Steinweiss logo on the Columbia covers.
Smash Song Hits
by Rodgers & Hart performed by the Imperial Orchestra conducted
by Richard Rodgers
In the beginning
for many LP records a basic design was used which only needed filling
in names of artist(s), composer(s), compositions and reference number
on the tombstone.
Steinweiss cover for the 10 inch Columbia release in 1950 of music by
Sibelius and Rachmaninoff performed by Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia
label in the style of the Continental label.
Steinweiss 'signature' written in the so called Steinweiss scrawl
as it appeared on Remington releases.
catalog, published in the fall of 1952, showing the new design. The
cover is by Alex Steinweiss of course.
first label Alex Steinweiss designed for Remington Records. Inc. It
is Remington's third label and has Don Gabor's signature. It also shows
the crown which was retained from the early label. But the style bears
Alex Steinweiss' signature.
The fourth label
designed for the MUSIRAMA recordings.
Weekly added The REMINGTON Site to their Hall of Fame - Best of the
In 1939, 22 year
old Alexander Steinweiss proposed to Columbia to make a change in the
presentation and packaging of the 78 RPM record albums. Sleeves for
single disks were often made of plain paper or had more elaborate designs
which served as advertisements not directly linked to the recorded music
pressed on the disk.
Big record companies everywhere put their disks in sleeves with
Here four examples of European 78 RPM record sleeves from the 1930s:
Columbia (Great Britain), Polydor (Deutsche Grammophon), His Master's
Voice (advertising the HMV reentrant horn) and Telefunken (with
the image of violinist Georg Kulenkampff).
releases in albums were rather simple if compared to the stylish 78
RPM sleeves. Below is the Columbia album CX 120, later renamed MX-120,
of Liszt's Todtentanz, performed by pianist Edward Kilenyi and conductor
Selmar Meyrowitz, on 2 x 12" 78 RPM disks.
So, why not adorn
these albums with graphics too? Steinweiss' idea was to use original
artwork (drawings and paintings) on the front of the albums specifically
related to the recorded work(s).
This approach was quite a change, even if compared to the more luxurious
gold or silver imprint of the nomenclature in a serif or gothic font
on the black, green, brown or beige heavy books.
design of the albums was derived from the photo album design with
a plain and simple layout and lettering as this European release of
HMV (Victor in the USA) shows.
Isolde Menges performs Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata, accompanied by
pianist Arthur de Greef.
His Master's Voice D 1066/69 electrical recording, date November 10,
album is testimony of the revolution in album design. It shows Alex
Steinweiss' style to the full.
Pianist Oscar Levant plays George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with
the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy on Columbia MX251
(on LP ML4026).
NOTE: This is not the world's first album cover ever, because that
was for a 1939 collection of songs by Rodgers and Hart. It is also
not the factual best selling cover of the Rhapsody played by Alec
Templeton with André Kostelanetz which I only have in its plain
edition and was released only much later on LP in January 1952, ML4455.
The Templeton album which was illustrated by Steinweiss shows a small,
white piano under a street lamp which is in fact a trumpet, the suggestion
of the New York skyline in black, plus the lettering which is, as
always with Steinweiss, an integral part of the design.
Even though Steinweiss'
idea seems a logical step, the idea itself was revolutionnary and had
a vast impact on the record business. The new look skyrocketed the sales
of a Rodgers & Hart album (with orchestra conducted by Richard Rogers)
which was already on the shelves but now it was apealing even more.
that day on, of every new release sales were boosted above average and
the artistic packaging became an important part of the record. Soon
this idea was adopted by every record company.
Imagine, being that young
and your idea is accepted by an important company. The idea is provocative,
it is revolutionary, and it links a commercial concept to a high artistic
quality. That is thrilling. At first sight there is a slight reminiscence
of cubism and art deco, but it follows its own development. It breaks
with old fashioned thinking. Now the liner notes of the albums are also
styled in a modern way as is shown by the later release of a box with
two 12 inch shellac records with the recording of Suite No. 1 from Peer
Gynt (Grieg), Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra (Columbia
Masterworks Set MX-291).
In 1948 Columbia presented
the LP format to the public. The advantage over the 78 rpm album was
first of all the increased capacity. A symphony on 4 x 78 rpm records
could now be engraved on a single long playing disc. The new medium
did not need the fat, heavy albums any longer but could do with a simpler
sleeve. The standard sleeves for 78 RPM records in albums were made
of relatively light Kraft paper, folded together and glued either at
the spine and top, or at the top or bottom, reportedly with a strip
folded inside the sleeve. If this method was applied to sleeves of the
new LP record, it could damage the vinylite. In my collection of 78s
all albums and sleeves, post- and prewar, have so called flip back seems,
this means that the seams or strips were glued on the outside instead
of the inside! A new sleeve had to be designed. Now Columbia asked Steinweiss
to design a cover specifically for a single Long Playing Record. That
is what he did. He also designed the box set, both for 33 rpm records
and for shellac as is shown in the picture of Set MX 291.
Steinweiss with a few of his designs for Columbia records,
photographed by William P. Gottlieb in 1947.
Courtesy of William P. Gottlieb. (Copyright W.P.Gottlieb.)
Steinweiss (March 24, 1917, Brooklyn, New York) graduated from
Abraham Lincoln High School and was trained by Leon Friend, the
school's first art department chairman. Young Alex received a
scholarship from Parsons School of Design (New York). He graduated
in 1937, and was for two years assistant to Joseph Binder. In
1939 he was retained as Art Director at Columbia Records, and
was appointed Advertising Manager for Columbia Records in 1943.
From 1943 until the end of the war he was Exhibits Engineer in
the US Navy TADC (Tactical Air Direction Center). In 1945 he settled
as a free lance designer and consultant, painter and ceramist,
working for a variety of companies and industries, including Columbia
Records, and was a free lancer ever since. In 1981 he was appointed
to the Board of Trustees of the Ringling School of Art, Sarasota,
Florida. He was appointed honorary member of the Board of Directors
of Asclo Opera, also in Sarasota. Numerous are the entries in
reference books, and articles in magazines beginning in 1940 in
Printer's Ink (1940), Art and Industry (1942), Who's Who in America
(supplement, October 1943), Down Beat (1947), Graphis Annual,
Professional Cartooning, Modern Publicity, etc. He exhibited in
galleries and museums in the US and Europe (Great Britain, France,
Germany, and other countries). Right from 1939 on he received
many awards, a total of at least twenty, the last was in 1993
in Sarasota where he was honored by Temple Emanu-el along with
9 other Sarasota visual artists.- Data from the biographical
synopsis sent by Alex Steinweiss and received in the summer of
2002. - R.A.B.
Steinweiss was asked to design a standard record sleeve for the new
long playing record. His first design was a sleeve made of rather thin
Kraft paper with the opening at the top (1948).
Later Steinweiss' design
of the folded cardboard became the standard of the industry in the USA.
His basic design was soon varied upon (in all sorts of forms with the
fold at the spine, the two separate sheets with a reinforcement at the
spine and/or a reinforcement at the top and bottom seem), but it remained
in essence the same, up to this day.
a larger sheet with the printed art was folded and glued over the edges.
The square sheet with the liner notes was glued on the back, as the
drawing shows. The reverse way was also done: the sheet with the liner
notes, larger than the actual cardboard, was folded over the edges and
the square sheet with the artwork was glued on the front. In some designs
the top and bottom seams were reinforced with a small strip of some
strong fabric which was glued into the seam.
Europe various solutions were devised. Early Dutch Philips covers were
of the gatefold kind, as were several VOX productions from Great Britain.
Grammophon had the gatefold with the record compartment glued at the
edges with blue linen tape. The records were slipped into a compartment
made of somewhat less rough paper. Electrola had a gatefold similar
to that of Deutsche Grammophon, also later lined with a plastic sheet
(polyurethane?), however not stitched but glued at the edges and the
seems bonded with a light colored linen tape.
later editions of Deutsche Grammophon, from about 1954 on, the gatefold
had the stitched compartment lined with plastic sheet. This design had
an appeal of quality but many times it was the cause of a damaged, scuffed
or scratched record as the LP had to be grabbed at the periphery and
pulled out of the flat opening of the compartment. Often the sheets
were not opened correctly and the record was slipped in wrongly. The
best way to go about is to place the right part of the cover on a flat
surface, open the gatefold, then separate the plastic lining and gently
take out the record. Form follows function. In hindsight this adagio
did not entirely apply to the Deutsche Grammophon covers. The designers
may have thought differently at the time, the same as so many designs
of today forget about the functionality. Go to the super market and
get irritated by products with a confusing, weird packaging, so the
client gets lost. Or browse the world wide web and stumble upon several
didactically ill designed pages which take up too much time for the
visitor who has to find out and understand the way of thought of the
person who built the page and who makes navigation more difficult than
is in fact necessary. Not with Alex Steinweiss. His design solutions
are practical. His artwork is communicative, almost interactive in the
modern sense, because of balanced composition and fine detail.
7", 10" and 12" of the popular Polydor records had simple
covers, also stitched at the sides, the opening at the top. This was
in fact a follow up of the heavy felt like covers of the 78 rpm quality
labels from before World War Two which were stitched also at the sides.
EMI, Decca and Philips in England and Dutch Philips were put in so called
flipback covers. In Germany Telefunken and RCA had also a folded cover.
The fold was at the bottom and the sides were glued together. The opening
was at the top.
said, in the USA however many Columbia LP records (and in the beginning
those of most manufacturers) were put into flimsy, all purpose sleeves
with a basic graphic design. It sufficed to print the names of the artists,
the title and the reference number on the front and some liner notes
or a list of other available records on the back. Many
early Remington releases in 1950 and 1951 were also slipped into
thin, floppy all purpose, generic sleeves with only different titles
printed on the front. Some of the early recordings had already their
own art created specifically in relation to the music.
Many of the designs
for the early Remington red-label productions were made by a man named
Freeman. Other names that came up were of Sherman Alpert,
Raboni, and for Plymouth it was Roy E. La Gione.
When profits had been made, the product's appeal could be improved upon
to further boost the turnover. Now new sleeves were designed by someone
whose initials were E.D.L., by Einhorn and already by
Curt John Witt who also made many covers for the Plymouth releases
which often contained the recorded material originally issued on Remington.
Instead of pictures of the artists and listings of other recordings
available, now the covers had liner notes. As no initials or a name
of the author was mentioned, it is unclear who wrote the liner notes.
It is possible that also some were written by George Curtiss,
Don Gabor's cousin
and managing director of the Webster pressing plant in Massachusetts.
As the competition
was growing, producer Don Gabor was convinced that he needed the full
attention of the buyer and that he should have covers that
were well designed
and that the style should have distinctive features in order to be recognized
so the discs would be able to compete with the products of the big companies.
So why not ask the man who designed the covers for Columbia Masterworks,
Alex Steinweiss, to develop a corporate image and a basic design for the
covers and the label of Remington records.
first Remington label designed by Alex Steinweiss.
designed a new basic layout for the label, the covers of Remington LPs,
and for the company's business presentation. In fact Steinweiss designed
a complete corporate image for Don Gabor's company. He designed the
third Remington label, the black-gold label with the letters REMINGTON
placed in boxes arranged in a circle at the periphery of the label,
including a box with a crown. Above the nomenclature (in the upper half
of the label) the text "A Don Gabor Production" was
placed in Steinweiss hand-drawn lettering, later copyrighted as "Steinweiss
same elements adorned the covers. On the left the letters REMINGTON
were placed in boxes in a vertical row, topped by a box with the same
"A Don Gabor Production" and at the bottom a box with the
crown. Furthermore the logo with laurels was replaced by a new oval
emblem with the text Complete Audible Range Reproduction, a logo
that was to suggest the same quality as Full Frequency Range Recording
(English Decca and London), New Orthophonic High Fidelity(RCA),
Living Presence(Mercury), Full Dimensional Sound (Capitol),
by Alex Steinweiss: 'A Don Gabor Production', the crown, the vertical
row of boxes which spelled REMINGTON, plus the heading on the stationary
(and other documents) with the slogan 'music for millions', the
capital R on the catalog with the Remington logo, and the black/gold
sticker with the important text 'factory sealed', they were, from
July 1952 on, the elements defining the corporate image of Remington
Records Inc. The Musirama recordings were announced in the 1953
catalog and the new label was introduced in the following year.
When better recordings
were made under the supervision of both Laszlo Halasz and Don
Gabor, and improved microphone placement was used by Gabor's technician
Robert Blake (Blake later recorded for the Everest label as a few covers
indicate) and this technique was named MUSIRAMA, a triangular logo was
put on the cover and MUSIRAMA was also added to the label. The "A
Don Gabor Production" logo with laurels was replaced by the atomic
symbol and the wording "3 dimensional sound".
The graphics of the labels are extremely beautiful because of the combination
of a serif typeface for the label name - REMINGTON - and a sans serif,
gothic type for reference numbers and the description of the contents
of the recording. Steinweiss designed also a basic layout for the back
of the cover to complement the new style of the MUSIRAMA editions: frames,
typefaces for titles, liner notes and reference numbers, positioning
of logo, etc.
is noted for his Columbia covers and one easily gets the impression
that this was the only label he worked for. But it is significant that
he designed the covers for other labels as well. And he worked with
other designers and artists like Curt John Witt (later covers
indicate "Curt John Witt Design House"; he also designed for
Allegro Royale and Opera Society), Albitz, Kaebitz, Leonard
Slonevski, Wattly and Otto Rado.
As far as I could find out Rudolph de Harak (19242002)
designed two covers for Don Gabor, one for a Remington release and another
for a Pontiac release, around 1952. He later became famous for designs
for the Metropolitan Museum, the United States Pavilion at the Osaka
World Fair, for Man Planet Space in Montreal 1967. He also designed
the 'Quadra' typeface and more than 400 book jackets for McGraw-Hill's
Also an artist named Riser provided record jacket art.
himself designed covers, and he coordinated the work of the other artists
as well. In the beginning existing covers were adapted to the new lay
out. But as soon as new recordings were to be released, new artwork
was made and even particular covers that were already restyled, were
replaced by covers with new art work. The most significant example is
Edward Kilenyi's recording of the Chopin Waltzes which could be obtained
in (at least) two different editions.
by Alex Steinweiss for Remington R-199-126 with the Steinweiss Scrawl
in abundance: Violinist Michèle Auclair plays Kreisler Encores
accompanied by pianist Otto Schulhof.
The designs made
by Steinweiss for Remington are not always as elaborate as most of the
covers he did for Columbia Records. But there are exceptions of course.
An example is the beautiful cover for R-199-128 with violinist
Michèle Auclair and cellist Gaspar Cassado playing gems.
However, the similarities in style are obvious. The Remington covers
have an originality of their own which is also brought about by the
vertical logo (designed by Steinweiss) on the left of the cover which
had to be "integrated" in the artwork. Integration also applied to the
triangle of the MUSIRAMA logo which was added lateron.
designs of the Remington covers are at times a bit simple and reflect
a somewhat childish optimism, one could say. To a large extend this
style was imposed by the technique of plate production and the printing
process available in those days, a technique which had its restrictions.
The intensity and shade of colors varied as in those days the Pantone
Matching System (PMS) - which was devised by Lawrence Herbert in 1963
and has been the reference for designers, art directors, and printers
ever since - did not yet exist. The mixing of the paint was not always
done in the same manner. So if you encounter a pale cover, there is
no deliberate argument behind it. It is just a print from ink/paint
of a different mix.
Many covers witness
the personalities of the various designing artists who (often guided
by Steinweiss) and reflected the nature of the music in their work.
"golden" laminated cover by Steinweiss at the occasion
of the 5th Anniversary of Columbia's Long Playing record, September
1953, with popular music of Tchaikovsky conducted by Eugene Ormandy.
The style for the LPs of Columbia is often more sophisticated and
more serious by the use of darker tones. By exception this cover
has the designer's name written in his famous scrawl which is unusual
for Columbia covers.
As free lance art director of Columbia Alex Steinweiss also supervised
the work of other artists like he supervised several designers for
the Remington label. This cover of Gershwin's Concerto in F with
pianist Oscar Levant and Andre Kostelanetz conducting the Philharmonic
Symphony Orchestra of New York on Columbia ML 4025 is by artist
Velde and created in 1950 more or less in the Steinweiss vein.
distinguish themselves by the hand writing (the Steinweiss scrawl):
names of artists, location of recording, the works recorded. So even
if his name is not mentioned, the original artist is generally recognized.
Steinweiss is the one who at times uses more pastel colors and fine
lines as for the covers of Scheherazade with the RIAS Symphony Orchestra
and the cover of Piano Encores (not displayed).
Publisher Taschen from Los Angeles prepared a new publication
about Alex Steinweiss and his work: The Inventor of the Modern
Album Cover compiled and written by Kevin Reagan, Steven
Heller and Alex Steinweiss, published October, 2009. It is a
celebration of ninety year old Alexander Steinweiss who personally
signed every book (which has the shape of an old illustrated 78
rpm record album but is somewhat larger in size). The book itself
is extremely well designed and printed, and is overflowing with
innumerable reproductions of covers and other Steinweiss graphics.
Curt John Witt
who did many covers for Remington, has his own signature of style. His
designs initially have calmness and simplicity like the cover for Beethoven's
Pastoral Symphony (displayed at the end of this page). He also designed
one of the covers for the Waltzes of Chopin on R-199-82 (not displayed).
Lateron his designs have bright and intense colors and straight lines:
Chopin's 4 Scherzi played by Jorge Bolet and the recording with music
of American composers Ward and Stein. He just uses a few colors evoking
the modernism of Gershwin's Concerto in F. He could have been the artist
who designed the Prokofiev cover on which no name is mentioned. Some covers
just state Curt John Witt, while other covers mention: "Design House
- Curt John Witt". Witt worked for other labels as well. He designed
the cover for The Opera Society's edition of the 2 10" LP set in a gatefold
of Gluck's "Orpheus and Eurydice" performed by The Netherlands Philharmonic
Orchestra and Chorus under Nicolas Goldschmidt and Dutch singers Léon
Combé, Corry Bijster and Anette de la Bije.(The Opera Society was
a label of the Concert Hall Society/Musical Masterpieces Society.) See:
Covers of Curt John Witt.
His work can also be found on many covers of Eli Oberstein's
on Allegro/Royale releases.
John Witt's cover design for The Opera Society recording of Orpheus
and Eurydice (Gluck) - M142 OP25.
was H. Kaebitz. From his hand is the cover of Symphony Fantastique.
It displays a sinister purple color, and a cross adorned with faces.
He also designed the covers for the Young Violinist's Edition of
Alice and Theodore Pashkus.
The cover Otto Rado did for Westminster's release of Rimsky-Korsakov's
Scheherazade conducted by Argeo Quadri. And
the cover for Urania 7112 released in 1954 with Fritz Kirmse performing
Malipiero's Violin Concerto with Rudolf Kleinert conducting the
Orchestra of Radio Leipzig and Saschko Grawiloff as soloist in
Rakov's Violin Concerto with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Arthur Rother.
and Wattly use styles which have a more common and plain quality
if compared to the other, brighter designs. And Rudolph de Harak
designed in a sober style.
the artist of Kilenyi's Liszt album where on a purple background the
shapes of a grand piano and candles with flickering flames indicate
the romanticism which was seen a couple of years earlier in the 1945
biopic of Liszt's contemporary Chopin, "A song to Remember",
where Merle Oberon (as George Sand) walked into the non-lit room and
places the candelabras on the grand piano, thus revealing that Frederick
Chopin (Cornel Wilde) was playing instead of Franz Liszt, what everybody
expected. (The piano part was played by José Irturbi).
On the cover of
the recording of Dvorak's 4th (8th) Symphony designer Otto Rado
beautifully expressed a pastoral mood. In that way he accentuates the
sense of beauty. His love for the use of gold can also be seen in the
cover for Westminster's 1953 Scheherazade release (WL 5234, Argeo
Quadri conducting). He also worked for the Urania label as illustrated
by the release of the Violin Concertos of Rakov and Malipiero. Extraordinary
is his design for the 3 LP Remington box of
Aida conducted by Franco Capuana. That is a collectible item
for reasons of both performance and cover art.
example of - obviously - a new creative phase in the output of Alexander
Steinweiss: The cover of the recording of Benjamin Britten's Les
Illuminations and Norman Dello Joio's Meditations Ecclesiastes.
Signed in the famous 'Steinweiss scrawl' as used for early Columbia
and Remington records.
Janice Harsanyi, Soprano, and
the Princeton Chamber Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Harsanyi -
Decca DL 710138.
The arrangement of the label name and graphic motifs in a circle was more
or less initiated by Steinweiss in the creation of the style for the Remington
labels. From then on this arrangement is a trait of Steinweiss' style.
He applied the same idea in the labels for American Decca. The inner sleeves
have a luxurious design explaining to the eye that it is about a recording
in Decca's Gold Label Series.
The very personal
style of Alex Steinweiss is also seen in the early album covers for
Bob Whyte's Everest records and the design of the early labels of the
Everest releases. Again he arranged the label's name in a circle and
he choose specific colors. To add to the significance of the Everest
releases the label mentioned "A CERTIFIED STEREO-MASTER RECORDING"
(somewhat like the CARR emblem and the MUSIRAMA logo on the Remington
labels). The early Everest issues had this very distinctive basic design,
the specific fonts included.
The Columbia record labels were actually simple and plain. But that
was going to evolve. In this context it would be logical to assume that
the later labels for Columbia, mentioning composers, works, and performers,
reference numbers, Side One and Two, etc. were designed by Alex Steinweiss
as well. That is however not the case. The famous Columbia 6-Eye labels
were created by famous designer Sadamitsu Neil Fujita when working
for Columbia Records in the nineteen fifties. He started off as a painter
but choose for design to make a living and designed for Columbia, Command
Records, various publishing houses, etc.
He left Columbia in 1957.
Neil Fujita, Graphic Designer was interviewed by Steven Heller
of artwork and the use of very distinctive graphics for the early Everest
covers is the more remarkable while by that time the trend was gradually
changing towards the use of photographs combined with graphics and finally
just using pictures with lettering.
In the early years
of advertising, objects and people were depicted in drawings in black
and white and later in color.
When new, more cost effective printing techniques became available,
art directors and copywriters started to work together with photographers
who were commissioned to shoot photos along the lines of the art director's
concept. Gradually the graphic artist was replaced by the photographer
completely. The art director designed the basic layout and choose the
picture and the various typefaces. This trend was initiated by RCA in
the early nineteenfifties, and was followed by many a record company.
covers of RCA LM-1815 and LM-1893 set the trend of using photographs
instead of graphics and specific artwork.
left Victor LM 1817 from 1954 with an inspiring, sexy photograph
covering Gaité Parisienne performed by the Boston Pops
Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fiedler. This recording was one
of the first RCA stereo recordings but could only be released
as a Living Stereo issue in 1958. Later another recording was
done with Fiedler and released on LSC 2267 with a new cover.
The earliest examples
of the use of photographs exclusively can be found on several RCA covers.
From 1954 is the release of With Love From A Chorus on LM-1815,
sung by the Robert Shaw Chorale. Also famous is the cover of Ravel's
Daphnis and Chloe by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Robert
Shaw Chorale under conductor Charles Munch on LM-1893 from 1955. It
has a distinct new style, as has the RCA cover of the 1956 release of
My True Love Sings again by the Robert Shaw Chorale on LM-1998.
From then on also older recordings were reissued in covers adorned with
photographs. This was however not the case with the release of Offenbach's
Gaité Parisienne conducted by Arthur Fiedler of which
there was an earlier recording from 1950 issued on LM 1001. The release
on LM 1817 was a new recording and had a sexy picture of a voluptuous
leg of a cancan dancer.
The early designs
with the Robert Shaw Chorale on RCA from 1954 and 1956 may have inspired
many a photographer and designer, like famous Dutch photographer Paul
Huf when he made the covers for the Philips S-L Series with
model Ann Pickford from England and typography by Harry van
Borssum, launched in 1956.
Proof of this inspiration is Huf's cover for the Piano Concertos of Franz
Liszt performed by pianist Cor de Groot and the Recidency Orchestra conducted
by Willem van Otterloo, reminiscing the lady in red on the early RCA cover.
The same applies to his cover for Ballet Music by Delibes and Gounod with
conductor Jean Fournet. Nevertheless Paul Huf's is a very artistic and
In a similar style is the photography for the Scheherazade recording of
the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy.
Columbia naturally had covers designed in the same trend which was pioneered
by RCA as shows the late release on LP of Oscar Levant's Gershwin recordings
originally made in the 78 rpm era. The photographer was Hal Reif.
different covers for Buck Clayton's most famous Jam Session on Philips
B 07022 L: Buck Clayton and Joe Newman (trumpets), Urbie Green and
Henderson Chambers (trombones), Lem Davis (alto sax), Julian Dash
(tenor sax), Charlie Fowlkes (baritone sax), Sir Charles Thompson
(piano), Freddie Green (piano), Walter Page (bass), and Jo Jones
(Drums). The titles: The Huckle-Buck, and Robin's Nest.
example of the new trend to use photography in combination with graphics,
and the use of plain photography is the release by Philips of the Columbia
recording CL 548 which was first issued in the spring of 1954. The early
hybrid design (graphics and pictures) of Philips B 07022 L, was eventually
replaced by a powerful picture of Buck Clayton playing the trumpet.
The second edition was pressed from new plates and released around 1957.
Although Alex Steinweiss already combined graphics and bits of photographic
images in the nineteen forties on the 78 rpm albums.
the late 1950s many an old Remington recording had a new disguise with
a photograph on the cover and were now available on one or several of
Gabor's other labels like Masterseal, Paris, Webster, and Palace.
In 1958 the Remington label was discontinued.
Below is the cover of Palace M-601 with Tchaikovsky (Romeo and Juliet
Overture) and Grieg (Peer Gynt Suite No. 1), played with the Viennese
Symphonic Orchestra under fake conductor Kurt Baumann, a substitute
for Kurt Wöss (Tchaikovsky) as well as H. Arthur Brown (Grieg).
When Don Gabor
had revived his Continental label in the nineteen sixties he once in
a while issued a beautiful gatefold edition like this disk with Gypsy
Music played by Markoff and his Romany Strings on CST-2005.
After the craze
of using photography had more or less passed, new generations of artists
were designing labels and covers and corporate house-styles. Now al
styles and techniques were used side by side, many times inspired by
the pioneers of the early days.
Many record collectors and artists regret that the small size of the
jewel case of the CD gives less opportunity to make an artistic cover.
But within the restrictions there are quite a few remarkable CD covers
and booklets. Yet, the CD with art work and the small lettering is sometimes
qualified as neat or cute, while an LP cover can be utterly impressive.
that the great Alex Steinweiss was the creator of the basic design for
a budget label like Don Gabor's Remington LP records. He did this from
1952 on, till about 1958 when the Remington label ceased to exist. By
doing this he added to the importance of the label and made Remington
records easily recognizable. His basic concept had to be filled in by
other artists and designers as well. He gave them enough freedom to
express their own artistry.
Rudolf A. Bruil
- Page first published, September 2001 - and updated since.
All covers from my private record collection, except Plymouth P-12-113..
On Sunday, July
17th, 2011, the media reported that Alex Steinweiss had died at the
age of 94 in Sarasota, Florida, where he had lived already for many
Steinweiss' Obituary - Steven Heller's Article in New York Times of
July 20, 2011.