What’s Your Favorite Gatefold Album?

Record covers for 33 RPMs provide a tangible, artistic element to the album that digital music cannot emulate. Gatefold albums, which unfold into two panels, provide an even larger canvas for the band to present its style. Gatefolds were popular starting in the late 1950s and common until the CD revolution in the 1980s.

Gatefold covers were used for double LPs as each cover can hold a record. Therefore concert albums regularly used a gatefold design to allow for the needed double LPs of long recordings. Yet gatefolds were often single albums and the extra cover panel was simply used to print lyrics, band photos and artwork.

Elton John A Single Man, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon

Elton John A Single Man, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon

Some notable gatefold albums include The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s, Bob Dylan Blonde On Blonde, Led Zeppelin IV, Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon, Miles Davis Bitches Brew, U2 The Joshua Tree, and Rush 2112.

Soundtracks Gatefold Double LPs: Superman The Movie, Star Wars, Fame, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Soundtrack Gatefold Double LPs: Superman The Movie, Star Wars, Fame, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Gatefold albums for plays and movie soundtracks were common to accommodate the needed double LPs. These provided lots of space for movie stills and helped create the mood of the movie while listening.


Santana Lotus recorded live in Osaka in 1973 and Walt Disney’s Fantasia from 1957 (1940 movie)

Other albums went beyond simply opening up into two panels. The above Fantasia album had a book format with a page spread for each song of the classic soundtrack. The above Santana Lotus concert recording expanded from a gatefold to reveal multiple artistic panels.

BCW Supplies offers numerous solutions to protect, store and display records. As some collectors prefer to present gatefold albums in an open position, we have added Album Sleeves for Open Gatefolds and Toploading Holders for Open Gatefolds. If collectors prefer to store gatefolds in the traditional closed format, BCW has 7mm Wide Toploading Record Holders that accommodate this size. See all of BCW’s music supplies for 33s, 45s and CDs.

What gatefold albums are iconic to you? Share your favorites in the comments below.

Vinyl: Full Circle

As the Digital Age gains an ever increasing momentum, a segment of audiophiles have chosen to embrace the Analog Era in numbers that find old and young alike, enjoying what was once to be cast aside and left as a footnote for music history.

Digital, at that time, was the superior way to go, offering clean, precise sound that fans had hoped for with the premium virgin vinyl issues and half-speed masters released by Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. The delicate nature of the vinyl medium had its limitations with static, scratches and impure raw vinyl, used to further degrade the sound. To satisfy the demand for clarity and storage concerns, the compact disc filled that need rather well. Compact discs were the cure for the ailments of the Vinyl Era, but they came with a stiffness and sterility of sound. Analog, by comparison, had a warmth and genuine feel that helped to make the music a true experience. And as time continues, collectors still seem to enjoy that charm of the procedure…disc to platter, needle to groove.

A recent visit to a high profile pop culture retailer in the Indianapolis shopping district, found an interesting blend of new vinyl issues of past best-selling titles carried alongside the retro players that help transfer those vinyl issues to CD duplication for convenience. The 60’s and 70’s have come full circle and showcase the fact that there are a fantastic amount of well written songs and melodies from those decades, just waiting to be heard again by a new generation.

Baby boomers have plenty of favorites to choose from during that era and are still wanting to embrace the memories of their youth. New audiophiles are just discovering the authenticity of vinyl recordings, not to mention the spectacular array of album covers and additional art inside the gatefold sleeves.

As the re-introduction to albums continues to grow, the need for storage and preservation has timely merits. BCW has added product lines to aid every discerning collector. They offer jackets, sleeves, toploads and storage boxes for media, 45’s and LP’s, with their cause for business, to… “Protect, Store and Display”.

Jimi Hendrix Stamps

Music Icons US Postal Stamps featuring Jimi Hendrix

Even the US Postal Service recognizes the efforts of past musicians in 2013’s Music Icons series of commemorative stamp issues. The likenesses of Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Lydia Mendoza and most recently new series member Jimi Hendrix, are part of this series. The fifth issuance in this series will be Janis Joplin, scheduled for later this year.

It’s great to see a special day, Record Store Day, reserved for the hobby that has molded pop culture to what it is today and will continue to be as the future unfolds.

An overview by Stephen and Joy Butler