a few record cover books

since I am away at the beach, I thought I would write up a few record cover books. I own more than 50 of them. Record cover books come in 4 categories: 1. books about a particular designer 2. books about the covers of a particular genre of music 3. books about a particular design element and 4. books about the best covers of all time. From my perspective, the first type is the best – I am interested in indivudual designers as anyone following this blog knows. The recent book on Steinweiss is great, the book on Andy Warhol is great, the book on R. Crumb is great. I am not such a fan of Reid Miles, but the two volume book on Blue Note records is really a book on Reid Miles, and it is very good too. The second category, books on the covers of particular genres, is of less value. One real exception is the one on Country Music – the author is a great expert and shows it. Another amazingly great one is the one on international covers of Elvis albums. Another expert. Storm Thorgerson’s book on the covers of the 60s is also great. Most of the others – rock, heavy metal, reggae, punk, disco are lacking in educational value, but all have lots of pretty pictures. The books on particular design elements are fun – the one on cars is very good. The ones on worst covers of all time are fun but show astonishing biases, but I guess that is their point. Finally, the best covers ones vary a lot. The single issue of a British magazine is the best of them. Best is a relative term, and the important point is whether the choices are defended in a way that makes the reader pay attention. Finally, there are books that purport to be overall surveys of record cover design. Mostly, that is an impossible task and I lump them in with genre ones, albeit on a genre that is “the last ten years or so of covers that we have seen”.

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