An album cover doesn’t have to be pretty to be great. And that’s certainly the case with jazz guitar legend Wes Montgomery’s A Day in the Life, released in 1967.
I’m not sure what the inspiration was behind this rather striking cover photo was, as I don’t imagine it would have appealed to people in the late ’60s, even though smoking was obviously much more acceptable then. I know Montgomery was a smoker, so that likely played a part.
Anyway, this was Montgomery’s debut for A&M Records, and came out a year before his untimely death at age 43. By the time of A Day in the Life‘s release, Montgomery had all but abandoned jazz for more straightforward pop. This is partially reflected in the song selection, which featured contemporary hits like “When a Man Loves a Woman” and “Windy”. He also covered a pair of Beatles tunes, “Eleanor Rigby” and the title cut. They all featured Montgomery playing with the backing of a rather cheesy string section.
A Day in the Life is a pleasant record but anyone looking for evidence of Montgomery’s legendary jazz chops would do well to avoid it.
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