Monday, June 04, 2007

Ars Gratia Artis

So I am pleased to learn that Marshall Crenshaw's wonderful 1983 second album "Field Day" is in fact available on CD.

In a just world, of course, it would have topped the charts instead of getting no higher than #53 in Billboard. But in a just world ALL of Marshall's albums would have topped the charts. You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I bring it up because my first ex-wife, a very talented graphic designer, did the cover (she also did Talking Heads "Remain in Light"). Okay, she was actually just a live-in girlfriend, but she DID do the cover.

Of which Marshall has told numerous reporters over the years (most recently in a NYTimes profile) that said cover was so Satanically awful that radio stations refused to play the album at all. In fact, Marshall has gone as far as to say that the cover was directly responsible for the premature stall of his career. Hah!

I have no idea if that's true or not (if there's a problem with the album it's more likely the occasionally muddy production by Steve Lillywhite) but in the mid-90s I met a very nice (and very young) PR guy from a major record label and the subject of Marshall and the album came up. He told me that as a kid he had seen the album in a record store and didn't buy it because the cover looked "too damn Republican."


Kid Charlemagne said...
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Kid Charlemagne said...

That's funny. It always screamed "Midwestern US" to me.

BTW, Wounded Bird has also re-ished "Downtown and "Good Evening" (which is a fave of mine).

Michael said...
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Michael said...

Kinda looks like a photoshopped mock-up straight out of The Onion.

"Area Man Still Hangs Out At Local High School"

Anonymous said...

Saw Ol' Marshall live a coupla months ago, and had him sign my vinyl copy of that album - an album that I have always ADORED, despite the big 80s production. I put it in a frame, and it's hanging right above the computer. Really.
-Bill Buckner

shrimplate said...

It looks "classic" to me. But I have quite excellent taste.

When I was in college that suit-and-skinny-tie look was more than acceptable. The stupid Republicans still had long hair and they liked "Freebird."

Gardner said...

Gotta agree with the kid c. on what the cover screams. I always thought it was a very classy cover myself. Duane Eddie meets Brian Wilson.

Never did warm to "Good Evening," though. Maybe it's time to give it another try.

Would love to read a Simels memoir. If those walls could talk....