Turntables & Vinyl #24 – Interactive Album Covers

It is Thanksgiving 2020 and dang what a crazy year it has been. One thing I have found to give me peace and help deal with stress during this Covid impacted world is my vinyl collection. I am of course thankful for my health and my family as that is a given, but since this is a music site, I need to tie in music somehow, I am also thankful for my vinyl collection. It brings me great joy. To be able to pull out an album and play it and it might help my mood brings me great satisfaction. There are so many things I love about it.

One of the things I love about vinyl is that occasionally you find an album cover that is interactive in some way. Something about the picture can be manipulated, changed or just turned to a different angle for a dramatically different picture. This makes for the most fun and enjoyable album experience. For this version of Turntables & Vinyl, we are going to explore those I have in my collection and maybe one I want to get in the future. I will break it out in to different categories. And let’s get right in to the first category…

Perspective

Some album covers have a cover that changes the look of the cover strictly from the perspective of how you are looking at it. A changing perspective is actually a good thing to have in life as well. We change our perspective on the world depending on how we look at it. Why not take that ability and turn it in to an album cover. A couple I have in my collection do just that.

Def Leppard – ‘Retro Active’: This album cover looks different depending on the position you hold it. Up close, it is a beautifully lady sitting in front of a mirror doing make-up. From far away it is a Skull. See what I mean below…Look at the picture closely on your screen and see the girl, pull the screen away from you (or sit further back) and you will see the skull.

Kiss – ‘Psycho Circus’: The Psycho Circus album changes pictures based on the how you move the album back and forth in your hand and the angle you are looking at the picture. The album features a lenticular cover which alternates between a black Kiss logo and the album title with pictures of a clown and the band members.

Stone Temple Pilots – ‘Live 2018’: The Stone Temple Pilots Record Store Day release of their live album had another way to change your perspective of the album cover. They made a 3-D cover and label as well. Thankfully they included a set of 3-D glasses with the album otherwise it would have been a pointless exercise. Now I can’t take a picture in 3-D so you will have to take my word for this one.

Physically Interactive

We physically interact with the world by going out and being a part of it. How we do things in real life can forever change how the world behaves and looks. That can be used on albums as well. Physically Interactive covers are what I consider ones that have a moving piece that you can change the look of the cover. It can be as simple as an insert turned around, a spinning disc, or opening the flaps to give you a different picture. It could be anything really. Three examples I have are as follows:

Led Zeppelin – ‘Physical Graffiti’: This album has the windows of the building cut out. There is an insert that is wrapping the albums that can either spell out the album name on one side or just leave plain empty windows all depending on how you insert it in to the cover.

Led Zeppelin – ‘III’: This album has a spinning disc attached under the cover that you can actually spin. As you spin it, you can change the circle cut outs on the cover to be different pictures. You can have different band member faces or whatever other objects are on the disc. You can constantly change the image.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer – ‘Brain Salad Surgery’: The ELP album has an interactive flap that you can open to reveal an entirely new picture. Now when you put it back in its protect sleeve, it will always be the main album cover, but when you are playing the album you can play with the cover.

The Rolling Stones – ‘Sticky Fingers’: This Stones album actually comes with a working zipper. That is right, if you wanted to get in to Jaggers pants, now you can. I little zip action will let you wants behind those black jeans. Okay, not really, but still a cool interactive piece.

Construction

We build things in real life that fit our needs. So why not have an album cover that will build something that fits the theme of the album. These covers are probably the most interactive as you can actually make something out of the cover. It is total genius and shows so much creativity. I love how much time must have gone in to the design of this type of cover.

Alice Cooper – ‘School’s Out’: This cover is totally brilliant. For an album called ‘School’s Out’, why not have the cover turn in to a school desk!! The front cover has a liftable flap like a desktop. The back folds out to make it stand up like a desk.

Deconstruction:

We destroy things in the real world so why not destroy an album cover. There is one album that I would categorize as deconstruction. The reason being is that if you play with the piece that is interactive, you can change the image of the album cover permanently. You basically destroy the original album cover that was originally intended to create the other album cover that was intended. It is pretty cool.

The Velvet Underground & Nico: This album was designed by Andy Warhol and it is simply a banana. Not just a banana though. It is a sticker. You can remove that sticker, but if you do, the album cover is now changed forever (and the value goes way down). It is the intact sticker that holds the value of this album. I have seen numerous ones without the sticker and some with the sticker removed only partially, but the price is prohibitive if the sticker is still intact. And I actually do not own this one…yet.

I could go on and on with different examples of each of the types that I list above, but you get the idea. And I am sure there are albums that are virtually interactive where you can scan something and then go on line, but that is not the point. The point is to interact live with the physical product only and not virtual.

Now I want this to be an interactive post so tell me what albums you have that are interactive and where would you classify them in my categories. I am interested in knowing what else I need to go after. So…what do you got?

And Happy Thanksgiving! May this post find you safe and sound! There is one more thing I am thankful for and that is you! Without you coming to my site as often as you do, I would not be able to continue doing what I love and that is bringing music to you. So thank you!!

42 thoughts on “Turntables & Vinyl #24 – Interactive Album Covers

  1. You had me at the Retro Active album (two years ago, I thought the album cover was a pic of a skull too). But I never knew about the interactive Led Zeppelin album covers. It took me a while to see the effect on the Led Zeppelin III album cover, but I caught it after doing a double take!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Just last night during one of my many live streams (lol), I was telling my buddy Bill about how the inner sleeve for In Through The Out Door changes colour when you dampen it. Mine was already done, but he had one that was still black and white. So, he tried it out right there. And it worked! Sort of. It’s about an hour in:

    Liked by 3 people

  3. That Leppard is cool. I always liked that one and the Zep one’ was cool. I recall my brother had a Tool CD that had the cover as well. I won’t tell you what the image was like it’s too early here for that stuff but it was impressive what Tool did when you tilted the cover lol

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Right in my wheelhouse, this post.
    Obviously for reasons of delicacy you didn’t mention the paper panties that came with ‘School’s Out’. And the inimitable Alice also did some cardboard magic with ‘Muscle of Love’. Then there’s the mirror on Uriah Heep’s ‘Look at yourself’. And probably the LP I crave the most, Bob Marley’s ‘Catch a Fire’ with the Zippo lighter cover.
    Fabulous stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Awesome examples, I love how LPs are tactile, and some folks do it up right! I don’t know how the LPs are set up, but I know that Tool does some great cever art. Remember the one with the lenses built in? Trippy cool.

    Liked by 2 people

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