Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Best Thing about LPs Wasn't Vinyl; It Was the Album Covers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Best Thing about LPs Wasn't Vinyl; It Was the Album Covers

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Szaroleta

Vinyl records are all retro-cool now, with collectors snapping them up for their supposedly superior sound.

That may be, but from what I remember of them, there were a lot of scratches and hisses and skips mixed in with that superior sound.

The part I really appreciated about a 33-rpm vinyl album wasn't the vinyl, it was the cardboard. I owned hundreds of albums and spent countless hours studying the covers they came in, poring over the artwork, the song titles and, if I was lucky, the lyrics.

That was easy when it was all printed on a 12.375-by-12.375-inch album cover (even better if it opened up). Not so easy on a cassette tape cover (about 2 1/2-by-4 inches) or a CD (4.75-by-4.75 inches). And all but impossible on an iPod.

I arranged them in alphabetical order. I hung them on the wall. Heck, there were even some albums I bought just because the cover art was so cool.

That piece of cardboard was a canvas, and some bands took it seriously and created a signature style: the otherworldly, intricate paintings on Yes albums, the bizzaro Pink Floyd covers, the elaborate cutouts on Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones sleeves. …

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