A Work in Progress….
Album titles can be iconic. You hear the two words “Abbey Road” and what do you think of? The busy London street in the St John’s Wood district?
Nah, you more than likely picture the four guys (one out of step) on the cross walk.
And the phrase “Dark Side of the Moon”? Do you think of the lunar hemisphere that is not lit by the sun or do you think about a prism and light?
Titles of albums get into our cerebral cortex and transcend the actual words into something that seem to have been there forever.
But they weren’t.
I mean, somebody had to come up with these things, right?
And quite often iconic titles of albums could have easily been something completely different.
What if Abbey Road was titled “Everest”. Would you think about about a mountain in the Himalayas, or the four guys pictured walking on it?
Not far-fetched at all. At one time the Abbey Road album was going to be called “Everest”.
The reason? That was the brand of cigarette the engineer working on the album, Geoff Emerick smoked. The Beatles had these grand ideas of flying to Mt. Everest for an album cover shoot.
But this was the Beatles last album. Just getting them to show up at the studio was hard enough. So eventually Paul McCartney just had the idea of going outside of the studio itself and have a photo taken of them crossing the street.
The Beatles seem to be the kings of the album titles being decided on at the last-minute. Or there is just more written about them, I don’t know.
But Revolver was going to be: “Abracadabra”, then “Magic Circles”, then “Beatles on Safari” (?) then Ringo suggested “After Geography” since the Stones had just released “Aftermath”.
Finally “Revolver” was decided on, but before the famous Klaus Voorman cover was chosen a Robert Freeman photograph cover was designed:
It’s pretty cool. So is the iconic Voorman line drawings. How did they choose?
And “The Beatles” which everyone refers to as “The White Album” was for a long time going to be called “A Doll’s House”. Legend has it this was going to be the cover:
But they decided to go minimalistic. The last real album they had released was Sgt Pepper (which supposedly was started with the working title, “One Down Six To Go”, a joke with their newly signed deal with EMI) and Pepper was lavish. A white album sleeve. With ‘The Beatles” written in raised white letters. What could be more minimalistic?
Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of The Moon” was originally going to be called “Eclipse”.
They changed it to “Dark Side” even though the group “Medicine Head” had already come out with an album with that title. Didn’t seem to matter.
And Floyd’s earlier album, “Atom Heart Mother”? At one time it was going to be “The Amazing Pudding”.
You hear “The Amazing Pudding” and think that’s strange. Well guess what…
It’s no stranger than “Atom Heart Mother”.
Supposedly Kurt Cobain wanted to call the album “In Utero”, “I hate myself and I want to die”. He later said it was a joke. It was released 7 months before his death. It was no joke.
U2’s working title for their masterpiece “The Joshua Tree” was “ The Two Americans”, which actually sums up the themes of this record.
The working title for Stevie Wonder’s 1976 Motown classic “Songs in the key of life” was “Let’s see Life the Way It IS”. It may make more sense but it absolutely lacks the poetry. You can’t have everything.
There are many more. Let’s call this part one again.
And let’s don’t get started on SONG tiltles……
John: “You Sure this is the way to Mt. Everest?”
Ringo: “Look at the talent!”
Paul: “Ow, my flippin’ feet are burning! Might as well not wear these bloody sandals”
George: “That’s Patty, Ringo you twit! Hey-What’s Eric doin’ here?”
John: Now, THIS is the way to Everest. Yoko just asked her numerologist so we can be positive this time”
Ringo: “I think I like vanilla”
Paul: “Oh, like being barefoot is helpful….ow, ow, ow, ow….”
George: “Should. Not. Have . Had. That. Microwave. Burrito.”