In the late 1960s and early 1970s it was common to include brief quotes in the cover art of LPs. These words of wisdom often came from the artist (frequently under a pseudonym) or from a well known associate. Usually the quote could be found in an inconspicuous place somewhere on the back cover or inner sleeve, but it could also be prominently displayed. Several little gems of wisdom were evident on solo projects of the Beatles.
The earliest one I can remember was plastered right on the front cover of the John & Yoko album "Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins." The quote surprisingly came from Paul McCartney. I have always wondered about that quote.
"When two great Saints meet, it is a humbling experience. The long battles to prove he was a Saint."
Was this a lackluster attempt at liner notes? What are these two sentences supposed to mean? The second line isn't even a complete sentence. Why would Paul refer to John and Yoko as saints in 1968?
The following "Unfinished Music" project from John and Yoko, called "Life With The Lions," contained a short, honest and to the point quote from Beatles producer, George Martin on the back cover: "No Comment." This was another interesting choice for the Lennons, since George Martin considered these experimental projects self-indulgent and boring.
The only other album that appeared on the special Zapple label after "Life With the Lions" was "Electronic Sound" by George Harrison. The inner sleeve contained a quote from one Arthur Wax.
Although I don't believe that Mr. Wax ever existed, I think his quote was appropriate.
John Lennon's album "Mind Games" included a few quotes on the inner sleeve. The longest one was the Declaration of Nutopia signed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. But the inner sleeve also contained what may be the first appearance of the Lennon pseudonym Dr. Winston O' Boogie, who was quoted as saying, "Madness is the first sign of dandruff." Truer words have rarely been written and this does explain why confused people tend to scratch their heads. The other quote was a line from Yoko that must have served as the inspiration for one of John's songs: "Only people can change the world."
Lennon's next album, "Walls and Bridges" contained two signed quotes on one of the pages in the enclosed booklet. Suffering from constant harassment from the United States Immigration and Naturalization Department, John put the following:
"Possession is nine-tenths of the problem."
--Dr. Winston O' Boogie
The other quote, signed with only initials has been a source of speculation for years. May Pang still maintains that is was a true statement:
On the 23rd Aug. 1974 at 9 o'clock I saw a U.F.O.
Dr. Winston O' Boogie struck again in a profound way on the John Lennon Best of collection "Shaved Fish," issued in 1975. You don't need to be a PID person to give this statement a ton of weight, but it helps.
"A conspiracy of silence speaks louder than words."-- Dr. Winston O'Boogie
Perhaps to spoof the trend, Ringo Starr put a most unusual quote on the back of his Best of album "Blast From Your Past," issued the same year.
"You don't have to be first, but make sure you're not last"
--A local Gynecologist
I have to say that my favorite album quote was yet another from Dr. Winston O' Boogie, this time on the Lennon produced Harry Nilsson album "Pussycats."
"Everything is the opposite of what it is."
--Dr. Winston O' Boogie, M.D. (Manic Depressive)
This statement is a tribute to the mental gymnastics of the conspiratorial mind. I am lumping myself into the category that I am describing. As individuals, conspiracy theorists tend to be intelligent, creative people. But when viewed as a collective, all kinds of crazy things can be attributed to conspiracy buffs. No one is immune to guilt by association. Just as the skeptics have the problem of being on the side of the closed minded, conspiracy people have many unstable people in their ranks. And when viewed from the outside, we can be seen as people who believe the contrary of every known fact in the world. As a result, the conspiracy world is stuck with some blatant contradictions.
Critics can sit back and ridicule the apparent incongruity of the conspiracy theorists who don't believe that men walked on the moon in 1969 (They believe it was filmed by Stanley Kubrick in a studio) but maintain that men can travel through time via star gates and wormholes. Skeptics can scoff at those who believe that every attack from Pearl Harbor to 9/11 was an inside job, unless they find one that really does turn out to be an inside job, in which case it must have been a real attack that had to be covered up by security agencies for political reasons. In the world of Beatles, some believe that Paul McCartney, who continues to make music nearly forty years after the breakup, actually died four years before the breakup but, John Lennon, who died in 1980 is actually still alive. And now that some rational people have suggested that Paul did die in 1966, we have a whole new crop of conspiracy theorists who say that Paul is alive, but was replaced in 1966 for other reasons. The theories get weirder and weirder with large scale replacements, aliens, shape-shifters, doppelgangers, monarch slaves, and the like. While these may be no worse than any other conspiracy theories, once you put them all together, you become an easy target.
So, to all of my fellow conspiracy theorists....You may be sane, you may be smart, and some day you may even be proven right. But for now, get used to the fact that you are stuck with some non-reality based bedfellows.
Just beneath the quote: "Everything is the opposite of what it is," we have another gem from Harry Nilsson's Pussycats album:
"But somehow it isn't only not just the words, isn't it?"
--Professor Schmilsson M.E. (Me)
Goodnight Harry. Rest in peace...if you really are dead.