The Who’s Who’s Next bears one of the most iconic album covers of all time. This isn’t it.
Alternate album covers are probably my favorite subgenre of album collecting. The story behind the original sleeve for Appetite For Destruction, for example, makes tracking down the original Rob’t Williams sleeve worth my time, or at least it would if I didn’t already have a copy. Those “here’s how it was, here’s how the label changed it” tales are great.
So my excitement when stumbling across this copy of Who’s Next was disproportionate to the number of copies I already own. I have old copies, new copies, CDs with bonus tracks, and even a half speed master, but what the heck was this? The photo on the cover clearly was from the ’80s–Kenny Jones is visible behind the drum kit and Roger’s rock god lion mane is gone–and the artwork was hideous. What the heck does an eagle have to do with Who’s Next, and what’s up with that cheap looking font?
The concert photo plus the “import” sticker on the shrinkwrap suggested maybe this was a bootleg. The Who sometime during the ’80s performing Who’s Next in its entirety? Sold! Nope. I got this sucker home, threw it on the turntable, and heard the same record I already own several times. So what gives?
It turns out that Platinum was a Swiss label that reissued several American albums during the mid-80s. Most were repackaged in a similar format–the bad font, the eagle, the concert photo. I can’t find an explanation for why. One would assume that Platinum was trying to get around copyright issues, but they had no problems reproducing the music so that explanation doesn’t hold up.
A Platinum version of Who’s Next will cost you around 15 bucks, but if you’re in it for the music rather than the novelty go for the Masterphile Series pressing on MCA. That one regularly trades in the $25-50 range, and its worth every penny. Happy hunting.
Categories: From the Stacks