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FADE TO BLACK – Hard Rock Cover Art Of The Vinyl Age, by Martin Popoff with Ioannis

| 30 May 2013 | Reply

Capricorn Link Books
Published January 2013
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Fade To Black by Martin Popoff cover

Once upon a time, brothers & sisters, teenagers spent their time scouring record stores for 12 inch slabs of black vinyl containing grooves of some of the most mind blowing, hormone-accelerating music ever made. It was the 60’s, the 70’s and – for this reviewer – the 80’s, and the internet was still a glint in Pete Townshend’s booze-enhanced-and-confused mind.

Sure, here in Australia we could grab an imported copy of Kerrang! Magazine, arriving a month or two late on the slow boat, but apart from that we had only one thing to judge the purchase-worthyness of a new record on: the cover.

My generation and the generation before it grew up loving cover art, especially on a full size record sleeve. Hours were spent poring over the densely layered secrets of Iron Maiden’s Powerslave or Somewhere In Time covers, the epic fantasy of Diamond Head’s Borrowed Time and Molly Hatchet’s self titled debut, or even the seeming simplicity and minimalism of Judas Priest’s British Steel, Van Halen’s 1984 or Metallica’s Master Of Puppets, all of which held a twist that would inspire debate and analysis for hour after hour.

The prolific Martin Popoff has collected 220 of the best, most interesting, most memorable record covers of the pre-CD age with collaborator Ioannis, and together they provide worthy commentary on the artwork, and some trivia and back stories along the way.

It’s a wonderful collection, a fitting valentine to a sadly ailing art form and a time when the cover art was as integral to the music contained therein as the guitar or drums. Popoff and Ioannis make it a fun, informative and deferential flick through 275 pages of glossy beauty, all bound in a gorgeous faux leather cover designed by Jason Chow.

Must have.

Category: Book Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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