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.

Fantasia-Santana

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.

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