In the Groove (Paperback)

Vintage Record Graphics 1940-1960

By Eric Kohler, Tony Bennett (Introduction by)

Chronicle Books, 9780811821216, 132pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 1999

List Price: 18.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


What the much-admired Blue Note: The Album Cover Art and Blue Note 2 did for jazz, In the Groove does for the sounds of the '40s and '50s, when swing and bebop took off. Selected for their noteworthy design and wonderful illustrations, these visual stunners range from jazz to popular tunes to classical and Latin styles. But it's the lounge vibe that truly runs wild as we tour more than 300 sensational album covers, including seldom-seen issues from Decca, Blue Note, and other labels. A brief text explains what design was like before the photograph took over and how the invention of the LP changed the record business forever. Author Eric Kohler also introduces the stand-out designers and key labels of the period. Cole Porter, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Desi Arnaz, Carmen Miranda their best album covers are all here, and they're all sizzlin' in the heyday of hip. Easy on the eyes, In the Groove is the real thing: the great covers created by the great designers for the musical greats of yesteryear.

About the Author

Eric Kohler lives in New York City and specializes in the music and design of the 40s. He has created CD covers for Blue Note, Sony, and others.

Tony Bennett is a music legend. He originally studied to be a commercial artist.

Praise For In the Groove: Vintage Record Graphics 1940-1960

Reviews from: THE NEW YORKER


During the post-Swing record boom of the forties and fifties, young illustrators with a love of jazz, pop, and classical music invented the ultimate dream job: designing album covers for the likes of Xavier Cugat, Harry Owens and his Royal Hawaiians, and the Andre Kostelanetz orchestra. This arresting guide includes the best work of such designers as Alex Steinweiss, who was the first to put art on both 78s and LPs; the frenetic, Rivera-inspired Jim Flora; and Erik Nitsche, who brought cool Swiss design to record jackets before the onslaught of rock and roll.

by David Greenberger
Any look at a 20-year period of record covers will be subject to the taste of your guide. In the Groove: Vintage Record Graphics, 1940-1960 is blessed with an excellent shepherd—Eric Kohler is both knowledgeable about the era, and he exhibits uniformly excellent taste. The book features hundreds of covers, all in color. One chapter covers the '40s and three of its leading designers; another chapter handles the '50s and five of its pivotal practitioners (it was a growing field). From Jim Flora's humorous inventions to David Stone Martin's moody evocations of jazz, this book is filled with images that have become part of our culture's visual language. Erik Nitsche's work in the classical-music to look like. Compare his riveting work to classical-music field likewise set the tone for what we understand orchestral music to look like. Compare his riveting work to classical music's other art direction trend of simply obtaining the rights to a famous painting and plopping it in a border into the middle of the cover. This book should be in the hands of every music fan and every record-label art department. While we shouldn't try to relive the past, it's essential to remember its important lessons and inventions.