Classic: The smooth tones of “Aftertones”

Ever fallen in love with an album, even before hearing a single note of music? Just by looking at the cover. Janis Ian’s «Aftertones” was one of those albums for me.

IAN-Janis-1976-1
The first thing I recognized was the picture of Janis Ian behind the broken glass.
But wait, theres something more to discover here. Her hands is outside of the glass, like she’s trying to get out of the frame. Like she has been placed there against her own will, has she cried? Is she sad? It´s kinda creepy at first, but still touching. It’s like she begs the album buyer for help.

I was pretty sure this was a Hiphnosis Design aka Storm Torgerson (off Pink Floyd fame) cover. It had all the characteristics. I became almost obsessed about the sleeve and had to find out more about it. Who was the artist behind it? I tried googling (my wife call me the king of googling), and it seemed more difficult than I first thought it would be, but I didn’t gave up. Then all of a sudden I found it.

To my surprise it wasn´t a Storm Torgerson design; The photo was taken by Peter Cunningham (link here!) and the Design and sleeve art by David L’Heureux aka disco icon D.C. LaRue

The other design elements on the «Aftertones» cover is half dead white and yellow flower, the pencils and the postcards. Lying there, like someone had to rush and forgotten to post them. Everything is kept natural colors.

The books lined up has titles like  «How To Stay Alive In The Woods» by Bradford Angier. A dairy biography called «Notebooks 1935-1942» by Albert Camus…, Greenwich Village «Bluebook», A telephone book and  «The Outsider» by Colin Wilson.

Janis Ian
Aha! This was how she made the cover!

The mood on the cover say a lot about the music, because Janis Ian’s «Aftertones» sounds like a diary from England’s folksy countryside, to the jazz and blues of New York City, boiling traffic and people everywhere. Janis voice is smooth as silk, and her stories is intimate and she sings to you with a voice that sounds like a cross between the late Karen Carpenter and Joni Mitchell to newer names like Rumer and the late Eva Cassidy. The album features guest artists Phoebe Snow and Odetta.

Janis Ians “Aftertones” album was the highest selling album by a female performer in Japan ever, and reached Top Twenty in US, England Ireland & Holland.

A perfect slice of a classic pop folk blues softrock crossover album if you like!

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