altered cover

by Art Chantry (

there is this weird corner in the crazy record collecting world that is reserved for the truly twisted. these guys collect records that are such crap that nobody wants them at all. it do this. i love the stuff you find on them. but, there is a corner even in the world of rejected trashed crappy record collecting that is reserved as the realm of the true nutcase – altered record covers. i collect these, too.

altered record covers is a loosely deined category. in order to classify, the record cover needs to be changed by someone (presumably the former owner) and turned into something else. this can be as simple as a big “X” to indicate dislike or even a different record inside the sleeve (provided it also has the new title hand-written in had on the cover). the next step up are the ‘bored doodle’ covers – little jokes and the like (this cover i show you is an example of this). on the other far end of the spectrum are record covers completely re-designed into the “cover the owner would rather have seen”. this can be everything from repainted illustratons to collaged fanboy scrap books and even whole new designs by the owners simply glued on top of the old cover design. this turf can get very peculiar very fast.

--- i used to have a "dino, desi and billy" LP that was so incredibly doodled that i kept it as a primarily selection in my record collection for years and years. i actually SOLD it to another collector! i need money baaaaad, or i wouldn't have parted with it.---AC

yesterday i went to the goodwill and walked out with this lovely altered record cover item. i particularly like this for several reasons:

- one, because it’s goofy, and i think boots randolph is pretty goofy. so, it actually is an appropriate themed disfiguring. top-notch idiocy.

- two, because i particularly love covers where bored listeners (maybe a little stoned or perhaps just talking on the phone) literally doodles on the cover for distraction. some of these efforts are beyond brilliant and seem to enter a world of art unto themselves.

- three, it’s hitler, get it? hitler is so easy to doodle over soembody’s face (moustach, hair, and you’re done!) that it’s the single biggest category of face alteration to see in the ‘doddles’ covers.


- four, i particualrly love the bloodshot eyeballs. this is an extra little effort that took real inspiration and extra work – the ‘artist’ had to actually go find a ballpoint with red ink in order to complete his ‘masterpiece’! it also dates it into the ‘bug-eyed monster’ era of ed ‘

daddy’ roth. so, this must been doodled in the mid-1960′s (the record was released in 1965).

so, this was my little piece of treasure of the day, yesterday. there are many others who collect this garbage, too (believe it or not). but, even serious record collectors have a few secret pleasures hidden in their stacks that they just can’t part with (you all know what i mean out there).

one friend at a local record store (jive time) displays his favorite finds on the wall of his shop – he has an entire wall of his small store as a dedicated gallery to this miserable art form. it’s priceless stuff. they make velvet paintings look positively brilliant.

so, when is a decent book of ‘altered record cover art’ ever going to be published? (hint, hint!)


AC:doodling like this is done in some sort of distracted but very direct link tot he creative part of the brain. if you are stoned or on the phone or listening intently, you conscious mind is busy thinking and doing so, the unconscious ‘creative’ section of the brain can access your hands and do this amazing stuff. it’s like driving a car – you’re not really thinking about driving that car (in fact you are listening to the radio or thinking about dinner or whatever). yet, you are driving beautifully. how is that possible? these doodles are sort of the same effect….

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