Excruciating Album Cover Art — Mike Terry

Mike Terry (volume two)You take one look at this and think, “hey, I didn’t know that Terry Jones had a twin separated at birth — how ironic that they share a name and enjoy sitting at a piano in unconventional modes of dress.”

But alas, the tale is much more interesting than that. Mike Terry, is, according to this Independent article, a “cabaret artiste”. It also mentions his weight (20 stone, which is, I believe 280 pounds or 127.3 kg.), and the fact that he does a Dorothy Squires tribute act. It also mentions a reviewer who called the act “grotesque.” (And it doesn’t mention any relationship with Monty Python’s Terry Jones.)

I don’t know, Mike has kind of a sweet face, and in this picture, he’s clearly loving whatever it is he’s singing. Those sequins are pretty slimming too — I would never have guessed he’s 20 stone. He’s probably thinking of all the great times he had with Dorothy (he was her rehearsal pianist) thinking: “I bet I could wear that sequined thing she’s wearing and make it look good.”

Actually, to be fair, he wasn’t thinking that, because he does not describe his act as a drag act. According to the article (which I’m beginning to suspect is a clever hoax) Mike says: “I suppose it could be described as semi-drag. It’s a unisex suit in sequins, and I’ve trimmed the edge with feathers, just to give them a hint of Dorothy. I’m portraying her, not impersonating her.”

Just a trim of feathers, but not drag. Oh no.

And who was Dorothy Squires? She was a Welsh singer who seemed to be good at three things:

  • singing songs that other people turned into hits
  • drinking
  • commencing libel actions.

She was also married to Roger Moore (the worst 007) for a few years. Apparently they argued so violently that a frightened Moore took to sleeping in the shed to avoid her. (Can you imagine Sean Connery doing that, I don’t think so.)

But according to Mike Terry, she will never be forgotten: “She’s one of the evergreen performers,” he enthuses (in the Independent article). “She’s never going to die. Well, she’s dead, obviously, but her name is never going to die.”

The Most Alarming thing about this cover? It’s volume two.

Alltop thinks stripes are more slimming than sequins. Independent article here, and more info about Dorothy Squires at Wikipedia . Originally published in 2007 (this century, but it doesn’t really feel like it).

Excruciating Album Cover Art — Boned

Boned -- Up At the CrackOkay, somebody’s been watching Spinal Tap over and over and over, and thought, “hey, there is a fine line between clever and stupid, and let’s see if we can manage a standing broad jump over that line with electric guitars stuffed down our taught, bulge-revealing pants.” Frightening really. Glory in this AC/DC-like band’s debut album, “Up At the Crack” (released in 2004.)

You can read a review of the seminal work here, though I should warn you that some of the track titles don’t even have the subtlety of Spinal Tap’s “Big Bottom”.

I DO think the titles: “Ain’t No Talking with Your Mouth Full”, “Loaded On Love” and “Tails Up Heads Down” manage to communicate the sensitive, almost poetic feelings the band has for the first flowering of a beautiful and lasting love.

Alltop is all about the sensitive ramming. Originally published in 2007, when the world was young.

Excruciating Album Cover Art — Mr. Bat Sings

Mr. Bat Sings

“Can’t sleep, clown will eat me.”
–Bart Simpson

I always used to think one of the silliest phobias was coulrophobia — the fear of clowns — until I saw this album cover.

This thing is terrifying. I mean, it just reeks of menace! Mr. Bat is wearing some kind of traditional Pagliacci-type of outfit, and though I do find the color scheme kind of foreboding, it’s not so bad. And he has your usual whiteface on, but instead of a nice happy red smile, he has a black frown painted over his mouth. And a tiny red soul patch underneath. (Or is that just a glob of human flesh?)

Then there are the glasses. I know Mr. Bat can’t help it if he’s short-sighted, but he might want to invest in some contacts for his clowning around. Wait a minute. . . wait . . . is that Dick Cheney?

That would explain why he’s holding up his left hand as though he was going to pummel us with his meaty Vice-Presidential fists of anguish. Maybe he’s called Mr. Bat because that’s what beats the children with. Then again, if Mr. Bat is Dick Cheney’s alter-ego, then he probably wasn’t ever holding a bat in that fist — it was probably a shotgun and they decided later to airbrush it out. (An easy enough feat, given the brooding black background — the pitch of evil that spawns malevolent Mr. Bat.)

“Hey kids, I’ve booked Mr. Bat to come and sing at your birthday party!”

“Aiiiiii!”

No, the kiddies wouldn’t scream and run. They’d be too paralyzed by their dread to run. And certainly not scream.

First a whimper, and then the awful wet sound of Mr. Bat “singing”.

Alltop once ate a clown, and thought it tasted funny. For more excruciation, join Paul Zon at his Museum of Bad Album Cover Art. Wikipedia entry on coulrophobia, and if that doesn’t help, here is a collection of evil clown pictures. Originally published, oh, eons ago, in 2007.

Excruciating Album Cover Art — Fancy (Raving Queen)

Fancy -- Raving QueenYou may not be aware that Fancy (born Manfred Alois Perilano), was a popular Euro-dance, Synth-Dance artiste in the mid-to-late 80s. You may not be aware that Euro-dance, Synth-Dance were once popular forms of musical expression. I certainly wasn’t until my eyes were assaulted by this cover and I just had to know if it was a hoax or not.

Not. This is from Fancy’s 1987 single, “Raving Queen”. (This is the ‘turbo dancer remix”, which caused at least a dozen pelvic explosions at the 1987 Euro-Dance and Eyeliner Expo, held in the UK for the first time, at Tightee-on-Whity, Kent.)

By all accounts, Fancy had a very successful music career in the 80s, topping the dance billboard charts with such hits as “Slice Me Nice”, “China Blue”, and of course, “Raving Queen” (not to be confused with his 1986 single, “Mincing Pansy.”)

This all came to a screeching halt when he tried to export his trademark rhythms and sound to the NFL in a stupendously misjudged cross-promotion he organized with the Detroit Lions. (Which were 1-6 in the mid-point of the season, and desperate for any kind of boost in fan interest.) Fancy played as a wide receiver for an astonishing 25 seconds in the first quarter. (Vegas bookies were giving 5-1 odds that he would be killed in his first play.)

In his second play, he managed to get open, and catch the ball. Unfortunately, he could not hold onto it when safety Bill Bates tackled him, breaking Fancy into several pieces. The fans were electrified! And the Detroit Lions went on to win the game 27-17.

Fancy’s pieces were surgically reattached, but alas, the equipment never worked the same; he did, however, recover his muse late in 1988, leading him to write “Fools Cry”, “All My Loving/Running Man” and “Limp Noodle.”

You may find more Excruciating Album Cover Art here. Alltop is also somewhat painful. Fancy’s website here, and the more factual wiki entry is here. Originally published, in the original Babylonian, in 2007.