Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The first album without any kind of ID on the cover

Here’s a question:  what was the first album to feature absolutely no printed mention of whom the record was by?  In other words, there’s nothing to identify who did the record.  All we have to go on is some artwork—or maybe even nothing at all. 

You might point to Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures from 1979.  Good guess, but incorrect. 

Led Zeppelin’s fourth album? Nice try.

Or you could say The Beatles’ Abbey Road. Again, very good—but you’re wrong. And don’t say the Beatles’ white album because the covers came embossed with “The Beatles” in the jacket. 

Give up?  It looks like the first person who thought you just should know who the album was by was Marlene Dietrich.  She released an album entitled At the Café de Paris in 1954 and all the front cover showed was a picture of her.  If you didn’t recognize Marlene, well, then, perhaps you didn’t need this particular record. 

How’s THAT for an obscure piece of music trivia?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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