Archive for the ‘Worst Album Art The Rockbrat’s Seen ?’ Category

Not sure what the story was behind this bizarre artwork from 1980. If you need a rock n roll history lesson, Jim Keays is most well-known in Australia as frontman for the Masters Apprentices. In more recent times he has done the live circuit as part of the Cotton, Keays and Morris trio, which is a fantastic live show. Like many late 60’s, early 70’s performers, Keays found himself out of the public eye during the early-mid-80’s. I can recall the Cowboy telling me he once saw Jim give a sizzling live performance in the 80’s at a record fair ! Anyway, this 7″ which I picked up a lifetime ago has artwork which I guess, only those in the know could explain. That’s Jim of course in the middle, his arms draped around a shady looking dude with beard, shades and hat – whilst his other arm is straddling a big trannie with make-up overkill. I apologize m’am, if indeed you are indeed, a female. Look a lot of puzzling album artwork, you are never going to ship gold with decisions like this. Pills, a dead bird, bizarre characters, a grinning Jim Keays….any North Balwyn residents reading this call Lucifer Street home ?

When it comes to woeful album sleeves, Predator’s ‘Easy Prey’ album from 1985 is one of the worst you’ll come across. Back in the mid 80’s I used to see this record in the racks of Sydney’s Utopia Records in Challis Arcade. Amazing to think that one of the brain surgeons from that store actually paid money to import this kind of crap ! I wonder who the marketing genius was at Predator’s Record company’s who dreamt up such an abysmal idea ? (assuming of course that a bottom feeder band like this had a real label). Sure the HM genre from the 80’s was bombarded by sexist sleeves but this kind of rubbish crosses the line and would be best left in the shady bookstores of Amersterdam. and to think that Tipper Gore and her band of crusading housewives went after bands like Twisted Sister ! Here’s hoping that the starlet on the sand got well paid and was not just handed a token free album.  As I’ve stated previously you cannot judge a book – or in this case a record – by its cover, however in this case you can. Terrible album art, terrible music. Next !

Giving the dog a bone

The Scorps 1980 album had all the ingredients that typified the band’s successful formulae. It has the classic line up of Klaus Meine, Schenker, Matthias Jabs, Francis Buchholz and Herman Rarebell on drums. (One look at a band photo and you can instantly tell that Herman is the drummer). The album was even produced by Dieter Dierks, who produced a stack of their successful albums.  The album even contained the classic ‘The Zoo’, one of the band’s best known tunes – but what the hell were they thinking with the cover? People do, rightly or wrongly, judge a book by its cover. The album cover belies the killer rock n roll within the sleeve.  The album is called ‘Animal Magnetism’. Apparently Herman came up with the title for the album cos it was ‘an interesting title’. Didn’t anyone tell Herm that drummers aren’t meant to speak, let alone come up with suggestions?  The widespread stereotype outside Germany that Germans have little understanding (or a distorted understanding) of humorous situations is clearly evident on this cover. Let’s take a closer look at the scenario. In the photo we can see the back of a guy holding a can of beer, or rather, bier. In front of him is a girl, on her knees, looking into his eyes. Hold it, right there. Is that animal magnetism right there? She’s on her knees. Is his fly undone? Enter the dog. No need for Fido fellas – we got the intended pun, but thanks for pointing out the obvious for the benefit of your countrymen. Animal magnetism – better get an animal on the cover right or people won’t get it? Having the dog in such close proximity to Fritz’ frankfurt is kinda disturbing- and had the PMRC been around in 1980, Tipper would have no doubt slapped a sticker on this cover as well.  The album cover was created by Storm Thorgerson  and, as with earlier Scorpions album sleeves, courted controversy. However unlike several of their previous album sleeves the controversy did not result in the cover being replaced with an alternate sleeve. Recalling the cover photo, Storm remarked “That one was funny. I don’t think we figured it out. We just knew there was something rude somewhere.” What did I just say about Germans having little understanding about humour? And this statement from the guy who took the photo for the cover?  Francis Buchholz, recalls that, “We had this guy Storm who was doing album covers for Pink Floyd, I think he did the one with the guy with the flames. So Storm came up with idea for the Animal Magnetism cover, I personally didn’t like it, but the rest of the band loved it. I liked the dog though.”Who said Germans were humourless. Next!

Here is another album plucked from the Rockbrat collection which is another contender for worst album art. Sir Mick Jagger’s Primitive Cool effort from 1987 is the next cab off the rank. Is there a hidden joke with regards to the terrible artwork on the cover ? If there is, I don’t get it. Jagger had enough in the bank account by 87 (make that 67) to enlist a good designer, but he settled for this atrocity. If you belive the rumours, Mick and Keef were not getting along back then, so I imagine Richards woulda scoffed when he saw this cover sleeve. Yikes. Shame too, as it’s a great album with guys like Jeff Beck and Dave Stewart on board. Next !

This Australian issue of Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys was released way back in 66 and is a definite contender for the ‘worst album sleeve’ title. Why Australia missed out on the goat-feeding fun as displayed elsewhere on the other common version is perplexing, but I ain’t gonna lose any sleep over it. What’s great about this photo is that none of them are looking at the camera. What is with the attire ? Those shirts look like they were the inspiration for B1 and B2 (Bananas in Pyjamas folks). Mike Love is capped up and looks to be giving Jardine the evil eye, whilst Dennis looks asleep. I can’t blame him. What a shame such a masterpiece of melodies copped a dodgy album sleeve – at least downunder anyway. Next !