Nothing speaks to our pop culture collective consciousness quite like album covers. An old rock and roll song can instantly transport the listener back to another time and place, to nostalgic memories of childhood or angst-filled teenage years. And the visual accompaniment – that simultaneously iconic and familiar album cover – symbolizes the intangible music, giving concrete form to the style and attitude of the musicians who created it.
The gold standard of album covers, arguably the most historic and recognizable of all time, is the Beatles’ eighth studio album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Released in May 1967, this year marks the 50th anniversary of this seminal collection of songs. The album cover is grounded in a kind of historical cultural pastiche with plenty of self-referential humor from the Beatles. To design the cover, the Beatles collaborated with British pop artist Sir Peter Blake and his wife Jann Haworth. Each band member submitted a list of people they wanted to be surrounded by in this playful and impossible grouping of figures including: Mae West, Albert Einstein, Shirley Temple and Oscar Wilde.
While the cover gives the impression that Marilyn Monroe and Edgar Allan Poe were simply collaged onto a pre-existing photograph of the Beatles playing dress-up in day-glo pseudo-military uniforms, the actual creation process of this classic rock and roll image is more complicated. Blake and his wife actually sourced, enlarged and printed out the figures and then mounted them to cardboard. In fact, the Beatles were physically surrounded by life-size cardboard cut-outs! The only ones that were not hand-made cut outs, were the Beatles earlier incarnation of themselves (in their classic shaggy mop tops and black suits) in the form of Madame Tussauds wax figures.
Music memorabilia is an important part of our shared pop culture history and these artifacts not only carry emotional value, but also monetary value. If you have any beloved pieces of music memorabilia—be it from the Beatles, Elvis, Madonna or Michael Jackson, we at the Loan Companies are thrilled to purchase them or write a pawn loan against them. Be sure to collect your item’s provenance and all documentation prior to coming in and set up an appointment today at our West Coast, East Coast or Midwest location!
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