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100 Best Album Covers Paperback – November, 1999
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The immediate question that arises with a book entitled 100 Best Album Covers is, of course, "Says who?" Wisely, authors Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell have anticipated such widespread suspicion. In their thorough and amusing introduction, the two former cover designers (of Hipgnosis) go on at length about potentially qualifying factors (innovation, humor, bizarreness, minimalism, audacity) and possible reasons for nonselection (popularity, dull illustration, ugly technique, emotional offensiveness). But, they concede, what it really comes down to is a matter of taste--with a bit of nostalgia thrown into the mix.
In the end, the mysterious (and eternally debatable) selection formula matters not. The history, inspiration, and technical design details provided for each of the 100 covers that made the cut serve as reason enough for their inclusion. Did you know that Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy cover was inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's novel, Childhood's End?? Or that the burning man on Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here was actually on fire (and in a bit of danger)? Or that an original idea for Supertramp's Breakfast in America was to depict cereal and milk rolling through the Grand Canyon? Tasty tidbits like these, along with quotes from designers, photographers, and the musicians themselves, make this a must-have volume for music fans--yes, even if your personal top 100 covers would constitute an entirely different collection. --Brangien Davis
About the Author
Together with co-author Aubrey Powell, Storm Thorgerson founded the influential 1960s Hipgnosis design studio. He is the creative genius behind some of rock music's best-known and most compelling album covers, including several classic Pink Floyd sleeves. Thorgerson has had five of his cover designs included in the 100 classic album covers chosen by the editors of Rolling Stone magazine.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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As to the question of whether or not these are truly the best 100 album covers of all time, I really can't say. In fact, in that regard I think the title is misleading because it forces the reader into thinking this is some type of a ranking or countdown. In fact, it is nothing of the sort. This is simply a really cool collection of 100 great album covers and their history. And, in that respect, this book really delivers.
Buy it today. I promise you, it will never get dull.
As an art book, this book is a joke. I have many coffee-table and art books, and "100 Best Album Covers" is the only one I have that centers some featured graphics in the CENTER of the book. By that, I mean that a picture is centered in a two page spread, which runs the spine of the book right down the middle of the picture. All of the other art books I have put a graphic on one page so that you can see it (unless it's oversized). The pictures here aren't oversized and would easily fit on one page. It's hard to appreciate even a nifty album cover when you can only see the outer edges of it clearly. Far too many of the album covers are centered on the spine this way. The emphasis in this book is on the commentary it seems, and not so much the picture. Emerson Lake & Palmer's "Brain Salad Surgery" (an impressive work by the famous artist Giger) isn't quite as breathtaking when you have to pry and bend the book open and crack the spine to see it.
The publishers should revise this book and reissue it.
The reasons are simple - `100 Best Album Covers' is indeed very representative of all types of musics (including electronic!) from many eras and all types of graphic styles. The authors (experts and very experienced) approached the subject matter from not only a historical perspective (lots of really cool facts!) but from a graphic design perspective. If your interested in music and/or graphic design, this book is for you.......
I think that part of the problem with this book is that it tries to catagorize the covers, which is the downfall. For some of the catagories, it seems that they are reaching on covers just so they have enough album covers to sustain that catagory.
I also think there were albums, too numerous to miss.
That all being said, the information was very interesting and it was good to see that one time period or genre was not dwelled upon.