BACK TO FRONT

Here’s an album cover post a while in the planning. Though perhaps that should read: a while in the acquiring.

Years ago, when I first got a copy of Kraftwerk’s Radio-aktivität I was struck by the cover art: a geiger counter showing the operation panel on the front of the LP and the rear of the device on the cover’s back. It seemed such a neat idea; I wondered if other artists had created covers using the same idea. They have.

The behind-the-scenes back of each album is shown first. See if you can guess the device.

* * *

Kraftwerk — Radio-aktivität  [EMI Electrola, 1975]

Matthew Bourne — Moogmemory [Leaf, 2016]

 

Gallagher and Lyle — Love On The Airwaves [A&M, 1977]

 

Family — Bandstand [Reprise, 1972]

 

Holger Czukay / Jah Wobble / Jaki Liebezeit — Full Circle [Virgin, 1982]

* * *

Feature image

Mushroom — Analog Hi-Fi Surprise [Clearspot, 1999].

This excellent space-rock/psychedelic/progressive album featured at Vinyl Connection here. It’s a clever piece of CD packaging where a cardboard slipcase has the main image…

While the jewel case tray pretends to be a turntable:

And the back of the insert has the underneath of the turntable. Neat, eh?

* * *

Favourites here?

Other albums using the same front/back electrical device design?

 

39 comments

  1. I love the turntable CD case. Pretty cool. I actually love all these and it highlights the fact that a physical product is the only way to go to get the full album enjoyment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said, Comrade John! We may be a dying breed who love the physical object, but we ain’t goin’ down without a fight!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Nope! I will fight that war until the bitter end and I am trying my best to get the kids to keep waging that battle as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s also the Tragically Hip’s Phantom Power album cover and back…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah! That’s a good one. Buggered if I know what the device is, but it’s electrical kit, that’s for sure.

      Like

      1. I feel like I used to know what it was (someone told me, once), but I don’t recall now. Looks like it could be part of an airplane, somehow…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Cool post! I like the bookend idea of front and back being, well, front and back…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Work with what you got, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. jprobichaud · · Reply

    Neat idea for a post. Those were some cool album covers. Not familiar with most of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some are a tad obscure, jp. The executive summary goes (top down):

      Electronic – 70s
      Electronic – 10s but retro
      Pleasant 70s AOR
      Prog-influenced UK rock
      Eccentric Can/PIL hybrid
      Psych/Prog post-rock/retro

      Liked by 2 people

      1. jprobichaud · · Reply

        That last sounds interesting

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yep. The post where it originally appeared has more about the music (after the ‘light entertainment’ section!)…
          https://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/01/30/magic-mushroom/

          Liked by 3 people

  5. Another good compilation! In the middle of the seventies you could purely electronically produced sounds almost only find in the avant-garde electronic music. Groups like Kraftwerk were quite unique for me at the time, but also very impersonal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi HF. Radio-Aktivitat certainly has a cold, austere feel. But some Kraftwerk is much warmer, I reckon; the romance of Trans-Europe Express, the human/auto journey of Autobahn, zum beispiel.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are right, there was definitely humorous component.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Very cool sleeves! I love them all, but I’m not familiar with nost of them. And I was dead-sure there is radio receiver on the Kraftwerk “Radio-activity” with the speaker in the middle, so the information that it’s acctualy a giger counter is revolutionary for me 🙂
    Some other examples (not devices though but showing the back of the front cover… well…on the back):
    Black Sabbath ‘Sabotage’ – some fun with the mirror reflections
    Deep Purple “In rock” – You can admire the backs of the statues on the back of the cover 🙂
    Gentle Giant “The power and the glory” – Cover idea is to resemble playing card bend in half so the back is the other part of the same card

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for joining the conversation iwarti. Always enjoy it when you pop up! Yes, using the back cover to continue the story is very nice. Perhaps another post right there.
      As for the playing card design, somewhere I have a list with a few of those, but not enough in the VC collection to make a post.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always a please to chat with You! Oh, and I must say this “Full cirlce” with Can/Pil crew is great! I’ve discovered it just in time to include it in my letter to Santa 🙂 So Thank you for this one!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, I meant a pleasure not a please 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        2. I’m sure Santa has his radio tuned to your station, iwarti!

          Liked by 2 people

  7. Brilliant! Not an electrical device, but the front/back idea present: Bob Marley and The Wailers, Babylon By Bus, front and back of a bus. Maybe for a new post, abour transportation devices on album covers? Greetings from Belgium, Guy

    Like

    1. Hi Guy. Lovely to have you join the conversation, and hello to you in Belgium!

      Album covers with forms of transport? Yep, we certainly have that covered.
      Here’s the link to the first in what became a sprawling series…

      https://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/07/28/10-awesome-auto-album-covers/

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I haven’t seen the back, but maybe XTC’s Transistor Blast?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes indeed. Nice get. Can’t quite believe I missed this…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh cool, I don’t actually have a copy.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. The first Butts Band (post Doors crew with Jess Roden) had the front and back of an amp. https://www.discogs.com/Butts-Band-The-Butts-Band/master/243025

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Superb! Great get Paul.

      Like

  10. I love everything about this, I obviously need more albums in my life so I too can do this type of connect the album stuff in nefarious and circumstantial ways. You sire are an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why thank you. These posts are certainly a way of ‘playing’ with the collection, and I’m chuffed when there is a positive response. This, naturally enough, justifies more purchases.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Nothing better than self-justification, Bruce. It’s the ultimate reward 😉 – Marty

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Who was it said, ‘Indulgence is its own reward’?
          Oh. I think it was me.
          Cheers Marty! 😉

          Liked by 2 people

  11. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    Very neat. I’m intrigued by that Full Circle most, for the lineup more than the artwork. Really inventive theme for a post too, this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Bill. Quite a while in the making, this one. I knew about the Gallagher and Lyle from my record store days, but wasn’t willing to pay more than $5 for an LP purchased entirely for this post. Hence, quite a long wait.

      Two members of Can + the bass player from PIL. It is more the former than the latter; reminiscent of Holgar’s solo work if you know any of that strange opus.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I was scrolling down the take wondering if you might by chance include the ‘Family’ album. Off you did!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. G’day Bruce
    Some great albums amongst this lot. Here’s one that’s not particularly exotic:
    AC/DC – Backtracks (2009 box set)
    Cheers, Dave

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Paul. That’s a good addition, and very fitting! That original amp box was simply fabulous.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Brilliant Bruce, coincidentally I bought Moog Memory this week too.

    I absolutely love the Mushroom CD – how clever of it to know that vinyl is inherently better than it is.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cheers Joe. Reckon you’ll love moogmemory. And yes, Mushroom are that sort of bear.

      Liked by 2 people

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