When the 331/3 RPM records started to emerge in the 1950’s, the covers became a huge part of the marketing process. Since most of the musicians were on tour, recording, or appearing on TV; it was up to the art department to find inspiration from the song that was the hit. It was the decade of Rock n’ Roll.
As the 1960’s came with a new wave of artists from the other side of the pond, the strategy changed. No more were drawings and oil paintings used to make the album covers. It was the teenagers who wanted to see their idols placated on the cover. Everyone from Elvis to the Beatles, and later, Prince, Nirvana and much more.
Ah! Not so fast; it was not just their faces but what they did every day. So photos appeared of the idol or the band eating, reading, running, driving…whatever made them “normal” like any other human. But when it came to their homes, it was not the house being showcased, but the swimming pools instead.
The Mamas and The Papas
Denny, Cass, Michelle and John met in the Virgin Islands in late 1963. Later, they became The Mamas and The Papas. This photo, taken by Guy Webster in 1967, did not make it to the cover of their third album “Deliver”.
In the summer of 1964, Bob Dylan was the king of Folk music. To celebrate his musical status, he spent it at his manager’s home in Bearsville, NY. In this photo, Dylan (in sunglasses) is with fellow musician Bob Neuwirth.
From the king of Folk to the King of Rock, here is Elvis Presley swimming in a half-full, recently constructed pool at his parents’ home in Audubon Drive, Memphis, TN. Photo by Alfred Wertheimer.
Wham! There’s a young George Michael enjoying the sun and the pool. A collector of many homes around the world, it would be Highgrove his main home, and where he would relax when he was not on tour.
Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana were at a photo shoot at a scuba diving school in North Hollywood, California. At the time, none of them owned a pool, nor a home. It would take less than three months for this group to remove Michael Jackson off the charts and claim the #1 spot for their album “Nevermind”. All it took was a 4-month old baby and a swimming pool.
Like George Michael, Prince was also a collector of homes that ranged from his Paisley Park compound in Minnesota, to this beautiful residence in Costa del Sol, Spain. The pool surrounds all the back area of the mansion. All you had to do was to take one step, and you’re in.
In their first triumphant visit to the USA, the Beatles stopped by Miami Beach to do their second appearance on Ed Sullivan. Photographer John Loengard took the original photo in black and white for Life magazine. It didn’t make the cover until the 20th anniversary of their first US visit, and this time, colorized by the photographer who captured the Fab Four in a very cold pool.