If you don't read this blog regularly then you may not know that one of my (semi-guilty) pleasures is 80s music. Yes, whenever the mood strikes (and it strikes a lot) I load up the ole iPod and enjoy the music that provided the soundtrack to the decade of Pac-Man, Pee-Wee Herman and parachute pants. That decade of rubber bracelets, Rubik’s cube, and Reaganomics.
One problem though. You can use your iPod to listen to music, but it can't provide the experience of picking up your old 45s and enjoying the original sleeve artwork while you listen.
That problem has been solved somewhat by Matthew Chojnacki's Put the Needle on the Record, a 272 page book celebrating the artwork of 45 and 12-inch singles from the 1980s. In addition to the original art, the book provides the visions and stories behind the images and offers plenty of first-hand commentary and other information about the individual recording artists, graphic designers, and art directors involved.
And they're all here. Retrospectives on the cover art for singles by Cindy Lauper, Duran Duran, The Clash, Madonna, Pat Benatar, the B-52's, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and of course, The Smiths (remember all their retro black and white covers?)
It all left me with an uncontrollable urge to go into my closet, dig out my old singles and reminisce. So I did. Still waiting on my copy of Put the Needle on the Record from Amazon, so to whet my appetite, I recently spent time studying the cover art from my personal collection of 45s. Here are a few faves:
Quintessential 80s chick Patti Smyth was pouty on the cover of Scandal's "Beat of a Heart".
The artwork for ABC's "Be Near Me" was as stylish as a band itself.
The "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" cover superimposed the Pet Shop Boys with an old photograph of blue-eyed soul soul legend Dusty Springfield.
It was a huge collaboration that created a smash hit single, but the cover shot of Sir Paul and MJ looks pretty amateurish and informal -- like it was hastily taken just outside the recording studio.
Madonna plays peek-a-boo on this original pressing of "True Blue", which was a limited edition single issued on blue vinyl.
Dan Hartman's "I Can Dream About You" from 1984's Streets of Fire used the same graphic art as the movie poster.