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Spectropop - Digest Number 106

______________        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

New! Jeff Barry at Spectropop!

New! The Raindrops at Spectropop!


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

--------------------[ 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

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.

 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)
 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)
 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)

 Jr. Walker and The All Stars - Shotgun (5/65)
 Jr. Walker and the All Stars - Roadrunner (7/66)

 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)
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

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.


--------------------[ 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,

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 ]--------------------

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