Book Review – Extraordinary Records

An Ode to Great Album Art

I started a new feature, for my blog, in May of 2022 with posts about “Colored Vinyl“. I’ll be adding Picture Disc posts later on but I thought this would be a good time to review one of my favorite books. Taschen’s latest is a celebration of great album art, of the designs that helped define some of the most iconic artists of all time.

But this isn’t just about the sleeves these records came in; it’s about the albums themselves, which also served as an important canvas. I purchased my book from A Capella Books in Little Five Points in Atlanta, Georgia during their moving sale. They are now open in Inman Park.

Produced in collaboration with Colors magazine[1], it brings together over 500 remarkable records from the collection of Alessandro Benedetti[2] and Peter Bastine[3]. Alessandro is the Guinness Book of World Records holder of the largest collection of colored vinyl records.

The book forms a junction between photography, music, and design, celebrating vinyl not only for the integrity of the sound recording but also for its artistic potential as a material form.

With featured artists including Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Prince, Michael Jackson, ABBA, and beyond, it offers compelling insight into the most intricate details of a performer’s visual identity, from a flamboyant color to a futuristic mirror effect.

The discs are arranged thematically to span monochrome vinyl; unusual vinyl (including silver, gold, or mirror vinyl as well as extremely rare glow-in-the-dark vinyl); multicolored vinyl; etched vinyl (where music is pressed onto only one side); shaped vinyl (cut into forms that are different from the classic round disc);

and picture discs (where a photograph or design is stamped onto the surface of the record). Page after page, this kaleidoscopic encyclopedia of game-changing vinyl is a colorful journey through era-defining records and artists.

The book is published by Taschen (ISBN: 9783836559355) with 608 heavy, glossy pages. The introduction is by Italian producer and songwriter Giorgio Moroder who helped create electronic dance music and has worked with Donna Summer,

David Bowie, Janet Jackson, Barbra Streisand, and many others. He also founded Musicland Studios in Munich, once used by legendary acts like Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Elton John.



Footnotes
  1. Colors is a quarterly magazine about ‘the rest of the world’ funded by the Benetton clothing company. Founded in 1991 “as a way of communicating the intelligence of the Benetton brand to an extremely sophisticated consumer”,[1] it is published worldwide in six editions: Chinese/English, French/English, Italian/English, Korean/English, Portuguese/English, and Spanish/English. Every issue of the magazine takes a single theme and covers it from an international perspective. It is produced at the Fabrica research center in Treviso, Italy.
  2. Alessandro Benedetti (Italy) has collected 1,507 different colored vinyl records, as of 9 March 2010. His collection is made up of 1,302 LPs (998 colored and 158 with pictures), 321 singles (304 colored, 17 with pictures), and 30 in unusual shapes. Mr. Benedetti is the author of the book ‘Extraordinary Records’ which deals with the history of colored vinyl records. The book also includes photographs of the majority of his collection.
  3. Peter Bastine has been a DJ, record seller, and concert organizer. From 1977 until 1998 he collected every kind of picture disc; since then, mostly historical 78rpm records. Today his collection comprises around 8,000 picture discs and has been the subject of several European exhibitions.

Sources

A Cappella Books
Just Fun Facts
Waterstones
Amazon.com


Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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