Rock Moment: Posters (and more) with your LPs!

unmasked_pos

Poster that came with Kiss' "Unmasked" (1980)

I remember running home with a copy of All Things Must Pass tucked under my arm – the Barker’s department store was about three blocks away from my house, and this purchase represented nearly a month’s worth of wages delivering newspapers.  After all, this was worth 14 bucks: George Harrison’s first solo album with not one, not two but three records!  When I unwrapped the elegant box and gently lifted the cover, folded paper fluttered out of the boxtop.  It was a HUGE poster of George!

Yep, back in the days of vinyl LPs you often got yer money’s worth – and more.  Some of the cooler (or not) artists of the day occasionally tucked some surprises inside the album sleeve, more often than not it was a poster.  You’d slip that baby out and unfold it like a gas station map, and your heart would leap as the last flip revealed a gloriously giant artwork ready for your bedroom wall.

Like they did with so many things back then, the Beatles would seem to have pioneered this bit of merchandising.  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, back in 1967, included a cardboard sheet of cutouts including a mustache.  The very next year the Beatles unleashed their eponymous double album (the “White” album) with not only a huge poster with photos on one side and lyrics on the other, but with four handsome color portraits of each band member.dylan_poster

However they weren’t the first – in the spring of 1967, a few months before the release of Sgt. Pepper’s, Columbia Records unleashed the first Greatest Hits album by Bob Dylan.  Issued in the long silence after Dylan’s 1966 motorcycle accident, this Greatest Hits was a dollar more than other albums of its time ($5.98).

A bargain nevertheless, because it included “Positively 4th Street” (a single not on any album up to that time) and a glorious poster of Dylan with trippy multi-colored hair, created by the great Milton Glaser.  If you stared at it long enough, your eyes would start playing tricks on you – even without any chemical help.  A true psychedelic relic, this poster is a collector’s item today.

Harrison poster

George Harrison

Soon other artists would follow suit: Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels soundtrack (1971) would come with a poster for the movie; Stephen Stills’ Manassas (1972) had a poster with photos and a suggestion that if you were 18, you should “use the power” and register to vote.  This dude Freddy who lived down my street had a copy of Alice Cooper’s School’s Out (1972) that had a little pair of paper panties as an inner record sleeve, and Cheech and Chong’s Big Bambu (1972) with some really big rolling papers.  Freddy was never holding enough to fill either of those rolling papers, if you know what I mean.

There are so many others – the Beach Boys’ Endless Summer, John Lennon’s Imagine, the psychedelic “spinner” cover of Led Zeppelin III and the posters that came with all those Kiss albums.  I spent many a night spinning the three discs of All Things Must Pass while George looked out at me wisely and mystically from my bedroom wall.  He sang of things I had never before considered in my young life, and like Dylan, he helped me connect to and deal with a big complicated messy world.  I still have my tattered George Harrison and Bob Dylan posters, and you can’t buy them from me for any fortune.

MP3: “All Things Must Pass” by George Harrison

MP3: “Positively 4th Street” by Bob Dylan

4 Responses to “Rock Moment: Posters (and more) with your LPs!”

  1. dkpresents Says:

    Rolling Stones’ Emotional Rescue came with a huge poster as well…

    Great Post!

  2. Cool site!! May I ask which Barker’s Department Store you are referring to??

  3. 30daysout Says:

    Groves, Texas. Now a HEB supermarket on the site. I think the actual building became some state employment facility, but my memory is fuzzy on that.

  4. Thank you for the reply. I thought that Barkers was only in the San Antonio area. Not to go off topic, but do you know of any other Barkers stores in Texas? I’m trying to locate them state-by-state…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: