A couple of days ago my wife and I were sitting in a bar while on vacation at the beach. A cover band played on the elevated stage across the room. The guitar player rhythmically banged his head to the beat, and would windmill his arm though the chord changes. After a lead fill, he would majestically point his arm to the sky, as if to warn the heavens of the incoming riff barrage. This guitar god in waiting did all this while playing…Jimmy Buffet. Jimmy Buffet? Yep. This musician’s stage presence was so divorced from what was actually coming out of his amps I couldn’t stop watching him. Anyone seeing this performance with the sound turned off would assume he was performing a Pantera tune, or at the very least, AC/DC.
This got me to thinking about times when my eyes have given me expectations about music that was in sharp contrast to what that music actually sounded like. When I was a young man, I was eagerly devouring all the hard rock and metal I could learn about through music magazines. One Album cover stands above all the rest for me as blatant false advertising; Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell.
Not only was the artwork totally metal, the name was sinister. This had to be a tour de force of screaming guitars and vocal shrieks, right? Nope. It was Show Tunes. Broadway Musical-esque show tunes. Of course Meatloaf has been a loved performer for decades now, but I could never embrace his music. The first impression was such a let down that I have never been able to take the man seriously.
There are several examples of course, what are some album covers you feel do not represent the music contained within? Comment below!
(Top photo: Judy in Disguise)