Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Potty Panner

Vinyl record albums become collectible for a variety of reasons, and collectibles become valuable because the demand exceeds the supply, in other words collectors like ‘em rare! And some are rare because the record company has recalled them shortly after they’re issued leaving few of the original versions “out there.”

Records have been recalled for all sorts of reasons.  Sometimes it has to do with the lyrics, but more often it’s the cover art.  The majority of the controversial covers have had to do with nudity or lewd gestures.  I don’t find any of that particularly interesting. Another large chunk is deemed insulting to religious groups.  I’m glad when those are withdrawn with apologies because I don’t like to see anyone’s belief system insulted.

But then there are the ones that just seem nutty. 

 The Mamas & The Papas released If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears in 1966 on the Dunhill label.   The photo on the cover had the four piled into an old-fashioned bathtub–all fully clothed, mind you, and smiling nicely.  But just to the right you can see–Oh, scandal of scandals–a toilet.

 This potty-portrait was  found to be unforgivably gauche  and the album was recalled.  A sticker (a strange, ugly sticker) listing three of the songs on the album was placed over the offending throne on the jacket and the album went out again.  But even this wasn’t enough.  In the  next reissuing the whole bathroom setting had to go and the photo was cropped tight around the group and put onto a black background.  Apparently even bathTUBS were in bad taste.

What I’d like to know is why amidst all this redoing of album covers no one ever thought to address the issue of using the possessive Mama’s and Papa’s on the cover.  Their what?

 In any case, I’m glad the album was released, else we may never have gotten “Monday, Monday,” “California Dreamin;” or this glorious version of “I Call Your Name,” by Mama Cass Elliot (written by Lennon & McCartney).

By the way, if you happen to possess the offending cover in near mint condition it could be worth $75-100 right now.  


  1. Wow, I thought that apostrophe abomination was a new thing!

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  3. The possessive seems to refer to their parents, and the picture to the rebellious children who honor them by applying the rules of Hollywood’s infamous Hays Commission to the Loo, an innocence lost forever with the Flush Heard Around the World in 1971 on “All in the Family.” The noise thrown off by Archie’s “terlet” now seems quaint, as scatology has gone from scandalous to ubiquitous, so much so that one must adopt a form of prudery to be unique, much as Helen Mirren routinely hides the tattoo on her left hand, a small ink-stained scream of individuality in a conformist world before tramp-stamps became the new orthodoxy. Then again, sometimes a picture is just a picture, and a typo a typo ;)

  4. With the tell-all book by MacKenzie Phillips, I think a toilet seems rather innocent, don't you?

    I love when I hear, "All the leaves are brown" blasting out from the radio when I'm driving down the road. I love the spontaneity of radio, which is why I don't listen to many CDs, etc. while driving.I like to hear the first few notes of a song, then think, "I haven't heard that song in ages!" as I turn up the volume.

  5. In 1969 I visited my uncle in San Francisco. I remember two things from the visit. One is walking around Haight Ashbury and watching the street musicians. This one guy had a large carboard box shaped like a television with knobs painted on. He was inside the box playing and singing his music. I remember laughing so hard at that, that I made the musician mad. "Get away from here kid" he said to me. "Shut up or I'll turn you off" I said back to him and the crowd all laughed with me. The other thing I remember is going to, I think it was called the Good Earth, restaurant, with hanging plants all over the place and healthy food. We saw John McKenzie driving his Rolls Royce. He had long hair, a beard, looked like a hippie, with some outrageous hat on. It was cool. I thought most of the hippies in San Francisco probably had Rolls Royces.
    If you want to know about the original source for vinyl records on the internet, and the original marketplace for buyers and sellers of music on the internet, go to . There's millions of items from tens of thousands of sellers from around the world.

  6. This makes me wish I had saved all of my old albums. Very interesting stuff!