Cover Artist: Fazzio

Fazzio as a cover artist remains a big mystery as there is very little information out about him that is actually verifiable today. We don't even know his full (real) name, nor do we have any idea why he stopped designing album covers in 1965 and what happened to him afterwards.

What we do know is that he created about 50 album covers in 1963 and 1964, mostly for the cheapo budget label Crown Records, and that these records find a lot of collector's interest, more for Fazzio's covers than for the actual musical content.

Crown Records was a budget label, run by Joe and Saul Bihari from the mid-1950s on. It ranks quite near the bottom, even for budget labels, when it comes to manufacturing quality of both vinyl and sleeves, and the label used to re-recycle old recordings or royalty-free material over and over again, sometimes even with made-up fantasy artist names.

However, there is also quality music on Crown Records, especially from blues and jazz artists, although you can find them usually in better form and shape on other labels. But this is where Fazzio comes into play, and why his distinctive visual style paired with the 'aura' of a budget label like Crown, makes these releases a memorable snippet of musical history for the early 1960s... and collectible.


It appears that Fazzio took a photograph of the artist and used techniques like airbrushing and colourizing to create an image that looked more like a painting than the original photo. The picture above shows the original photo of Chuck Jackson, as it appears on the 'Come On A Love Me' single (Logo Records 7004, 1959. Image courtesy of 45cat.com) and the Fazzio creation for the 1963 Crown LP (CST 354) that re-released the two tracks from the Logo single together with several Young Jessie tunes from the 1950s.


The extent of which Fazzio made the photographs look like oil paintings is not always the same, as you can see in the gallery below. Even though 50 years have passed now, original Fazzio covers are still relatively easy to find, but it can be quite challenging to find them in near mint condition as the cheap material didn't age well and the seams are almost always split.


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Rames El Desouki

The Traveller Publishing

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