There are many egos in Rock ‘N Roll…you’ll have trouble finding anyone who would disagree. If there’s one way to prove it…it’s the product of those creative juices…
Back to a time when an LP was record industry standard, and they were actually selling as a collection of songs in one neat little package with some gnarly cover art and a vinyl disc which you could hold in your very own hands….
A 12 inch LP would play for 45 minutes of music split onto two sides…a 10 inch would play for a maximum of 35 minutes again divided by 2. For guys like Jimmy Page…Roger Waters……Billy Corgan…Dave Grohl…Pete Townsend and Keith Richards… there have been times when 45 minutes just hasn’t been enough for the music they’d like to share.
Egos get in the way of everything…and in the case of the DOUBLE LP…we’re cool with it.
For 5 @ 5 today, we’ll go through some of those classic LPS that are on every Rolling Stone list out there, meant to be listened to in one-sitting front-to-back, often with a story to tell. Let’s also take a look at two of those double records celebrating an anniversary this week.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland – October 1968
The album art was too controversial for many, which is why when you hear this record’s name you probably think of a far-out, trippy picture of Jimi Hendrix himself on the cover.
The models below were paid 5 pounds each to participate in the shoot, and another 5 pounds if they were willing to appear completely naked…looks like most of them made 1o pounds.
Here’s how the album cover got banned from record stores, according to Ultimate Classic Rock:
In November 1968, a handful of British record stores banned the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s new album from their shelves due to its cover art. The unusual thing is, Hendrix probably hated the Electric Ladyland photograph in question even more than those retailers did.
Saying the unflattering image of 19 naked women, which you can see here in all its NSFW glory, had “nothing to do with him,” Hendrix immediately made it pretty clear that his U.K. label, Track Records, was behind the artwork.
“Folks in Britain are kicking against the cover. Man, I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t have put this picture on the sleeve myself, but it wasn’t my decision. It’s mostly all bulls—.”
According to John Perry’s Electric Ladyland book, while Hendrix was otherwise occupied overseas, label boss Chris Stamp sent a photographer to a local speakeasy and offered the girls £5 to appear topless (or 10 to go fully nude) for the photo shoot.
Nobody involved seemed particularly impressed with the final results. As one of the models, Reine Sutcliffe, told Melody Maker, “It makes us look like a load of old tarts. It’s rotten. Everyone looked great, but the picture makes us look old and tired. We were trying to look too sexy, but it didn’t work out.”
The idea, of course, was to generate publicity, but as Perry points out, the ban was limited to “a few provincial record ships in York, Hull and Bristol,” and their decision sparked only minor coverage in the country’s tabloid papers. Besides, Electric Ladyland was one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the year and needed no help selling in large numbers.
The incident prompted Hendrix to write an extremely passionate and detailed letter — complete with sketches like the one below — to his American record label, explaining exactly how he wanted the Electric Ladyland art to look when they released it. They rejected his request, instead choosing the now famous red and yellow close-up of the guitarist’s face for the cover, and relegating most of the photographs he sent them to the inside panels.
With a mix of rock, blues, jazz, soul, funk and folk on one record, a few extra minutes was a good thing for Jimi.
The Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness – October 1995
This record came out this week in 1995, after Siamese Dream was almost a double-album. Billy Corgan & co could do whatever they wanted at the peak of their success. They had a huge fanbase thanks to the success of that record and heavy play on MTV. So, the band came out of the summer of 1995 with 28 songs, all of which they decided belonged on one record. Also noteable, this is the last record featuring the ORIGINAL Smashing Pumpkins line-up.
Corgan told the Chicago Tribune that it was a record that was written for people between the ages of 14 and 24 because “that’s the age group that’s really listening.” He added, “It will be totally misunderstood by the plus-30-year-old rock critics. I’m not writing it for them, even though I’m on the edge of losing my connection to youth, as is anyone entering their late 20s, and you’ve got a house, you get married and the things that are important in your life begin to change. But I wanted to communicate from the edge of it, an echo back to the generation that’s coming, to sum up all the things I felt as a youth but was never able to voice articulately. I’m waving goodbye to me in the rearview mirror. Tying a knot around my youth and putting it under the bed.”
Corgan was committed to seeing the idea of the double album through to its conclusion and making it the best it could be, despite being aware of the track record of double albums being successes. He told the Chicago Tribune, “If you do something as ambitious as a double record and it doesn’t sell, it will be viewed as an artistic failure. And I will not have that hanging around my neck. If is considered a failure, it’s time for this band to be gone. It’s 1995, it’s a media driven world and I’m sorry, I’m not going to have everything this band does cast in the shadow of this big failure.”
This album has left such a lasting impression on those young-kids, some of them being boys in Tokyo Police Club, that they named their album after it…
Feel free to get some ideas for requests from other double albums or double-disc releases over HERE