Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Your Similar Album Covers of the Week - Marketing to Whites

This week we feature two albums from the late 1950s. Both are seminal recordings of the most important and influential black artists of a generation, and both feature white females on their covers. What's wrong with this picture?

It seems that in pre-Civil Rights era America, it was pretty tough to get general white music-listening audience to turn an ear to the "race records" of the time. The solution to this problem was to put pretty young whites on the covers of such records, thus attracting a wider audience of deluded whites, and prompting Miles Davis to ask Columbia Records executive George Avakian "Why'd you put that white bitch on there?" Things soon got better, and subsequent re-releases saw the album covers changed to better reflect the music that was inside. In the following years, Miles and JB were eventually granted creative freedom over their album art, which yielded colorful results. Shit's crazy, though.

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