'70's Dream Team: Vinyl and Comics

Cast your minds (or your imaginations) back to 1972.

17 year old me, a collector and hoarder of comics since the age of five and a buyer of albums for two years, is back at grammar school after the six week summer break and gearing up for two years of study for four “A” level GCSEs .  I am amazed to find that, over the summer, a sixth form annex had been built, consisting of three study rooms and a large common room with a kitchen area and fridge.  It was made clear to the whole school that this area was exclusive to the sixth formers to use as they pleased and the teachers would only enter if we gave permission, or if we were too loud and disruptive.

We fifty or so sixth form lads (all boys school) were so pleased that we were being treated as responsible adults that we quickly equipped the common room area with a record deck and some beers for the fridge.  All who had vinyl albums brought in a couple of records each.  Imagine: music, beer and being able to smoke whilst studying, doing homework or generally lounging about, without anyone having a pop at you.  Great days.

The records that were played over and over were the Easy Rider soundtrack, Hendrix “Electric Ladyland”, the Woodstock triple album (mine), Curved Air “Phantasmagoria”, Bowie “Hunky Dory” (mine) and the Groundhogs “Who Will Save the World”.

Album covers were often works of art and would do justice to being posters.  However, the Groundhogs album left me gobsmacked – a cover by Neal Adams, and when the gatefold sleeve was opened it became apparent that the cover was just the first page of a four page comic story.  The album design incorporated drop leaf expansions to allow for more story and artwork.  This was the Neal Adams, whose stuff I had in my comic collection; Deadman in Strange Adventures, The Spectre, Batman in Batman, Detective Comics and the Brave and the Bold, Green Lantern / Green Arrow, the X-Men and the Avengers Kree – Skrull war.  Amazing Stuff.

It was not long before I added this and the other three albums to my collection, which has expanded considerably; as has my comic collection, in the many years since that long ago day.

I will never forget the feeling I had when I first saw “Who Will Save the World”, a great record and great album sleeve that perfectly combined my love of music and comics in a flawless fashion.