Back in the day, LP covers were far more than merely a dust jacket for your music; they were a tangible, as well as sizeable purchase of artwork you could either skim over, or get lost in, depending on the artist’s efforts.
As a young child sifting through my friend’s older brother’s LP collection, the music had nothing to do with an album cover. In fact, I’m not even sure I associated the two. It was the mid-to-late ‘70s, and we would marvel over, among others, the Molly Hatchet covers featuring work from Frank Frazetta, esteemed fantasy art illustrator. I’d love to say that these spooky covers were traumatic, but they weren’t. The slightly embarrassing admission I have is that it was the cover of Elton John‘s “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” that had us both repeatedly awestruck, and then later for me, provided the fodder for nightmares. I’m sure it wasn’t Elton’s intention; (although maybe…) what is presented without a detailed breakdown is a fantastical Alice in Wonderland-type surreal hodgepodge illustration featuring mostly animal/human hybrids, bubbles, plants and music themes that spanned the entire front and back cover.…but now looking back at it, it really has much more of a Hieronymus Bosch flavor to it, a la the “Hell” panel from “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” I can’t pinpoint exactly what had me so unnerved, but there would be the Masked Ringleader in my dream, along with his minions of tendrilled human-birds, frogs with steps down their backs, and the little pellet-pooping cobble-pot wearing record-player dwarf, ready to wreak havoc on my psyche.