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  • Writer's pictureJohn Carlow

Photographs and songs

Ive always been drawn to record album covers that have stories behind their photographs. I get to find out something about the photographers , how they came to be part of the album creation, the era and indeed more about the band themselves. I was fascinated to find out how some famous record album photographs were actually mistakes, blind luck or even throwaway images. One of these really great stories was about the cover shoot for the first Crosby, Stills and Nash record, shot in 1969 by Henry Diltz.

Atlantic Records sent Diltz and art director Gary Burden to create the album cover. Burden and Graham Nash drove through Hollywood looking for a location. The band wanted something that came across as " comfortable " like their music. They found a little abandoned house with a couch outside of it . It was on Palm Avenue near a Orange Julius stand (no longer there ) The chosen photo presented as a wrap around on the jacket. The bands drummer, Dallas Taylor was added to the photograph later as he had not been part of the original shoot. At the time of the shoot, the band did not have a name , so they didn't think about how they were seated, which was from left to right: Nash, Stills, and Crosby. Once the band decided on the group name of Crosby, Stills & Nash, they went back to re shoot the photo in the proper order, to avoid people being confused. They discovered the building had since been demolished .

I've been fortunate enough to have my photographs used on a few recorded projects, in many formats. As these recordings become part of a bands legacy, so do the photographs in the album art. That makes these experiences very valuable to me. I have these cds, records, cassettes and album liners in a special place. Large or tiny photos, front or back covers and even album liners are all treasured.


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