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Put the Needle on the Record [Hardcover]

Matthew Chojnacki , Jake Shears , Nick Rhodes

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Book Description

Aug. 30 2011
In the 1980s, music defined the moment: "Video Killed the Radio Star" ushered in MTV, "Don't You (Forget about Me)" ruled The Breakfast Club, and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" became the anthem of a generation. The 1980s were also the most visually provocative era of the last millennium. Every new vinyl single hit the stands wrapped in eye-catching sleeves that reflected the latest trends.

Put the Needle on the Record is pop culture historian Matthew Chojnacki's definitive guide to 7- and 12-inch vinyl single artwork from the '80s. He presents and compares more than 250 vinyl single covers, representing nearly every prominent musician of the decade. Read the previously untold stories behind the 1980s' most iconic images from the designers and visual talent behind Madonna, Prince, Adam Ant, Pink Floyd, Queen, The Clash, Pet Shop Boys, Kate Bush, and more.

Coupled with exclusive commentary from more than 100 of the '80s biggest musicians, including Annie Lennox, Duran Duran, Run-DMC, Gary Numan, The B-52's, Erasure, OMD, Scorpions, The Knack, and Yoko Ono, this is an authoritative journey back to the songs and images that continue to influence our culture.

Contains a foreword by Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters and an afterword by Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. (Aug. 30 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764338315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764338311
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 24 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #493,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"1980s single cover art was cheeky, sexy, punchy, and glam. Matthew Chojnacki vividly chronicles the best of the bunch, illuminating the way music looked via comments from rock stars and art directors with a strong eye for the visual." --Michael Musto, The Village Voice

"Brilliant. Insightful. Revealing." --Nina Blackwood, MTV

"The 1980s. The spin point of a time where the collision of art, culture, class, nation, and government was fueled by the steroids of technology. Put the Needle on the Record is a great read on an era that many consider the new '60s." --Chuck D, Public Enemy

"Put the Needle on the Record proves that the '80s wasn't the decade that taste forgot - but rather the era where single artwork came of age and caught up with its LP predecessor... before CDs changed the landscape for good." --Jason Draper, Record Collector Magazine

"As a dyed in the wool, long-term record collector, I loved this survey of picture sleeves from the 1980s. This decade was really the end of the vinyl singles period as we know it, and these images were ephemeral icons that would be lost in the mist of time without this kind of labor of love." --Terry Stewart, President & CEO, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

About the Author

Matthew Chojnacki is a freelance writer and music/pop culture historian living in Cleveland, Ohio. All sleeves in Put the Needle on the Record are from Chojnacki's extensive vinyl collection, and quotations were pulled from an archive of several hundred hours of personal interviews with '80s musicians, cover artists, and record executives. His first 12-inch was "Rapper's Delight" by Sugarhill Gang.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to the attic! Nov. 2 2011
By Gareth Pugh - Published on Amazon.com
An excellent book and one that will have you running back to those boxes in the attic to drink in some of that artwork and heady memories first-hand again. More than just a trip down memory lane, author Matthew Chojnacki has mustered a truly impressive quantity and quality of all-new commentary from many of the artists - graphic and musical variety - involved in creating these sleeves back in the day, interpreting what they were going for creatively and what it means to them now. Also, in a clever and rewarding move, he structures it so that sleeves are often presented in pairs, tracing out where one may have influenced another. An excellent time capsule, sure, but it's no dusty, static museum-piece in paper - instead, a really fun, thought-provoking and alive 'read'.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If this book had a soundtrack it would rate 10 stars. But still fun to read through and remember April 18 2012
By Steven I. Ramm - Published on Amazon.com
First off, I have a bunch of Schiffer's (the publisher) books on my shelf and they seem to get the most attention when folks come to visit. Their specialty is beautiful books on antiques and collectibles (and pre 1930 phonographs, which are the titles I've bought before.). This volume brings them at least into the late 20th century and, again, they've produced a volume full of great color photos. When author Matthew Chojnacki chose a publisher for his well-researched volume on 1980s 45rpm record covers (both 7inch and the large 12-inch ones used by DJs - BEFORE they turned to MP3s), he made the right choice.

This book is - as the common phrase goes - "Totally 80s". But the covers shown are not totally common. Delving into his own collection the author has chosen more than 250 covers and arranged them, one to a page on facing pages to show the similarities of many of them from diverse artists. On page 124-125 you have Tina Turner striking a pose on the left page while Toni Basil strikes a similar pose on the right. But the "attitudes" are different, Pages 148-149 show two 12-incher jackets - one by Timex Social Club and the other by Club Nouveau - which look like they were done by the same artist but they aren't. And page 218-219 matches up Rod Stewart (from "Young Turks" 1981) with Limahl ("The Never ending Story") from three years later, copping Stewart's spiked hairdoo and almost the same eyes. My favorite is the Kate Bush/ Dolly Parton mashup on pages 22 and 23. Parton's 1982 cover looks like it's from the 1960s, even though it's two years more recent than Bush's.

Each page has a bit of info about each artist, which helps because many did not have huge hits. And the author's collection is international in nature so you'll find covers from the UK, Europe and South America, making this a real treat for 80s music fans.

Wouldn't it be cool if the author set up a website with MP3s of the singles included and you could listen while turning the pages (like though books with records that we had as kids)? I guess the licensing issues would be a problem (but I can dream, right?)

This book should definitely find itself in the collector of 80s music fans. It's a time capsule between two hard covers.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reliving the 80s Jan. 6 2013
By Mark Silveira - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
High school in the 80s was all about the music for me. This book took me back to the days of going through the 12" bins looking for the latest remix of my favorite band. It's great to see record art again. This book is great for anyone who remembers the 12" vinyl from the 80s
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good, it makes me sad... Oct. 10 2011
By K. Barnes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
...sad for the generations of music fans that will never know first hand, the exquisite joy that was the 80s 12". This amazing collection of cover art unearths memories of record shop visits past. A well balanced and loving compendium of a medium that is one of the best representations of the era's exuberance.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Journey Thorugh the 80s! Oct. 9 2011
By Charles Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Anyone who has the slightest interest in pop music, graphic art, or 1980s pop culture will find this book to be fun, fascinating, and a tremendous resource. The full-color reproductions of 45 RPM singles - a late lamented art form - evoke a period in pop music history when hip hop, techno, glam, post-punk, powerpop, metal, reggae, and R&B all jostled for space on the shelves of your local record store. You're sure to find your favorites (mine are the Atlantics, Ramones, B-52s, Debbie Harry, and other seminal pop-punk artists). A true treasure and a perfect gift book for the holidays!

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