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Lew Bundles

Tonight You’re Mine cover critique...

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When Album Covers Attack: Eric Carmen "Tonight You're Mine"

As I was cruising the bins at the local record store, I happened upon this gem from Eric Carmen. The cover seems to depict Mr. Carmen in the act of sodomizing, or, at the very least, dry humping what appears to be a Macy's department store mannequin. Who does he think he is, Andrew McCarthy?

When I showed it to my buddy, Ted, he said, "No, man, she's probably just drunk, puking her guts out, and he's just helping her out."

Uh, if that were the case, he'd be holding her hair back. That's what guys do when their lady has too many appletinis at Applebee's. Nah, judging by the sly way his free hand seems to be, uh, reaching for his, uh...this is no textbook Heimlich. Just look at the expression on his face. That's not a face you make when you're genuinely concerned about someone's safety. 

Additionally, that red sticker isn't helping Eric's cause any First, you've got a shot of Eric Carmen trying to nonchalantly slide his sausage into Slot A, then you've got a sticker that says, in big letters, "It Hurts Too Much".

I know it was "the '80s" and that a lot of guys better known in the 60's were attempting to make names for themselves by trying to be "as new wave as the next guy", but this particular attempt is just unfortunate.

I can't help wonder about the creative process that led to this album cover being created.

Did Eric Carmen wake up one night in a cold, cold sweat, a vision having come to him almost fully formed? Did he then stumble to the nearest desk in hopes of writing it down before it vanished completely before falling back into bed? And did he then wake up the next morning, take a look at the hastily scribbled note on his night stand that read "me sodomizing Jerry Hall" and go "That's it! That's the album cover!"?

Did he then call up the art department at Arista Records and describe this idea to the art guys? Did they not hang up on him, thinking that it was either a crank call, or that this is always what happens when they answer the boss's phone when he's at lunch?

Nope, it appears that someone in the art department said, "Hey, yeah, that's an awesome idea. Let's get right on it." Next thing you know, there's Eric Carmen staring back at kids from the bins of every Musicland record store in every mall in America, essentially saying, "Howdy, you caught me right in the middle of something.  Buy my album."

To this day, if you ask Eric about this album, I'll bet the first words out of his mouth are, "Man, I can't believe this record didn't go platinum." Yeah, wow, what a shock.

—Superior St. Rehearsal Facility, July 27, 2010

1 comment:

Madiha M.K., November 22, 2011

Thank God im not the only one horrified about this!!! Plus it says on the bottom "tonight you're mine"...subliminals subliminals subliminals... This album cover objectifies, subdues, humiliates, and oppresses women. He looks like he's about to force it on her, to me. And she looks drugged.

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AnneNR   

What IS the inside story ??

This seems beneath Mr. Carmen to be depicted like this. What / Who / When was it decided to go with this questionable effort ? As much as I like Mr. Carmen's music, anything on this album I would be looking for repeated on some other album without this picture on it. To be kind, this makes me very uncomfortable to view, and I am putting this mildly.

I often wonder why if a musician or vocal artist is so very talented, why is it necessary to print your collection of works' cover to be this much of a distraction in the negative? Do they not think that the quality of their musical abilities are not enough to cause people to want to buy their music ?

Does a really talented artist NEED a provocative/evocative/controversial album cover ?

AnneNR

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Kirk   

Eric said he wasn't even in the same room with this girl when this picture of him was taken. Someone did a little photo magic to create the cover shot. 

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LC   
7 hours ago, AnneNR said:

What IS the inside story ??

This seems beneath Mr. Carmen to be depicted like this. What / Who / When was it decided to go with this questionable effort ? As much as I like Mr. Carmen's music, anything on this album I would be looking for repeated on some other album without this picture on it. To be kind, this makes me very uncomfortable to view, and I am putting this mildly.

I often wonder why if a musician or vocal artist is so very talented, why is it necessary to print your collection of works' cover to be this much of a distraction in the negative? Do they not think that the quality of their musical abilities are not enough to cause people to want to buy their music ?

Does a really talented artist NEED a provocative/evocative/controversial album cover ?

AnneNR

AnneNR, that cover is a tragic thing, and it's universally hated by the Eric community. Eric has always distanced himself from the cover design, recalling that he had zero input. It's amazing to me that a record company could put out a record without giving the artist even a look at the cover art.

Anyway, I had a thread up years ago, in 2006, where I and a few others ranked Eric's covers, and I revisited the topic and re-graded covers in 2019, noting that I was too easy on Tonight You're Mine. I think the truly unfortunate thing is that the cover art discouraged listening. The review that Lew Bundles posted proves it—the writer spent the entire piece on the cover, and never even mentioned the music within! 

Here's that thread, where you'll see the Tonight You're Mine cover get pounced on by the few people who responded: 

 

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AnneNR   

It is very disheartening indeed to know that musicians/vocal artists historically---and maybe still---have no say so in how their creative works are packaged and presented for public consumption.

As much as we might like to think otherwise, we are all from time to time "judging a book by it's cover", and this seems to be true of album art as well.

I wish I could slap some ignorant personnel up the back of the head who were involved in doing such a rotten thing as how that album cover was put together without a thought to the music it was wrapped around.

Since it is known Mr. Carmen didn't have anything to do with it, does anyone know WHY it was done? What was it supposed to accomplish? Or was this someone's idea of a sick joke?

AnneNR

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My guess is that it was a deliberate attempt to "dirty up" Eric's clean-cut "All By Myself" ballad-singer image. Tonight You're Mine was a return to rock, and I guess someone at Arista thought an image change would generate bigger sales. The same logic had Miley Cyrus naked on a wrecking ball after she left her Disney role on Hannah Montana. Only for Miley, it worked. Tonight You're Mine was not anywhere near as successful as Eric's first solo LP.

Bernie

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