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The Monkees – Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. album art

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Dec 11th, 2021. Artwork published in
November 1967
.
    The Monkees – Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. album art 1
    Source: www.hhv.de HHV. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Only in the 1960s: Take the most peculiar typeface you can find, draw its letterforms by hand, in all caps and in outline, making it even wobblier – for an album that would sell three million copies and reach number one on the U.S. Billboard 200.

    The typeface in question was designed by Munich-based painter August Glaser. It was selected as the winning entry in the first (and only?) competition held by the Woellmer foundry in Berlin, and first cast as Siegfried in 1902. Around 60 years later, Photo-Lettering unearthed the Jugendstil weirdo and added it to their range of “Art Nouveau Xenotypes”. Designer Bernard Yeszin closely followed the original letterforms, including the bridge halfway up the U. He simplified the A and E by dropping the second crossbar, ensuring a minimum of readability.

    From Andrew Sandoval’s liner notes written for the album’s deluxe edition reissue in 2007 (via Monkees Live Almanac):

    When cover artist Bernard Yeszin came to illustrate The Monkees’ fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., he took a brave step. The group would be drawn in silhouette only, with just their respective astrological signs hinting at their identities. “The Monkees were so popular and so hot at the time,” says Yeszin of the concept, “that I could do just about anything that reminded you of The Monkees. I could do an album cover and just show their outline and people would identify them. People would know they were The Monkees.

    “It was really based upon a photograph that I had taken of them,” explains Yeszin, who took this idea a step further by obscuring the band’s famed guitar logo in a crop of water-colored flowers. “At first I had it up at the top,” says Yeszin of the emblem, “and I said, ‘Just go for it, Bernie; just drop it way down into the flowers and hopefully the people will get it.’ The flowers were part of that flower child love-fest that was going on during that period of time. Historically, it was right on the money.”

    Monkees Live Almanac also has Bernard Yeszin’s band photo on which he based the illustration.

    In memory of Michael Nesmith – here in the back, with his signature wool hat. The Monkees member passed away on 10 December 2021, aged 78.

    [More info on Discogs]

    The Monkees – Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. album art 2
    Source: www.carousell.com.my Carousell (edited). License: All Rights Reserved.

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    4 Comments on “The Monkees – Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. album art”

    1. See also the cover of The Association’s Birthday album, released only four months later. It likewise features an illustration of the band members standing, based on a photograph but manipulated. And it has a manual rendition of Siegfried in all caps:

    2. By tracing the type by hand, it makes the title part of the illustration, drawn in the same style. If the designer/illustrator had used straight type—even outline type—it wouldn’t have the same effect.

    3. Also, there’s a typo in the heading: “Jones,” not “Lones.”

    4. Thanks for catching the typo, Mark. I agree that the handdrawn letters make the design more cohesive. And they had to be outlined in order to correspond to the silhouettes. Still, I’m amazed that Siegfried was selected, of all faces, and that no-one objected it. Well, this choice was likewise part of the “flower child love-fest” that Yeszin mentions. The cover definitely works as a whole.

    5. Thanks for this write up, amazing. Also, Birthday is one of my favorite records.

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