Al Hirt was an American trumpet player and bandstand member who rose to prominence in the sixties back when trumpet players and bandstands were still somehow relevant. Though he died in 1999 he left behind a legacy in music, landing over twenty albums on the Billboard Charts and earning a few gold records along the way. He is also notable for having some of the most perplexing album covers in the history of music. Even during a time when album covers weren’t known for being grand artistic statements Al Hirt allowed his covers to speak from him, and they said “I am crazy.”
Let’s start with a pretty standard picture of Al. Upon close examination there are three defining features of this cover:
His obesity, which is rampant
His beard, which I’m assuming he lifted from a woodsman
His trumpet, the source of his power
Throughout this gallery those three things shall remain consistent as they were consistent throughout Al’s life. One cannot exist without the other two parts, for they maintain the perfect balance that is a smooth dixieland solo.
Honey in the Horn is the album that made Al famous. As you can see he’s still under wraps for the cover at this point, his face obscured by the horn he wields. There’s something almost deeply contemplative about the look in his eyes, however, as though he can see through the mist of time itself.
One year later sees the release of Beauty and the Beard and a deeper understanding of why you keep Al Hirt’s face behind large brass instruments. Somewhere during the photo sessions for the album the photographer said “Hey Al, smile,” but left off the ever-important “like someone who isn’t thinking about committing sexual assault.” But God bless Ann-Margret. Even though the sweaty grip of Al Hirt’s beard bears down on her shoulder and neck at full force she can still manage a smile without tears.
Fun fact: Al Hirt was a fat, fat man. In fact, one of his nicknames was the “Round Mound of Sound.” Most other people would probably find that insulting, but then again most other people probably don’t ear confectionery snacks out of a musical instrument. That’s either a sign of a decadent lifestyle or a gross misunderstanding of how plates work.
Now here’s something else that’s a cause for concern. If there’s something that the those with weight problems shouldn’t be doing, it’s wearing an all-white suit a la Colonel Sanders. Not only does it look incredibly tacky, but it may also lead others to believe that you own at least one plantation somewhere in Georgia.