2017 edition. 'This extraordinary and brilliantly curated book reveals how the tropes of cultured living were disseminated through the universal medium of music decades before the era of 'designer pop.' Revisionary and essential.' wrote Peter Saville, artist and designer; founder and art director of Factory Records. How record albums and their covers delivered mood music, lifestyle advice, global sounds, and travel tips to midcentury Americans who longed to be modern. The sleek hi-fi console in a well-appointed midcentury American living room might have had a stack of albums by musicians like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, or Patti Page. It was just as likely to have had a selection of LPs from slightly different genres, with such titles as Cocktail Time, Music for a Chinese Dinner at Home, The Perfect Background Music for Your Home Movies, Honeymoon in Hawaii, Strings for a Space Age, or Cairo! The Music of Modern Egypt. The brilliantly hued, full-color cover art might show an ideal listener, an ideal living room, an ideal tourist in an exotic landscape—or even an ideal space traveler. In Designed for Hi-Fi Living, Janet Borgerson and Jonathan Schroeder listen to and look at these vinyl LPs, scouring the cover art and the liner notes, and find that these albums offered a guide for aspirational Americans who yearned to be modern in postwar consumer culture.
Borgerson and Schroeder examine the representations of modern life in a selection of midcentury record albums, discussing nearly 150 vintage album covers, reproduced in color—some featuring modern art or the work of famous designers and photographers. Offering a fascinating glimpse into the postwar imagination, the first part, “Home,” explores how the American home entered the frontlines of cold war debates and became an entertainment zone—a place to play music, mix drinks, and impress guests with displays of good taste. The second part, “Away,” considers albums featuring music, pictures, and tourist information that prepared Americans for the jet age as well as the space race.
One of the smartest books we've ever seen on album cover art – a lavish full color volume that not only presents loads of classic images, but also has plenty to say about them as well! Dusty Groove
"Today you’re most likely to seek instructions on how to live your life via The Google, but before the internet, way back in the ’50s, vinyl records might have been your guide. From Strings For A Space Age to Japan: Its Sounds and People to Cocktail Time and more, Designed For Hi-Fi Living unearths those delightfully quirky albums for you. Rather than simply presenting a random assortment of neat records, the book takes a step back to explore what these albums tell us about the way people at the time lived." Vinyl Factory