Sometimes you look at something you own afresh and it suddenly strikes you as more than an object, but as a special little piece of history. This CBS LP sleeve from the late 1960s for example. I love it.
There’s something wonderful about the blurb, in retrospect a messy mix of innocence and bluster –
“Every album is a show in itself”… “Everything’s on long-playing records these days…”
This slightly uncomfortable tone is an example of a very 1960’s stylistic tension, as the copywriter attempts to get the message across in a way that bridges the more formal language of the preceding years and the looser, more relaxed style of the current decade. It’s a struggle the writer can’t quite win, as the slightly patronising informative elements jar too obviously with the effort to sound at once wise and cool:
“They’ll give you hours of continuous and uninterrupted listening pleasure. Just stack them up on your automatic changer and relax.”
Thanks for telling me what to do and how to behave CBS.
“THEY MAKE A GREAT GIFT because everybody you know loves music. And everyone owns a record player because it’s the musical instrument everyone knows how to play. Records are gifts that say a lot to the person you’re giving them to. And they keep on remembering.
And remember…It always happens first on records.”
The casual truisms here are great – ‘we know you, record buying public, oh yes, we understand, we do, us groovy hep cats in the publicity office.
You’d never get away with that kind of thing now – patronise consumers too obviously and you’ll be tweeted and snarked about in an instant. Although the fake matey-fluffiness that stems from the likes of Innocent gets pretty close.
But as an object this sleeve is a genuine piece of history, and in it’s own stiff way the copy is right about one thing: “Record albums are never out of place. Because of the aesthetic appeal of the jacket design, they’re beautifully at home in any living room or library…”
Can’t say that about the heavily compressed tracks you’ve borrowed from the cloud, which, unlike your LP, ultimately belong to a faceless corporation somewhere else.