Home > Album cover art > Great covers: Herb Alpert – Whipped Cream and Other Delights

Great covers: Herb Alpert – Whipped Cream and Other Delights

I cheerfully admit that I like this album cover for all the wrong reasons. The picture is not exactly, to use the dreaded and misleading term, “politically correct” (less so in an age when the troubling terminology of bukkake is gaining mainstream currency). The woman is objectified, of course. The whipped cream is not supposed to guarantee her modesty, and, in the mind of the male heterosexual beholder, it is not meant to be removed by such conventional means as a cloth. The model’s come-hither look and suggestive lick of her finger communicate as much. So the reader will have to believe me when I claim that my attraction to the cover relates only and exclusively to the very attractive typeface.

In fact, it isn’t even whipped cream the nice lady is covered in, apart from the dollop on her head. Dairy products are not popular among photographers as these have a strange way of melting and going off under the hot lights. So the vaguely Mexican-looking model going by the widespread Latin name of Dolores Erickson, is in fact enveloped in shaving cream. You wouldn’t know it from the photo, but the beautiful, Seattle-born Dolores was three-months pregnant at the time. Then 28 years old, she had been a model for 13 years. And she boasted the title of her hometown’s “Miss Longshoreman” on her resumé.

Dolores had been an old friend of Alpert’s. For the photo-shoot, by the art director Peter Whorf who paid her the going rate $1,500, she wore a strapless bra and chiffon (to complement the shaving cream). At one point, the story goes, her bra slipped a little, as Whorf kept on shooting. The resulting pictures were tame by today’s standards, Dolores would later say. Still, she hid them from her very conservative husband so as not to upset him. In such a culture, the eventual LP cover (which at first Alpert didn’t like) must have seemed nearly obscene.

This was not her first or last LP cover. Dolores puts the number of her album cover appearances at 17, though only four are normally referred to by name. These include the LP sleeves of Nat King Cole’s The Touch of Your Lips (1961), The Sandpipers’ Guantanamera (1967), and Cy Coleman’s Piano Witchcraft (1963). Today, Dolores is an impressionist painter living near Seattle.

dolores_erickson_covers

When Whipped Cream And Other Delights was released in 1965, truly innovative cover art was a nascent phenomenon. So it is not particularly astonishing that the cover of Whipped Cream, like many of its near contemporaries (almost every Beatles album to start with) has been widely parodied, with mixed results. Find imitation covers (including a rather disturbing one involving tomato sauce) at The Beauty of La Musique, one of my favourite blogs.

Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – A Taste Of Honey.mp3
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – Love Potion No. 9.mp3

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  1. Risser
    May 12th, 2009 at 14:40 | #1

    I’ve seen the ‘outtake’ photos. They’re around on the web somewhere, and they are more racy. Definitely tame by today’s standards, but sometimes that means I, uh, enjoy looking at them more.

    Also, I’ve always really dug that Piano Witchcraft cover, probably for similar reasons.

  2. David
    May 12th, 2009 at 20:02 | #2

    My Dad was a big TJB fan and I remember staring at that particular album sleeve, willing the whipped cream to move…never had any luck with that, but always thought that (and other) TJB cover(s) were great…of course, then the Ohio Players came along with album jackets that blew them out of the water, but still…

    D.

  3. May 13th, 2009 at 13:49 | #3

    It’s shaving foam? That put me right off. Shaving foam’s horrible when you get it on your tongue.

  4. ianbalentine
    May 14th, 2009 at 15:56 | #4

    Love Herb Alpert, deliciously cheesy! BTW, they’re streaming the new Wilco album in it’s entirety on their site.

    Uncle E

  5. May 16th, 2009 at 03:43 | #5

    Oh God. I remember staring at that cover in our local library and sneaking it over to some unpopulated part of the stacks, drooling over it like a Playboy magazine. Good times.

  6. May 18th, 2009 at 01:11 | #6

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  7. sw2boro
    July 17th, 2010 at 15:14 | #7

    Major Dude, you may be interested in this alternative cover I spotted – inferior on all levels, I’m sure you’ll agree, but worth seeing all the same.

    http://lpcoverlover.com/category/alternative-cover/

  8. sw2boro
    September 20th, 2010 at 20:32 | #8

    If you’re interested, BBC4 had a documentary about Herb & the Brass on on Friday just gone, followed by a live show from the 60s. I DVD’d it…

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