I knew a guy in college who, despite being solely a fan of classical music, had Fleetwood Mac’s cover of Rumors on his wall. Apparently, he liked the “understated romance” between the two characters and the underlying sense of passion and tension. I never did have the heart to tell him that Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks weren’t really a glowing example of couple-dom, just co-conspirators in some twisted, drug-fueled liaison. I’d like to think that I didn’t tell him as to avoid ruining the inherent magic that album covers represent. More than snapshots of time, they are the feelings and memories of both the artist and audience forever crystallized.
Still, if you’re looking to dash anyone’s hopes, there’s now one handy website for all your perception-crushing needs. The Guardian’s Halley Docherty has used Google Street View to create a series of photos depicting how the locales in classic album covers look in the here and now. It’s a simple concept no doubt, but the resulting gallery has plenty to offer. Not only does it show the all-encompassing effects of time’s endless march, but it’s a damn good indicator that even the mightiest cultural artifacts can’t stand in the way of a man’s need for a new frozen yogurt stand.
Here’s just a few of the covers. If you’re not ready for the culture shock, I suggest flipping through a Clifford the Big Red Dog book:
Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP: It’s amazing how just a few trees make this look like the cover to some bizarre folk-pop album.
Oasis’(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?: Nothing says rock and roll rebellion like your friendly neighborhood Vital Ingredient salad and soup shop.
Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti: This may be the only picture that hasn’t changed. (I’m pretty sure that van was just parked around the corner that day.)
Bob Dylan’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan: And my most iconic image of New York is ruined by yards of Newcastle beer and a fixie bike.