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660532 Posts in 26464 Topics by 3770 Members - Latest Member: robertscool August 07, 2020, 04:59:56 PM
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Author Topic: Celebrating 50 years of "SUNFLOWER":  (Read 1995 times)
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« on: July 06, 2020, 04:33:48 AM »

   S*U*N*F*L*O*W*E*R ~ e', W!   Drinking Buddies  o', L:  F'n  us ...   
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2020, 12:58:32 PM »

My favorite BB album after Friends. Absolutely brilliant in every aspect .
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2020, 05:10:24 AM »

Yep- Great album.  Only thing I would change is the cover.  I get the vibe they were going for, but I think they could have done better.

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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2020, 08:26:11 AM »

Yep- Great album.  Only thing I would change is the cover.  I get the vibe they were going for, but I think they could have done better.

The picture on the Tears in the Morning/It's About Time single looks much better I think. Same setting, different perspective.

I love Brian's material on this record, This Whole World is one of his best ever of course. At My Window is very underrated.
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2020, 09:04:43 AM »

Yep- Great album.  Only thing I would change is the cover.  I get the vibe they were going for, but I think they could have done better.

Agreed. They were so hit or miss when it came to album covers. I think Pet Sounds inadvertently became a great cover because it’s associated with great music - had that same photo been on the cover of Wild Honey I don’t think it would be as well known or iconic. Surf’s Up, Friends, and Summer Days are great covers, can’t really think of any others that blow me away. I do really like the Keepin The Summer Alive artwork, but I’m probably in the minority with that opinion.
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2020, 09:30:18 AM »

Great album covers imho: Surfin' USA, Surfer Girl, All Summer Long, Wild Honey, Holland
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2020, 10:02:03 AM »

Ahh how I could I forget Holland!? Definitely a great one.

Wild Honey is cool too.
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« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2020, 02:12:10 PM »

Yep- Great album.  Only thing I would change is the cover.  I get the vibe they were going for, but I think they could have done better.

Agreed. They were so hit or miss when it came to album covers. I think Pet Sounds inadvertently became a great cover because it’s associated with great music - had that same photo been on the cover of Wild Honey I don’t think it would be as well known or iconic. Surf’s Up, Friends, and Summer Days are great covers, can’t really think of any others that blow me away. I do really like the Keepin The Summer Alive artwork, but I’m probably in the minority with that opinion.
Pet Sound’s Cover is absolutely horrendous.
I actually like the Friends back cover more than the front.
I also oddly like the Summer in Paradise cover
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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2020, 06:19:27 PM »

Pet Sound’s Cover is absolutely horrendous.
I actually like the Friends back cover more than the front.
I also oddly like the Summer in Paradise cover

Just how horrendous is the Pet Sounds cover when it is almost iconic at this point among identifiable rock album covers, various parts of the cover front and back have been copied and replicated on other artists' covers, and even the font used - Cooper black - is often referred to as the "Pet Sounds font"? Hell, I've even had a beer that paid tribute to it on the can!

There's more to it than that on a marketing/pop-psych level, which can be discussed later, but I'm just wondering how bad something truly is or was when both the cover itself and even the font have such a place in pop culture at this point. When you see something reproduced and identified as much as the Pet Sounds cover beyond the hardcore fanbase, it would suggest something far from being horrendous.
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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2020, 11:23:12 PM »

I think the cover of Sunflower represents the contents pretty well; one of their better album covers. The album itself is my absolute favorite; okay, i could live without Dierdre, and Got to Know the Woman is kind of silly, and sort of out of place, but those are minor quibbles. In fact, the run of songs from Tears in the Morning through Cool Cool Water is my favorite on any Beach Boys album.
Holland is an album that gets better with every listen; it didn't knock me out at first.
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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2020, 06:53:15 AM »

Putting on my graphic designer's hat here: In all fairness, the Cooper Black font was ubiquitous in the '60s and '70s. You saw it in magazines, advertising, packaging (yes, PS), TV, and signage. The association with PS has to do with how the album has been so revered in recent years. But the font itself has, and still does, holds its own regard in the design community.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 07:00:55 AM by Emdeeh » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2020, 08:25:12 AM »

I would have loved Sunflower to be a double album, with all the added songs that we've now heard. That would truly have made it their Pepper and White Album in one.
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« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2020, 09:01:30 AM »

Putting on my graphic designer's hat here: In all fairness, the Cooper Black font was ubiquitous in the '60s and '70s. You saw it in magazines, advertising, packaging (yes, PS), TV, and signage. The association with PS has to do with how the album has been so revered in recent years. But the font itself has, and still does, holds its own regard in the design community.

But it became much more common after Pet Sounds - And almost iconic in the late 60's and 70's graphic style, yes. Some sources say it was its use on Pet Sounds that brought a near-dead decades-old font style back into the consciousness at least among other designers if not the general public, and after that it started to appear on other rock/pop album covers and pop culture imagery in print and TV.

Considering some sources may be biased toward Pet Sounds as fans of the album, I say take it with appropriate grains of salt. But considering how there were not many album covers or rock/pop related images which used it before Pet Sounds in '66, then in the years immediately after Pet Sounds it started to show up everywhere after being mostly dormant for decades, I'd say those sources may have a point which needs to be looked at further.

One point I have to ask: As a graphic designer, can you think of another font that has a nickname taken from a rock album? The nickname "Pet Sounds font" or "Beach Boys font" is pretty common to see, and maybe the only other example that generates more demand among music fans not normally into fonts would be the "Bootle", created to mimic the dropped-T band name on Ringo's kick drum head.
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« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2020, 11:56:08 AM »



While I don't think the Pet Sounds cover is "horrendous" (I'm sure the OP was exaggerating), I also don't think there is anything special about the picture or the typeface used on the album cover. While when attached to the Pet Sounds album/music itself this cover has become a staple, but not because of the design on it's own. Had this picture and typeface been used on any other Beach Boys album I think we wouldn't think a thing of it (example of this above).

And I realize the colors, the typeface sizes, and the picture all come into play on the final Pet Sounds cover, but again, I just don't see it as being a unique work of art on its own without the album's amazing music attached to it.

TLDR: the album art is iconic because of the music inside of the album, not because the cover is a great work of art on it's own.
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« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2020, 12:12:31 PM »


While I don't think the Pet Sounds cover is "horrendous" (I'm sure the OP was exaggerating), I also don't think there is anything special about the picture or the typeface used on the album cover. While when attached to the Pet Sounds album/music itself this cover has become a staple, but not because of the design on it's own. Had this picture and typeface been used on any other Beach Boys album I think we wouldn't think a thing of it (example of this above).

And I realize the colors, the typeface sizes, and the picture all come into play on the final Pet Sounds cover, but again, I just don't see it as being a unique work of art on its own without the album's amazing music attached to it.

TLDR: the album art is iconic because of the music inside of the album, not because the cover is a great work of art on it's own.

You could apply the last comment to perhaps 99% or more of all album cover art - The artwork or photography could have been brilliant, standalone works of art, but the delivery system which got it to fans who might not gravitate toward looking at art or photography in a gallery or book format was 100%, no-debate the music contained on the album. Did some people buy albums based solely on the cover? Yes, including me on a few examples. But there would be no art on album covers considered iconic or even considered art without the music itself to deliver it and give it a context. Look at the art for Hotel California, or even Abbey Road...it's a sunset and a band crossing the street. High art? Maybe the sunset...but not four guys crossing a street. Until, that is, you put it with the music contained on the album.

I'm going by some comments and interviews that are circulating as recently as a YouTube feature that was on my newsfeed a few weeks ago about Cooper Black and Pet Sounds. There are more than a few designers and graphic artists who are citing Pet Sounds as an example of an influential and well done cover design and use of lettering and font. If it were just a bunch of fans blowing smoke who are not working graphic designers or artists, I'd say it's just fans talking, but when industry pros cite Pet Sounds as they have done, I'm more inclined to believe what they say in terms of gauging both the quality and influence of that cover design. The back cover, unfortunately, kind of sucks to be blunt...they couldn't even decide on a single font and the photos are scattershot. But the front cover, with the music, has become iconic.

I think a lot of pop art from the 50's and 60's has appeal that needed to reach beyond the work of art itself. I'm a big fan of Warhol's Campbells Soup can series...but if it were some random schmuck displaying his depictions of Campbells Soup cans in a gallery, he'd probably be laughed out of the gallery and forgotten the next month. But because Warhol and his persona and personality was the delivery system for those soup cans, they became iconic in the world of pop art and hang in the most prominent galleries and collections. So without the personality and "fame" of the artists, would it be considered serious art? Or even "good" works of art? I doubt it. So I see the value of the Pet Sounds cover as influential AND as a striking, effective design, but as a standalone photo of the band feeding zoo animals, it would be like the Beatles crossing the street - The context and delivery system of the music which those images are marketing and representing is what makes them influential to this day.
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« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2020, 12:20:53 PM »

Black wasn't even Oswald Cooper's best font...
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« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2020, 12:28:53 PM »

Guitarfool, thank for the detailed reply, I definitely see what you're saying. I'll just rewrite my edit to my last post here: As a graphic designer myself, I would be rightly offended if I were the one who created the Pet Sounds album cover and someone was throwing shade at it LOL I'm not trying to trash it, but in comparison to other album covers that I love I don't think it's great. Iconic it is, so maybe there is something to it, but I do think it's due more to being attached to the music than the cover itself.

Even if you place the same colors, typeface design and picture placement but call it "TODAY!" I just don't see any graphic designers going out of their way to laud the artwork in that case. And yes, both music and artwork go hand-in-hand, but great music has had bad album art and bad music has had great album art. It is all subjective, of course, so I'm not really trying to fight for this point. It's just my opinion that the great music of Pet Sounds is coupled with a cover design that would otherwise be mostly forgotten if it were attached to any other Beach Boys album.
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« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2020, 12:40:57 PM »

What's really iconic about the Pet Sounds cover can all be found in the upper left-hand corner. It's not only the choice of Cooper Black -- it's how the blocks of text are fitted together and the use of color. It's a beautifully stacked block of text as a graphic element, imo. Gotta agree about the back side of the album -- that is kitchen-sink graphics with at least one questionable font choice.

Guitarfool, I'll keep my eyes open for other instances of fonts being identified with bands in a non-logo context.

I've always liked the design of the Sunflower album, with its generous use of white space, subtle punches of color, and seed packet motif. I'd love to see the original art for the cover, but have no idea if it even exists nowadays.

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« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2020, 12:48:08 PM »

What's really iconic about the Pet Sounds cover can all be found in the upper left-hand corner. It's not only the choice of Cooper Black -- it's how the blocks of text are fitted together and the use of color.

I can definitely agree with that.

Actually, I will counter my points above with something I just remembered:



Proves that there is definitely something to the original Pet Sounds artwork. Again, personally I don't think it's anything overly special (there are plenty of album covers I prefer), but it is well designed for what it is (not to mention unique compared to the run-of-the-mill cover shown above).
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« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2020, 10:01:05 PM »

Does anyone have any knowledge of the buried lyrics at the end of 'All I Wanna Do?' if they are printed anywhere? This is what I've got so far but it's realllly hard to hear: "When you get lonely in the night I've come and did it to you. How she gets to me anytime I've come and do it to you. When you get to me in due time I come and do it to you." I know this all can't be right. Any help  with some good extra ears in unraveling this mystery would be greatly appreciated.
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« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2020, 04:56:52 AM »

Does anyone have any knowledge of the buried lyrics at the end of 'All I Wanna Do?' if they are printed anywhere? This is what I've got so far but it's realllly hard to hear: "When you get lonely in the night I've come and did it to you. How she gets to me anytime I've come and do it to you. When you  get to me in due time I come and do it to you." I know this all can't be right. Any help  with some good extra ears in unraveling this mystery would be greatly appreciated.
'Lonely in the night I feel' ...  Then there are overlapping counter vocals.
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« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2020, 08:20:06 AM »

Does anyone have any knowledge of the buried lyrics at the end of 'All I Wanna Do?' if they are printed anywhere? This is what I've got so far but it's realllly hard to hear: "When you get lonely in the night I've come and did it to you. How she gets to me anytime I've come and do it to you. When you  get to me in due time I come and do it to you." I know this all can't be right. Any help  with some good extra ears in unraveling this mystery would be greatly appreciated.
'Lonely in the night I feel' ...  Then there are overlapping counter vocals.
Thanks! I've seen those words online, but that's not what I hear. There's a LOT more there.
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« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2020, 08:57:38 AM »

The line Carl sings is "lonely in the night I call your name". He might be mumbling something after that, can't really tell, but it's the same line repeated each time. Easiest to hear right at the end of the fade.
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« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2020, 10:37:32 AM »

I've never thought the PS album cover was bad.  But then again, I think goats are really cool. 
I think the cover of Keepin the Summer Alive is brilliant.  Had the album itself been better, I think we'd be looking at that cover differently.
Surf's Up and Summer Days, Summer Nights!! are some of my favorite covers.   
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« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2020, 10:46:06 AM »

The line Carl sings is "lonely in the night I call your name". He might be mumbling something after that, can't really tell, but it's the same line repeated each time. Easiest to hear right at the end of the fade.
Thanks for listening! It's strange, but to me it sounds a little different each time. i suppose it COULD be the same line three times, but I hear certain consonants that sound otherwise. I've tried different EQing and speeds but it dang hard to hear!
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