Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The ABC Album Cover That Never Was

In late 1969, Berry Gordy commissioned portrait artist M. Werlin to paint a portrait of the Jackson 5 for their ABC LP cover. You see the results of his labors above. Although he captured their youthful energy, I'm just as glad they went with the photographic cover. Young fans were hungry for photos and would have felt cheated with an art cover, even if it had been painted by Michelangelo.

A local L.A. newspaper published a story about the artist and the painting, and the accompanying photos show him with the Jackson 5 posing patiently. Even in black and white, with their grainy newsprint quality, I prefer both of the photos below to the painting. Thank you, Mr. Gordy, for scrapping this plan!


  1. I prefer the picture cover too!
    There's something about those big letters! Like in the Alpha Bits commercial, they had some of those big letters too!
    I love them!

  2. Wow, great research, I never knew this. Boy, it's a bit cheesy to me, the finished cover is so much better. Maybe I'm just jealous cause I'd KILL to be that artist!

  3. nice spotlight
    hurry too that this sleeve wasn't released, i remember j5collector website (that was good all days...)and especially the jackson 5 shots at the beach for the "abc" lp, that were great pictures
    hope you'll stay for a while now