I’ve already written about the musical career of the Great One, Jackie Gleason, as well as talked about one of my favorite Gleason album covers (Music for Lovers Only). I thought I’d go ahead and dedicate an entire album cover gallery drawn from Gleason’s catalog of mid-century orchestral pop — aka mood music.
So here’s a collection of my ten favorite Jackie Gleason album covers, drawn from his extensive Capitol Records run (nearly 60 LPs, including soundtracks and compilations, from the early ’50s through the early ’70s). These all come from the first ten years of his catalog, and I think you’ll see why.
#1. Music for Lovers Only (1952)
#2. Lonesome Echo (1955)
This was Gleason’s fifth #1 album, and the artwork was by the legendary Salvador Dali. He described the concept of the painting as such:
The first effect is that of anguish, of space, and of solitude. Secondly, the fragility of the wings of a butterfly, projecting long shadows of late afternoon, reverberates in the landscape like an echo. The feminine element, distant and isolated, forms a perfect triangle with the musical instrument and its other echo, the shell.
#3. Velvet Brass (1957)
Love the outfits, love the poses, love the random arrangement of horns. This is so very 1950s.
#4. Tawny (1954)
Well hello there, legs!
At the time of Tawny‘s release, Gleason already had two of the ten best-selling records in the country. As a promotional gimmick, a record chain in Buffalo gave away free pairs of tawny-colored stockings with the purchase of the album.
#5. The Torch With the Blue Flame (1958)
#6. Opiate d’Amour (1960)
I love the evocative pink hue on the smoke here.
#7. Aphrodisia (1960)
I dig the Ancient Greek typeface on this one, as well as the whiter-than-white couple sharing a bowl of something intoxicating.
#8. Love Embers and Flame (1962)
This cover manages to be sexually suggestive but subtle at the same time. That’s called class, my friends.
#9. To a Sleeping Beauty / Apology at Bedtime (1956)
You may notice that this selection looks nothing like the other nine. And if you search this out on YouTube you’ll hear that it sounds nothing like the other nine either. This is, as the cover indicates, two narratives from Gleason to fictional sleeping son and daughter. It’s… interesting. But I like the cover, so it goes on the list.
#10. Music, Martinis, and Memories (1954)
I just had to end the gallery with a typical Gleason album cover, right?