Category Archives: Back Covers

Back Covers: Vandenberg- 2020

So glad to report that Vandenbergs first new studio release since 1985 is one fine return to hard-rock form from the fella named Adrian whose band sports his last name that being Vandenberg.

Pete from the fantastic Destroyer of Harmony blog site was the first guy to post that it was a solid album. I took his bait and bought it off iTunes.

I was blown away at how good this record is. I did review upon its release a few weeks back. 

My daughter Kylee for Father’s Day gave me a gift card from Amazon. One purchase I made from that gift card was Priest Live. The second purchase was the 2020 album from Vandenberg.

For starter’s the price was right. $20 Canadian which was a steal. (I’ll explain later) The other was I really don’t buy anything new in a physical product by bands. The last new release I bought was the last Monster Truck album (True Rockers)which I purchased at the Truckers show when they came through Tbay last year.

In other words, I’m a retro rock kind of guy.

2020 is a cool back cover. I like how they did the credits for the album like a movie poster. Remember those?

Simple yet effective. Also included was a download card for the album which was cool and since I already bought 2020 on iTunes I sent Mikey the code so he can listen to it. That’s if he ever gets through his Loudness Box Sets. lol

Another cool feature was this pictured below.

Red Vinyl! Very slick looking.

Remember how I said I got this record for $20 Canadian. Well after I purchased it I checked back the next day and copies of this album we’re going between $47 and $63 Canadian through second-party sellers.

 

Back Covers: Alice Cooper-Constrictor (1986)

 

Alice Cooper really came onto my radar back in 1986 when the Coop released the video The Man Behind The Mask which was the tune that was plugging the Friday The  13th  horror movies that seemed to come out every 6 months back then. 

I didn’t care for the movie but the song intrigued me as MuchMusic actually had it on their rotation at the time.  

Cooper I knew had released many albums before this one but he was off of my radar and the movie tune piqued my curiosity so much so that when Alice released his Constrictor album I was onboard.

For many in 86, Constrictor was the return of Alice for me it was my introduction to the music of Coop. I bought a few new releases on cassette tape that year and Constrictor was one of them. Love the cover for it.

It was a good listen in the Walkman at the time when riding my bike around or walking to school. The production was handled by Beau Hill who I knew from seeing his name on the back of the records he produced for RATT.

Even the song titles are 1986. Thrill My Gorilla or how about Trick Bag.  Need I say more? Kane Roberts the Rambo looking dude on Guitar did a bunch of co-writes with Alice on this album and look who is slapping Da Bass. The one and only KIP WINGER!

Yep, before the Winger song “17” went up the charts a few years later in 89 Kip was learning the ropes with the Coop! A pretty good education in rock don’t you think?

A few months back I posted a BackCovers post on Mellencamp’s Scarecrow album that had all the lyrics printed on the back cover which I thought was a brilliant move as I had no idea until I picked up  Scarecrow used on vinyl last year.

Coop follows that path as well. It looks like a continuation of the front cover which would have made a pretty cool gatefold.

Constrictor albeit its tinny sound on the production is a fun listen in 2020. Good on the Coop whose career took off back in 86 and is still going strong in 2020!

 

 

 

 

Backcovers: KISS- Asylum (1985)

Fellow Blogger Pal and extreme Movie Buff the one and only Buried On Mars commented on my review of KISS Asylum a few months back about the attire of one Paul Stanley. 

Take it away Mr Mars…

“Cowboy boots and chest hair! That back cover needs a full post!”

This one’s for you Pal,

Bernard Vidal did the photography shots for the record so as you see the back cover shot had been altered. Somebody at Mercury records back in the mid-’80s had some crayons lying around and decided to glam up the back cover picture of the band.

Let’s diagnose each KISS guy starting from the left working our way right.

Shall we,

Bruce Kulick is looking not too bad in a 1985 kinda way. Nice rock attire. Unlike the front cover, they left the red off of his lips to man him up a bit on the back cover which is good. 

Gene Simmons looks like the Demon should. Wearing black and doing the pose. Mean Gene loses points for the added red on his lips.

Paul Stanley is a fashion disaster here. Look at him, man!Mr. Mars said Cowboy Boots and Chest Hair. Blue boots. Green Pants with god knows what on them. The half shrunk sized Pink T-shirt with the sunglasses hanging down. Yikes. I guess with him and Simmons being the leaders I guess they wanted the extra red added to there lips. Holy moly Paul. Were you sober at the time?

Eric Carr took one look at Paul and thought “Nope” not going there which in turn was the smartest decision one could have made that day back in 1985. 

Kinda funny looking at this pic and thinking that the two hired guns in the band (Kulick and Carr) had better dress attire than the Starchild.

Simmons, your safe this time!

 

Back Covers: Judas Priest- Unleashed In The East(1979)

Judas Priest’s Unleashed In The East was the first-ever Priest album I bought sometime in early 1980.  Live Live Live so they said but others called it Unleashed In The Studio. Who friggin cares man!

I love this album and so should you. Nine songs.  Two of which are covers but Priest, Cheap Trick with the Budokan and KISS with Alive are the three bands I had purchased that the first albums I ever owned of them are live.

Kinda cool.

1980 I was 13 and talk about a back cover Impact Shot. Fin Costello captures Priest’s live in the act. Rob Halford on his Harley while the twin ax duo of Glenn Tipton and KK Downing have the rock pose down while Bassist Ian Hill was the first Metal Dude I ever saw sporting a beard.

How about the er…drummer? How come no picture of Les Binks who totally demolished his drums on this recording and is I think the best drummer Priest ever had is not shown?

Simple answer really folks as Binks was out of the band at that point. Priest was drummerless when this picture was taken in a studio (not a live shot..fooled you’s!).

What Priest did was set the drums up and pump up the fog machine. Kind of a brilliant sneaky move if you ask me as Judas Priest was starting to make inroads in the North American market so they had to look like a unit!

So with the front and back cover shots taken in a studio and supposedly the album recorded in the studio with an audience added does it matter in my world?

Nope couldn’t care less as this album is stellar I mean look at those song titles. Ripper/Sinner/Genocide/Tyrant. Those alone will kick your ass!

Back Covers: Coney Hatch (1982)

Since the mighty Can Rock act Coney Hatch is playing this sleepy northern town tomorrow night (November23rd) I thought why not do a Back-Cover feature on what I would consider a ‘Classic’  album!

This self-titled debut came out in 1982 and I think if memory serves me correct I had read about Coney Hatch and seen the adds for the self-titled release in the Canadian Magazine ‘Music Express’ which always featured a bunch of Candian Artists as well as International Artists. Thanks to Music Express I was kept in the loop on what was going on in Canada.

Back in 1982, I was 15 really into Hard Rock. When I seen the back cover photo of the band (courtesy of David Street) I was hooked as here are four young Rock Guys( Dave Ketchum/Andy Curran/Carl Dixon/Steve Shelski) who had the look and by the time I got through the album, Coney had the songs as well.

A pretty simple shot but it’s effective. You get the gist that if a picture could say 1000 words this would be one of them.  Plus with song titles like Devils Deck/Victim of Rock/I’ll Do The Talkin/Stand Up you know this 40-minute slab of vinyl will kick your ass!

It did!

From there I purchased anything and everything Coney Hatch put out after that. Outta Hand (1983) Friction (1985) and Four(2012) are all solid additions to anyone’s music collection

Looking forward to Finally checking out  Coney 2019 Live with Sean Kelly/Carl/Dave and Andy after waiting oh for what? Three and a half decades!

Better late than never they say!

 

 

 

Back Covers: AC/DC: Powerage(1978)

Some pretty cool Back Covers I have done, but one of my personal favorites is this one of AC/DC taken by Jim Houghton back in 1978!

We all know how fantastic this album is but take a look at these guys

AC/DC is here Folk’s! I love how Angus Young is upfront and center while the late great Bon Scott is peaking over Angus’ shoulder with Bon giving a total sinister smirk!

Phil Rudd to Bon’s right looks somewhat amused by the shenanigans of  Angus and Bon. New Bass guy at the time Cliff Williams has his back against the wall while the King of Rythm Guitar Riffs Malcolm Young stands off to the side.

Such a simple but very effective back cover photo along with those 9 song titles from Powerage that alone will kick your ass!

Back Covers: John Cougar Mellencamp-Scarecrow(1985)

Scarecrow was a one big rock album back in 1985 even into 1986 as John Cougar Mellencamp on this being his 8th studio release had seven singles released from the Scarecrow’s 11 songs!

Gotta love the 80’s! More is More!

LET’S STEP BACK IN TIME… JCM was an interesting artist to me in the ’80s. I knew of John as he was only known as John Cougar when John opened for KISS in Duluth Minnesota back in October of 1979 a show in which I attended and as well had a couple of firsts for me!

Those ‘First’s’ being…

1-My First ever concert!

2- First time seeing an artist get royally booed throughout there opening set.

Sorry, John. Duluth was expecting Judas Priest who was advertised as ‘The Special Guest’ but canceled. All set long it rained boo’s until he announced the last song in which he got a ‘mock cheer’. A tough crowd in Duluth man! What a show to see as a 12-year-old!

Not that John let that night in Duluth deter him. No folks John soldiered on of course had a huge run of hit songs starting of course with Jack and Diane and Hurts So Good from his American Fool album in 1982.

At the time I didn’t bite on John Cougar. Why I have no idea as his music was even played on our local shitty radio station here in Thunder Bay.

I still couldn’t be bothered. My buddy Muc though loved John’s 1983 release Uh-huh which had Pink Houses and the real cool Authority Song! I still didn’t take the bait that John was serving musically even though it was Rockin.

I couldn’t do it until…John becomes John Cougar Mellencamp and viola unleashes Scarecrow in August of 1985 and with Myself/Muc/Tbone and countless others entering Grade 12 Scarecrow was everywhere.

Lot’s of my friends were going on about how great Scarecrow as the album was and such.  Hell, we had a pal back in High School who loved this album so much, we called him Scarecrow. The funny thing was he was tall and lanky so he fit the bill as a Scarecrow!

Even after all this hype I still didn’t get it until…

I think it was the summer of 1986 and I finally caved and bought Scarecrow on cassette tape for my good old trusty Walkman. With it being on cassette of course on the inside of the tape there were no credits. Nothing! It was blank.

FAST FORWARD TO THE PRESENT!

On my last few recent record jaunts to my fav-o place for used vinyl in Thunder Bay (Moon Money Vintage), I noticed Scarecrow in the bins. I kept passing it by yet every time I went back and it was still there. After lots of consideration, I finally decided to pick it up and flip it over and…

LOOK AT THE BACK COVER! GOSH DARN IT...what a brilliant concept!

All the info you need is on the back cover! Band picture! Song titles! You even get the date and times when the songs were recorded for the album. I had no idea!

This is one cool back cover. You have to admit even if you are not a fan of Mellencamp you gotta hand it to him as this was a pretty creative idea.

Out of all the albums I have ever owned whether it was 30 odd years ago or the records that I have currently picked up this is a great concept! To get a better look, just click the picture at the top! All black in white, total standout!

Awesome stuff! I like the fact that back in 1985 it was available on Record/Cassette and CD! Compact Disc?? This was 3 years before I even started buying CD’s which I didn’t start doing until later on in the Spring of 1988!

Creative Cougar was pulling out all the stops on this release! I will say this back cover would fall under the category of simple yet effective!

Well played Little Bastard!

Back Covers: Iron Maiden: Somewhere In Time(1986)

So I guess for me one of the Greatest Back Covers of all time would have to go to the ‘MIGHTY’ IRON MAIDEN and to the man who drew up the fabulous Back Cover as well as Front Cover the one and only Derek Riggs!

Riggs what I can I say other than the fact that he basically had me staring at Maiden Covers back in the 1980’s when I attended High School whereas I should have been doing Homework!

Job well done Mr Riggs in the form of Distraction!

Maiden’s brilliant release of Somewhere In Time was released towards the end of September 1986 so basically Maiden and the artwork took over my life for a few days as Maiden was priority and school work wasn’t! Well not quite true. I still got my assignments finished but look at this album. Every time I looked at it I would notice some other image that Riggs had drawn that I hadn’t noticed the previous hour when I last looked at it!

Riggs, man you messed me up to say the least! haha

Seriously though this is the Back Cover for me and probably for a lot of other Maiden fans  as well! Perhaps not for Riggs though as he explain’s below.

It wore me out quite severely,” Riggs states in Martin Popoff’s book Run For Cover: The Art Of Derek Riggs. “I was living in London at the time, and working on that for two months, and it took three months in all – I just had to stop, because I had enough. It got into my head and I just couldn’t see anything else. I couldn’t think about anything else. It did my head in, because there’re all these little details.”

So if you Google search the artwork for this album you will find that there are  a few articles claiming anywhere between 21 and 39 hidden references pertaining to the Front and Back Cover of the album.

No wonder Riggs lost his marbles on this album,

It’s almost like back than in 86 as there was no internet to read about or article’s for that matter to talk about this detailed album artwork you had to really check it out carefully for yourself.

The thing I love about this artwork  is the whole futuristic Blade Runner   Eddie that Riggs ran with  on the front cover but I still recall the trigger point for me to realize that this drawing  was going to feature a ton of Maiden references was the fact that Derek drew on the back cover  the Maiden guys with Bruce Dickinson holding a brain! Ah….Piece of Mind. 

From that point on I was Hooked! I started staring at all the images drawn on an album cover. All the little hidden detail’s involved like the Ace’s High Bar/L’Amours Bar(which I read in magazines as go to spot for bands when in NYC) Icarus/ Ancient Mariner Bar/Phantom of the Opera House. That’s just a couple I’m posting as there are many but one of my faves that Riggs put down was 23:58 meaning Two Minutes To Midnight! 

To be honest there were more than  a few I  missed and it wasn’t until I started searching for this post that I figured out the rest! Kudos to Mr Riggs for stumping this Fella for 33 Years! Talk about Wasted Years! haha…

So if you have a vinyl copy of Somewhere in Time kicking about do grab and take another look-see at it as I bet you see something you have been missing all this time!

If you only  have a CD copy of Somewhere In Time. Grab a magnifying glass so you don’t go cross-eyed!

What a detailed piece of Artwork and Design. Simply put one of if not the Best of all Time!

All Hail Derek Riggs! (cool first name-just saying !)

 

 

 

 

 

Back Covers: Quiet Riot:Metal Health(1983)

Man, I miss those daze of Yesteryear when every Saturday Morning I would head down to the numerous record stores that Thunder Bay  had here back in the early 80’s and discovering something that yet had yet to be discovered by the masses…

One of those discoveries for me  was indeed Metal Health by Quiet Riot!

For Christmas Time 1982 I received from my  Parents as Xmas Gifts Rush’s Signals and Ozzy Osbourne’s Speak of the Devil albums.

Ozzy of course had Rudy Sarzo slapping and licking the Bass so I knew his name and of course seen Rudy’s Pic in Ozzy’s Diary of a Madman album (Rudy is pictured and listed as the Bass Player on the album but we all know the deal on that) so when I read early in 1983 in Circus Magazine that Rudy split Ozzy and rejoined his old band Quiet Riot(that of course featured the late Randy Rhoads) I was intrigued…

March 1983 and there I am digging through the bins of the New Releases that week at out local Sam The Record Man itching to buy something on that cold March Morning and BAM …

There it is! One copy of Quiet Riot Metal Health! After checking out the cover it was a quick flip over and there is Rudy along with three other dudes of Rock. Carlos Cavazo/Frankie Banali and the Late Kevin Dubrow!

Four Black and White pics. Simple yet effective as here was a new band with their debut record that made it to Tbay and only one copy in the Bin. The end result..

A quick grab-purchase-out the door-home!

I was psyched to get a copy of this back than. A band that hadn’t sold any records yet! A band that hadn’t got much press only for the fact that Sarzo and Rhoads were a part of Ozzy’s Band at one point. A band that in less than a year would be a household name. A band that in less than 4 years later would self destruct…

Still….

A pretty cool little discovery waaaaaaaay back when….

Back Covers: Kick Axe-Vices(1984)

Hey!

Who would have thunk it that Tbone’s back yard in 1984 would be the inspiration for the  Back Cover drawing of the excellent debut slice o vinyl  from Canada’s own Kick Axe.

Course I’m joking about Tbone’s back yard but as goofy as the front cover for this album  is. The back cover is a real slick illustration done by Dario Campanile who makes it look like a barren wasteland.

For those who don’t know the deal that is Kick Axe here’s a short summary. Vices was released in 1984 on Pasha Records in the U.S. Wrote songs for King Kobra and apparently Black Sabbath when Sabbath was rotating lineups quicker than Tbone can holler ‘Scotch!’. Opened for Judas Priest in 84 as well. 1985 released another great record titled Welcome To The Club  toured as well and being the first band ever to play our Community Auditorium back in 1985! 1986 released third album Rock The World which kinda tanked and that was that! Too bad as this debut is excellent! I don’t post vids for this Back Cover series but today the exception is being made! The song Stay On Top is an excellent track from Vices that believe it or not does not have a guitar solo in the song! How many Metal tunes from 1984 can u say that about?  Lead Singer George Criston throws down a very cool vocal..check it out!

The drawing is well done. Simple yet effective and as the 80’s album artwork especially in the form of Metal/Hard Rock albums had to be good to impress our young minds back than(For instance back in 1984 I was 17 years young) as Derek Riggs set the bar very high with those Iron Maiden front and back cover drawings.

Even the band pic’s taken by Sam Emerson fit the bill. Especially the two Gillstrom brothers on the top  far left who dress like they live in a cave by the looks of it from that photo! Brian Gillstrom; Drums and Responsibility as its listed. Haha!

Seriously though it’s a great Back Cover drawing. I also like the fact that they used a quote on the far right from the title track Vices. That line being …

“We all live in our Vices. Were all indulging tonight. It’s just part of this crazy world we like!”

Nuff said!