The World’s First Album Cover – Alex Steinweiss’ Greatest Hit

Author: Colin | Published: 10/7/08

One of the authors of the ‘Undependent’ blog writes:

While there is no shortage of interest in the album cover medium, there’s no obvious web page out dedicated to the world’s first record cover. I’m apparently I’m not the only one looking for it (See: “Anyone have a scan?“) I’ve seen scattered images from articles about Steinweiss but I’ve not found anything resembling a Shrine.

The post is fascinating for the scans and commentary provided. Only hesitation is that the recommended book on Steinweiss contains the following assertion by an Amazon reviewer:

Apart from the fact that some of his equally interesting later paintings have been reproduced only in monochrome, my only criticism would be about the (unresearched) assumption that Steinweiss was the first (with Columbia) to produce record cover art, in particular for record albums. While this might possibly be true in the USA, it is certainly not at all true in the UK, where both Columbia and HMV had coloured artwork designs on album covers in the early 1920s (and earlier): for instance, the pre-electric Gilbert and Sullivan HMV albums, starting with ‘The Mikado’ in April 1918. Other ‘beautifully illustrated albums’ for special sets (with artwork inside as well as outside) appeared before the end of the First World War; Liza Lehmann’s ‘In a Persian Garden’ has a coloured artwork illustration for each album disc as well as coloured cover art, a quite expensive printing exercise in those days.

Well worth reading all the same:
Undependent post
Amazon UK book on Steinweiss


You must be logged in to post a comment.