Friday, April 30, 2010

A Work In Progress ...

As this site is truly a work in progress, I have decided to include some mp3 files of the music contained in the sleeves that I am profiling.

I will attempt to place music files for each act that I am including here, but it might take awhile, so please be patient.

Go through the entries that I have already uploaded and you will find MP3 files of some of this music--both the A and B sides, directly from the record.

I hope that you like this added feature of this site. Let me know your reactions to anything I upload here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Well, here we are with "the group that started it all for us, the Beatles," as was so eloquently said by Michael Nesmith on one of the Monkees' TV episodes.

And although he was probably referring to the debt he and his bandmates owed to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr for the Monkees' existence, he essentially was talking about all of us.

There is not much to add to the story that has been part of every record collectors' consciousness since 1964 (or in England, probably since 1962 or so), so I won't do that here.

I will say that I wish I had more Beatles picture sleeves. I have so many of their singles, but alas, I don't have a heck of a lot of their picture sleeves. Like most kids, I didn't take much care of what I had, so those sleeves have gone onto picture sleeve heaven.

But I do have a lot of sleeves, both from their original Capitol issues and the later, repackaged reissues that Capitol was putting out with a lot of frequency in the 1980s.

So here is what I have. I hope you enjoy them. Most of them are pretty much by the book sleeves, but the Capitol sleeves are more impressive, if you ask me.

They knew what they had, and they ran with it.

And ran with it into the 1990s and beyond. The "Love Me Do" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand" sleeves are reissues. I believe they commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' entrance into our lives.

One way to notice that "Hand" is a reissue is on the original sleeve, Paul was holding a cigarette. He isn't here. I guess Capitol figured he should give up smoking. Of course, "Love Me Do" promoted a new greatest hits compilation, so it was obviously a reissue.

Beatles - Beatles Movie Medley.mp3
Beatles - I'm Happy Just To Dance With You.mp3

Beat Farmers

I bet you thought we would go right into that other Capitol group, but not just yet.

The Beat Farmers were critical faves on the West Coast in the early to mid 1980s, and they were on Rhino Records when that label tried to branch off from oldies-only releases to releasing new material, too.

I don't know what happened to this band, but this was a pretty good record. I think I bought it when I was on my one and only trip to California way back in 1985 or so--I believe I bought it in a Tower Records store there, which might have been in Anaheim or one of the surrounding areas.

Beat Farmers - Bigger Stones.mp3
Beat Farmers - Lonesome Hounds.mp3

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Beach Boys

When I was a kid growing up in Queens, I couldn't get into the Beach Boys at all.

I guess this New York City lad couldn't get into the whole California music scene, with the surf, the cars, the beach and the sand. I just couldn't relate to it, and I couldn't relate to the music.

However, as an adult, I am fully into the Beach Boys and all of those things. I just wish that I would have bought their singles, at least, but I didn't, so even though I have many of their 45s, I only have one with a picture sleeve, and it's one of their later songs. I bought it because it evoked their earlier successes.

Maybe I will one day get lucky, find a couple of their early sleeves, and catch up on everything I missed way back when.

Beach Boys - Getcha Back.mp3

Beach Boys - Male Ego.mp3

Barbi and the Kens

New York City had a burgeoning music scene in the years directly after the punk and new wave explosion of the mid 1970s, and Barbie and the Kens were part of that scene.

This Mini-Lp (actually and extended play disk with four songs) got some airplay on New York stations, and the group's sound is reminiscent of the B52s. Note that the B side includes a cover of the Monkees hit, which is actually mixed with some chords from the Lemon Pipers' "Green Tambourine"!

I don't know what happened to this band after this single, but even today, it's fun to listen to.

Barbi and the Kens - Pay My Bills-Uptown Downtown Cruising.mp3

Barbi and the Kens - Just a Gigolo-I'm Not Your Stepping Stone.mp3


I liked the Bangles. To me, they were the best of the female bands that started to make their musical presence known in the 1980s and early 1990s. I like the Go Gos too, but the Bangles had an edge about them that the Go Gos didn't have.

Here are a few of their picture sleeves that I have. All of these songs were major hits, with the exception of "Hero Takes a Fall," which I believe is really one of their best songs.

Bangles - Hero Takes a Fall.mp3
Bangles - Where Were You When I Needed You.mp3

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Band Aid

During an era when disparate acts got together seemingly on a daily basis to record charity singles, this particular record stands out, in my mind, as probably the best of the lot.

Featuring numerous British hitmakers of the time including Bob Geldof (the organizer of this event) and the Boomtown Rats, George Michael and the previously mentioned Bananarama, "Do They Know It's Christmas" was an international smash, reaching #13 in the U.S. around Christmastime in 1984.

Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas.mp3
Band Aid - Feed the World.mp3


Bananarama is the most successful girl group on the British charts, and this particular single pushed them past the Supremes as the owner of that title.

How ironic, then, that it was a Supremes song--a later hit without Diana Ross--that pushed them to the top! And even more inronically, their version of the song never charted in America, although they had numerous chart hits here in the 1980s.

Bananarama - Nathan Jones.mp3
Bananarama - Once In a Lifetime.mp3

Henry Badowski

I would often go into my local record store and purchased 45s not necesarily because I liked the song or the artist, but because I liked the sleeve or the record label.

Such was the case for this single. I really liked the artists on International Record Syndicate, or IRS, which was the label of the Go Gos, Wall of Voodoo and several others performers that I liked.

So, even though I didn't know who the singer was--and still don't--this is part of my collection. And I also liked the title, too.


Led by Pete Ham, Badfinger was the ill-fated band that was previously known as the Iveys. They were on the Beatles' Apple label, and scored a number of Beatle-ish power pop hits there.

"Baby Blue" is probably my favorite of all the band's tunes. It reached #14 in 1972, and was further noteworthy as it was produced by Todd Rundgren.

Once again, even Apple could come out with a chintzy sleeve. It is the same on both sides, showing little imagination.

Badfinger - Baby Blue.mp3
Badfinger - Flying.mp3


This John Waite-led band had a number of radio-ready hits in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This one, "Back On My Feet Again," reached #33 in 1980.

Babys - Back On My Feet Again.mp3
Babys - Turn Around In Tokyo.mp3

Saturday, April 24, 2010


The Association was a mellow rock group with a solid rock backbone that had many hit singles in the 1960s through the 1980s.

This song, however, was probably their strangest release.

After "Cherish" hit #1 in August 1966, Valiant Records was looking for a solid followup, and also wanted to capitalize on the brief "Along Comes Mary" possible link to drug usage. They found what they wanted with "Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies," one of the lost relics of that era.

Although the title simply referred to a nightclub on the Sunset Strip, the song had enought psychedelia to placate the label's needs. Not taking any chances, they also promoted the flip, "Standing Still."

What they didn't realize was that the backlash was apparent at the get go, and the single only reached #35 around Thanksgiving time in 1966.

Association - Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies.mp3

Association - Standing Still.mp3

Art of Noise Featuring Tom Jones

Tom Jones had not had a hit in many years when he teamed up with the Art of Noise to record this cover version of Prince's tune "Kiss."

Although it was a huge video on MTV, it only reached #31 in 1988. It's one instance where the video had more of an impact than the actual song. You might remember that it was done in James Bond style, and received heavy rotation on the music video station.

Art of Noise Featuring Tom Jones - Kiss.mp3
Art of Noise - E.F.L.mp3

April Wine

April Wine was one of Canada's major hard rock exports during the 1970s and 1980s. Although they were major hitmakers in their own country, they really never reached that level of success in the U.S.

"Just Between You and Me" was their biggest American hit. This early power ballad hit #21 in 1981.

As for the sleeve, it came in two variations: the regular picture sleeve, and a foldout sleeve that featured a poster of the band.

For our purposes here, I have excluded the fold-out poster, because it is just too big for my scanner. But as it says on the sleeve you see here, this was the sleeve with the poster.

April Wine - Just Between You and Me.mp3
April Wine - Big City Girls.mp3


The Animals were one of the hottest acts during the British Invasion. Led by lead singer Eric Burdon and keyboardist Alan Price, the band mixed rhythm and blues, soul, pop and rock (and later, with Burdon before the name, psychedelia) into an appealing mix that spawned numerous hits in the 1960s.

"House of the Rising Sun" was their only chart-topper. This 1964 song took a traditional arrangement and brought it into a new focus. It also was one of the longest songs of the time, in spite of information on the single, which read that it lasted less than three minutes.

The song is actually three minutes, and a masterpiece at that. However, the single version of this song is rarely heard on American radio, as even oldies stations play the unedited version--but what we have here is the single version, and you can hear where it the edit occurs.

The sleeve is the typical American sleeve of the time. When it was obvious what the "hit" side was, labels often simply printed the same thing on the sleeve's front and back, and you can see that here.

Animals - The House of the Rising Sun.mp3
Animals - Talkin' 'Bout You.mp3


Angie was a one-hit wonder in Europe. This young girl recorded "Peppermint Lump" with Pete Townshend, and I think her professional relationship with him helped propel this song to hit status there.

However, after this single, she faded and was never heard from again. This song stands as nothing more than a novelty tune, although it did get lots of airplay in the U.S. because of Townshend's involvement.

Angie - Peppermint Lump.mp3
Angie's Orchestra - Breakfast In Naples.mp3


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