Classic Album covers : Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake - Small Faces

Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake  by Small Faces was released on 24 May 1968 and reached number one in the UK Album Charts on 29 June where it remained for a total of six weeks

The idea for the cover came from bassist Ronnie Lane

In the late 1960′s, it was popular practice among London bands to store their marijuana in the Victorian-style tobacco tins made by companies like Ogdens. Ogdens’ Nut-brown Flake, a brand of tobacco had been produced in Liverpool since 1899

” We were at a loss as to what to call the album,” recalls drummer Kenney Jones. “On the table in front of us was a tin of tobacco, Ogden’s Nut Brown Flake, which we always used to roll joints and that was it, that was our cover. The tin was round so the cover was round.”

Keyboards player Ian McLagan has a slightly different recollection. “See it wasn’t gonna be a round cover. The idea was it was gonna be a tobacco tin. Andrew got us delivered the actual Ogdens’ archives, scrapbooks — Ogdens’ is a real tobacco company see, very kind of them really — all of their very thick scrapbooks from the 1800′s of all of their labels, the actual labels, and we had the real things in the Immediate offices, really. And we found “Ogdens’ Nut Brown Flake,” and Steve went “Oh!”, and it was a rectangular cover, tin, you see, most of them are.”

The Small Faces wanted to suggest that the album would be good to listen to accompanied by smoking a joint, so they changed ‘nut brown’ to ‘nut gone’ on the basis that your nut’s gone if you smoke that stuff!

Four gold medals show profiles of each member of the band. The first, Steve Marriott is described as ‘The Phantom Street Whistler.’ The second, kenney Jones, is ‘George The Cleaner XVIII,’ Ian McLagan is ‘Maximillian III, ‘ and Ronnie Lane is ‘Leafy Lane.’

The vinyl package opened up to reveal a psychedelic illustration of an elf smoking a long clay pipe. surrounded by leaves of many kinds. Facing this was a photograph of the inside of a tobacco tin, opened to reveal a pack of cigarette papers that looked like Rizlas but were branded SUS - popular East end slang; ‘ a bit sus’ - a bit suspect. Opening the sleeve further revealed individual portraits of the band members

The album was England’s first rock opera, predating Tommy by a year. Only the Small Faces, and Stanley Unwin, could begin a rock opera with ‘Once a polly tie tode, when our young worle was fresh in univerbs and Englande its beauty garden, a young lad set out in the early mordere, to find it deef wisdom and true love in flower petals arrayed…..’

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February 16, 2012

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