman" Subject: Album Covers Paul said: > I just can't find any covers with the Blonde Haired, > Blue Eyed Go-Go dancer covers on them. In the paleolithic age, I had a slide show about album covers and how they reflected the sociology of R&R and the society at large. I talked about this very point. I think it's safe to say that Motown covers did not feature artists in the same ways as most labels featuring white artists during the early- to-mid-60s. Many featured graphics rather than photos of the artists. "Please Mr. Postman" was one of many albums that sported innocuous cartoons or graphics in lieu of showing the artists' photos. The Miracles first greatest hits album showed a bland ocean sunset, for no apparent reason. All of the early greatest hits packages' (e.g., Martha and V's, Marvelettes, Marvin Gaye) front covers featured the names of the songs and no photos of the stars. Many of the covers that did include photos of the stars used unusual lighting (who can forget the purple photo of Marvin Gaye on "The Many Moods of..."). The Supremes seemed to get their mugs on front covers more than anyone else (Did the Contours ever get on the front cover?) Still, I think the exec blew it. He was thinking of Atlantic Records, not Motown. Atlantic went through a phase where very few of its R&B artists made the front cover, and I have several anthologies from Atlantic and Atco in the early 60s that indeed have a bogus beach theme (usually cartoons of figures of no discernible race dancing on the beach). One, as I recollect, is called "Beach Beat." featuring such surf classics as "There Goes My Baby," "C.C. Rider," "Searchin'," etc. Atlantic's wildly successful "Super Hits" series all sported cartoon characters. Other anthologies depicted anoymous dancers, usually white, rather than the artists. I don't think this was an accident. Even when a black artist was on the front cover during this period, the lighting tended to be dark and done w/weird color filters. During that slide show, I had a little stretch of 15 or so of front-cover photos where the viewer couldn't ascertain WHAT race the subject was. I've never seen this subject discussed before; I'd be extremely curious about what Berry Gordy or Ahmet Ertegun's comments would be. --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 3 Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001 14:06:28 +0000 (GMT) From: David Gordon Subject: Motown album covers Saying that many early Motown covers featured white people is an interesting quote but it's greatly exaggerated. Of all the albums issued by Motown from 1960 through 1967 I can think of only one which features the legendary "White couple on a beach" - that's the Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart Of Mine" album (Tamla TS269 May 1966). There were a few albums which had art covers rather than photo covers. The story was that this decision was to get around the prejudices of distributors in the South who would tell Motown that they couldn't shift albums with cover photos of black singers. Here's a list, excluding hits compilations, with drawn instead of photo covers. TAMLA Marvelettes - Please Mr Postman (11/61) Marvelettes - Sing Big Hits of 1962 (4/62) Gospel Stars - the Great Gospel Stars (11/61) Miracles - Doin' Mickey's Monkey (11/63) MArvin Gaye & Kim Weston - Take Two (8/66) MOTOWN Mary Wells - Bye Bye Baby (8/61) Twistin' Kings - Twistin' Around The World (11/61) Choker CAmpbell - Hits of the Sixties (2/65) Earl Van Dyke - That Motown Sound (5/65) Supremes - We Remember Sam Cooke (5/65) GORDY Martha and the Vandellas - Come And Get These Memories (6/63) Ralph Sharon - Modern Innovations on Country and Western Themes (6/63) Martha and the Vandellas - Heatwave (9/63) Martha and the Vandellas - Dance Party (4/65) San Remo Golden Strings - Hungry For Love (8/67) SOUL Jr. Walker and The All Stars - Shotgun (5/65) Jr. Walker and the All Stars - Roadrunner (7/66) V.I.P. Elgins - Darling Baby (8/66) Abbey Tavern SIngers - We're Off To Dublin In The Green (2/67) Total number of releases on Motown / Gordy / Tamla / Soul / VIP between 1960 - 1967 : 126 Minus various artists Hits Compilations 9 Minus "Greatest Hits" compilations 8 Minus a few I'm not sure of 4 (Martin Luther King, the "Nothing But A Man" soundtrack) ------ 105 Minus those listed above individually 19 Minus Isley Brothers 1 ------ Covers with photos of black people 85 ---------------------------------------------------- Draw your own conclusions bearing in mind that by 1965 everybody must've known that the Supremes and Dr. Martin Luther King were black I'd be interested to see feedback on this. Consider that Liberty refused to put Irma Thomas' photo on either of her 2 Imperial albums on the grounds that "She was too damn ugly" (paraphrased by Doc Kelly's book on Liberty Records) Atlantic were far more into using white models on albums by their black acts, think of Percy Sledge, Don Covay, Jimmy Hughes. Think of Jerry Butler's VeeJay albums. There's also the fact that art covers were cheaper to produce than photo covers - an important consideration in Motown's early days. David Gordon --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 4 Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001 09:30:46 -0500 From: "Will Stos" Subject: Motown pics >Recently a record executive made a bold claim in R&R >when he said: >"In the early days of Motown you never saw the artist >on an album cover: you saw a white couple on a beach >or blonde, blue eyed go-go dancers." According the the 1959-1972 Motown box set, there were under 20 single cover sleeves with pictures. All of them were displayed, and I don't remember seeing any blue-eyed go-go dancers. As for albums, I'm not so sure, but I've never seen an old album without the artist or something directly related to the songs (ie the Please Mr. Postman album cover, where there was just a drawing of an empty mailbox). Sorry I couldn't help anymore. Will Stos ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Message: 5 Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001 09:34:49 -0500 From: "Jack Madani" Subject: I just wanted to say I went up to NYC with a group of middle schoolers to see a couple of plays (Les Miserables matinee, and then an evening performance of The Fantasticks) as part of a "mini-course" on theatre. We were walking down into Times Square, when all of a sudden what do I run into but the Brill Building! I stopped and touched the wall and spent 10 seconds of silence paying tribute. I just wanted to share that with you. The other teacher, a music teacher who is especially big on Broadway stuff, had no clue what the Brill Building was, by the way. jack --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 6 Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001 11:41:58 EST From: Jimmy860 Subject: The Screw Guys and gals... There's a blue-label copy of The Crystals' "The Screw" on eBay... I realize it's not an original. Were there bootlegs made? I heard this years ago on a tape from somebody... very weird! Anybody else ever hear it? James A. Crescitelli --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 7 Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2001 16:05:46 -0000 From: jonr Subject: lp covers Not to mention Spector did the same thing with some early Philles lp covers. He`s A Rebel had a cartoon biker, Zip A Dee Do Dah had a cartoon cover also , along with a Crystals Hits package with just the song titles in colored circles.Also, Colpix released their Ronettes lp in a very bland non photo cover. Here in the states, anyway. And for Jimmy Cristelli, there are bootleg Philles Screw 45s , I think they were done in the late 70s, along with other Philles boots, I have collected all of them that I know of, and some were even on different colored vinyl, like the Ronettes on purple wax with Walking In The Rain in stereo and the b side Paradise. John Rausch --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- End
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