Bob Dylan, Knocked Out Loaded, and the Daughters of Doom
“Let ’em sue us”
In June of 2014 master Bob Dylan researcher Scott Warmuth posted the cover of the January 1939 issue of a pulp magazine, “Spicy-Adventure Stories,” to his Facebook page without comment. To Dylanologists the image of a firecracker señorita about to crown a bandito with an earthenware jug needed no explanation. It was the heretofore unknown source for the album cover art of Dylan’s 1986 album, Knocked Out Loaded.
Although the Knocked Out Loaded cover was attributed to a Charles Sappington, Sappington had been careful to distance himself from its creation in a 2009 interview with “The Houston Chronicle.”
Q: Did you create the image for the album cover? Or just the design?
A: I created the package. However, the deal was at the time … I promised them I wouldn’t talk about it. There was a reason, and it was legal. They had some legal problems with that cover. I suspect enough time has passed, but I have to stick to my word unless I get approval from the Dylan camp. What I can say is that Bob Dylan supplied the original image and then we distorted it from there.
Q: Did you have much interaction with Dylan on the cover?
A: They originally had a photographer shoot some photos of Dylan and Tom Petty. I heard Dylan took a look and threw them all in the trash. The only thing he liked from the shoot was a Polaroid test shot, which is the first thing they gave me. I fiddled with that, but they didn’t care for it, and we went in a different direction. That’s the part I can’t talk about.
“Knocked out Loaded” might have been released as “All Jacked Up” if artist Rick Griffin had won out after originally being approached by Dylan’s management to develop the cover art.
As noted in an exhibition of Griffin’s work, the concept album art is an emotionally intense vision, contrasting the dark blue, rebellious cool of Marlon Brando in the 1953 film, “The Wild One”, with the passionate red of the title lettering. Rick was “jacked up” at that period, having just bought a new Harley Davidson motorcycle, so an autobiographical reference element can be seen in the image.
Although losing out on the “Knocked Out Loaded” / “All Jacked Up” cover, Griffin would work on several Dylan projects through the 1980s, until his death in 1991 on the Harley mentioned in the exhibition notes.
It wasn’t unusual for Bob Dylan to have artists and designers explore different directions in album art based on various working titles. Alternate titles for what would become 2001’s ‘Love and Theft’ included “Snake Dance” and “Down on the Killing Floor,” with both titles also connected to books about black and white race relations.
The title and album art reportedly went through a half-dozen iterations before Dylan finally fixed on ‘Love and Theft’ and a cover modeled after the classic Life magazine design.
In fact, although vociferously denied by the Dylan camp, the cover for ‘Love and Theft’ looks modeled after a specific issue of Life, from December 19, 1969, featuring Charles Manson in an article whose title is eerily similar to Dylan’s album.
But maybe it’s all just coincidence.
Baby Boo-Boos and the Gal Shaped Just Like a Frog
On the inner sleeve of “Knocked Out Loaded” is a list of 121-odd names including acknowledgements of Dylan’s ex-wife, Clydie King, and daughter, Desiree (Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan), a “baby boo boo” (urban slang for an unexpected pregnancy), and a “Gal Shaped Just Like a Frog,” the reference taken from the opening line from Warren Smith’s 1957 rockabilly hit, “Miss Froggie.”
Here’s an annotation of “Knocked Out Loaded’s “Special Thanks To…” list. I didn’t spend a lot of time digging. If I could find a reference to a name easily, it’s there. If not, it’s not.
Just because I cite a reference doesn’t mean I’m right. Dylan might have a close friend whose name is “Marty Feldman” who isn’t/wasn’t the comedian. And yes, there’s a couple of jokes I threw in too.
The original list comes from bobdylan.com. There were a few apparent typos you’ll see marked with [sic]. I don’t know if they appeared on the actual album and got screwed up in the reproduction, or whether Dylan/Sappington’s wife misspelled them… or again, whether I just got it wrong.
The Annotated “Knocked Out Loaded “Special Thanks To…” List
Special Thanks To:
Tony Goodstone — Editor/compiler of “The Pulps: Fifty Years of American Pop Culture.” Source for the “Knocked Out Loaded” cover art (see below)
Norm’s Guitars — Norman Haight. Master luthier, owner of Haight Guitars
Britt Bacon — sound engineer
Susies Pullen [sic] — Susan Pullen is named as Bob Dylan’s dresser/stylist and assistant in various credits
Tony Dimitriades — Tom Petty manager
Jeff Rosen — Bob Dylan factotum and keeper of the keys
Jeff Jones — one-time Sony music exec.
Sid Fernandez — one-time left-handed-pitcher for the LA Dodgers
Steve Howe — left-handed relief pitcher who helped Dodgers beat the Yankees in `81 World Series
Rita & Britta — “Britta” is Britta Lee Shain, one-time Dylan girlfriend who would write a tell-all memoir, “Seeing The Real You At Last: Life And Love On The Road With Bob Dylan.”
Harry Dean Stanton — American actor. Appeared in “Dreamin’ of You” video
Frank Zappa — “A mad scientist constantly pushing the boundaries of music”
Gay Austin — ? The mind boggles after a Google Search
Sam Shepard — American playwright, actor, and television and film director
Ben Saltzman — Married to Naomi Saltzman (see below)
Naomi Saltzman — One-time Dylan business administrator and long-time family friend. According to Sounes’ “Down the Highway” Saltzman was inadvertently responsible for the breach between Dylan and Albert Grossman, after informing Dylan that he couldn’t change the name of his “Dwarf Music” publishing company because Grossman owned half the company.
David Geffen — American record executive, film producer, theatrical producer
Carole Childs — David Geffen employee. Gossip has it one-time Dylan girlfriend.
Jackson Browne — American rock singer-songwriter and musician
Margarita — ?
Vicki — ?
Irene — ?
Mike Campbell — Tom Petty lead guitarist
Howie Epstein- Tom Petty bassist
Tom Petty — American singer-songwriter and musician
Benmont Tench — Tom Petty keyboardist
Stan Lynch — Tom Petty drummer
John Trudell — American author, poet, musician
Claudia Lanier — one-time Ikette/backing vocalist
Mildred & Charlotte — Backing vocalist
Mattie — Backing vocalist
Ludella — Backing vocalist
Bommu Kingsley — Backing vocalist
Sharon — ?
Carol — ?
Randy Newman — American singer/songwriter
Capitol Records — US record label
David — ?
Keith — Keith Richards?
Willie — Willie Nelson?
Bob — Too many to name. Maybe he’s thanking himself.
Ahmet — Amet Ertegun — Turkish-American record executive
Eric — Eric Clapton?
George — George Harrison?
Martin Sheen — American actor
Paul Rappaport — Senior exec at Columbia Records
Andre — ? One would like to think Dylan is thanking Andre the Giant
Zusha — Zigman Zusha Zimmerman, Dylan’s grandfather
Annette — ?
Baby Boo Boo — An interesting credit. A “baby boo boo” is urban slang for an unexpected pregnancy or child (see “Narette” and “Desiree” below).
Jesse Ed Davis — American musician
The Baroness — ?
The Duchess — ?
Helena — Helena Springs, background vocalist and co-writer of several Dylan songs
Narette — Gossip has it that “Narette” is the name of Dylan and Clydie King’s daughter (see “Clydie King.” The name also appears in the dedication of Dylan’s “Lyrics 1962–1985.”
Reggae Queen — ?
Louie & Corrine — ?
Rabbi Spector — ?
Buggs Weidel [sic] — Alan “Bugs” Weidel — Tom Petty pianist and crew chief
Charles Rook — Producer/ Engineer/Technical Guru
Musicland — a US record store which went bankrupt in 2006.
Joey & Louie — ?
Rev. T. Alexander — the pastor of the Mount Calm Baptist Church of Minden, Louisiana
Mark Knopfler — British guitarist, singer, songwriter, etc.
Stage Deli — New York delicatessen with worldwide outposts, including California
Baghdad Restaurant — Arizona-based restaurant
Something Fishy [sic] –Something’s Fishy is a Woodland Hills, CA restaurant
Zucky’s — a Santa Monica delicatessen with a disreputable reputation, now closed
Lil & Mel — ?
Peter Takiff — ?
Bob Meyes — ?
Marshall Gelfland [sic] — Marshall Gelfand is a Dylan legal representative
Bill Graham — American impresario and rock concert promoter
Pammie — ?
peachy — ?
Chrissie Hynde — American rock musician
Sarah Wells — ?
Kim Wilson — ?
Highway Blues Girls — ?
Ronnie Wood — English rock guitarist
Lulu Belle — ?
Walter Yetnikoff — CBS Records/Sony music executive
Ruben Blades — Panamanian salsa singer/songwriter.
Miami Steve — Steve Van Zandt?
Carol — ?
Yvonne — ?
Michael Mann — American film director, screenwriter, and producer
Elliot Roberts — American music manager, record executive
Alan Rudolph — American film director and screenwriter
Iron Mike — Mike Tyson?
Bill Walton — American basketball player and Deadhead
Chaim Guttenberg — ?
Lou Reed — American rock musician
Stevie Wonder — American singer-songwriter
Gal Shaped Just Like A Frog — Line from “Miss Froggie” by Warren Smith
Martine — ?
Harriette Blaze — ?
Diamentina [sic?] –May refer to a “diamantina cocktail,” a drink invented in the area of the Diamantina River in Queensland, Australia. It consists of Bundaberg Rum, condensed milk and an emu’s egg. The Little River Band also has an album with the variant spelling, “Diamentina Cocktail.”
Danny — ?
Tommy — ?
Kate — ?
Lanie — ?
Stan & Huey — ?
Desiree — Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan, daughter of Bob Dylan and Carolyn Dennis
Nicole — ?
Arma Andon — former Columbia Records Marketing Executive
Josh Abbey — sound engineer
Don Smith — sound engineer, mixer and producer
Ruthie — ?
Sly & Robbie — Lowell Dunbar and Robert Shakespeare — Reggaeists
Richie Havens — American folk singer and guitarist
David Kearny [sic] — David Kearney is an acupuncturist, whose bio notes, “…I have treated and traveled with as a physician many entertainment stars including members of the Beatles and Bob Dylan”
Chris Bowman — ?
Marty Feldman — Also named in the credits of “Real Live” and “Street Legal.” Unlikely to be the English comedy writer, comedian and actor, but who knows?
Nick Egan — Record Sleeve Designer/Art Director
Dave Stewart — “The number of professional connections Dave Stewart has managed to make with Bob Dylan is absurdly large,” according to The Bob Dylan Encylopedia. See:
Jack Nicholson — Obscure American actor whose career was tragically brought to a premature close by a motorcycle accident on the set of “Easy Rider.”
Clydie King — American singer. Dylan session singer and backing vocalist. Gossip has it that she and Dylan were secretly married and had two children.
Sappington notes that the lengthy “Special Thanks To” list began life as about 20 names, with Dylan wanting each name hand-lettered rather than typeset. Sappington turned what seemed to be an easy job over to his then-wife. But Dylan called every day with new names to put on the list, and was still adding names the morning the album went to press.
The first name in the “Special Thanks To” list provides a clue to how Dylan found the “Knocked Out Loaded” cover art, detailed by Britta Lee Shain In her 2016 memoir, “Seeing The Real You At Last: Life And Love On The Road With Bob Dylan.”
[Bob] is now looking for an album cover, sort of a ’50s pulp detective magazine thing, and when I mention that I have this friend, Tony Goodstone, with an incredible collection of old movie posters, Bob says, ‘Get him up here. Tomorrow.’
Tony is this heavyset actor, writer, and antiques restorer — he owns a ’58 Fairlane convertible with a working retractable top — who I met at a play in North Hollywood. He has literally written the book on pulp art: a substantive tome entitled The Pulps: Fifty Years Of Pop Culture. His best friend is screenwriter Terry Southern, who wrote the scripts for Dr. Strangelove, Barbarella, and Easy Rider. Tony had offered to read my novel, Detours, which opens with a quote from the Maltese Falcon about ‘the stuff that dreams are made of,’ and the first time he came to my house, he showed up carrying a replica of the famed fake falcon wrapped in newspaper and string, just like in the movie.
Bob and Tony hit it off right away — which is one of life’s great thrills for Tony — and at a meeting that takes place on Bob’s deck in Malibu, the three of us sit at the round redwood table, poring over possible photographs for the album cover. ‘That’s the one!’ Bob says, picking out a pulpy piece from the 40s depicting a sarong-clad woman bashing an urn over some guy’s head.
“I’ll check out the rights,” Tony volunteers.
“Let ’em sue us,” Dylan says.
Dylan seems to be a long-time fan of pulp fiction. “Chronicles: Volume One” is littered with pulp references, most notably to Sax Rohmer’s “Fu Manchu” series. It’s even possible that the name of Dylan’s production company, “Grey Water Park,” is a reference to a setting used by Rohmer in several “Fu Manchu” stories. On the other hand, “greywater” is also a term for recyclable water from baths, which, given Dylan’s penchant for re-use of other people’s material, may be an explanation closer to the mark.
Sappington apparently didn’t do more than distort the original art, eliminate the original magazine type and artist’s signature and add on the “Knocked Out Loaded” title. It’s understandable why Dylan’s business people may have had some concerns about using the image, even 47 years after its original publication and their boss’s laissez-faire attitude aside.
But since the “Spicy” line and publisher Culture Publications had disappeared in the early 1940s, and the artist himself died in 1962, it was probably a safe bet that lawyers wouldn’t be knocking on Dylan’s door, no matter where the rights to the art had eventually landed.
Still it’s a shame that there was no room to credit the actual artist of the “Knocked out Loaded” cover in a list of 121 names that even included a shout-out to the left-handed relief pitcher who helped the Dodgers beat the Yankees in the 1981 World Series. Let’s fix that here.
Spicy Stories & H.L. Parkhurst
“Spicy-Adventure Stories” was part of a group of “spicy” pulps published by Culture Publications in the 1930s, which included “Spicy Detective,” “Spicy Mystery,” and “Spicy Western.” All the Spicy books adhered to a simple two-ingredient formula — action and sex. “Spicy-Adventure Stories” ran for nine years under that title until changing its name to “Speed Adventure Stories.”
The cover artist who illustrated E. Hoffman Price’s “Daughters of Doom”was Harry Lemon (H.L) Parkhurst, born in July 22, 1876 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After the advertising illustration market collapsed during the Great Depression, Parkhurst began a career in the pulps, a healthy market even during the Depression, as pulps made their money from newsstand sales rather than from advertising.
As well as “Spicy-Adventure Stories,” Parkhurst painted covers for many pulps, including the other members of the “Spicy” family. He passed away in 1962. Parkhurst’s original pulp cover oil paintings are considered highly collectable, selling in the mid- to high five figures during the rare occasions when one of his works comes up for auction.
If it still exists, the location and ownership of Parkhurst’s original “Daughters of Doom” painting — which would become the cover of “Knocked Out Loaded” nearly 50 years later — is unknown.
Perhaps he was feeling guilty about the cover of “Knocked Out Loaded” or maybe a couple of years mellowed Bob Dylan a bit. More likely, legal eagles intervened the next time around. In any case, Dylan — at least Columbia Records — was more generous with another artist whose work became the cover art for 1989s “Oh Mercy.”
In 1988 Dylan decided he wanted to use the art from a New York City street mural adorning the side of what was the Kowk Wah Chinese Restaurant at Ninth Avenue and 53rd Street as the cover for “Oh Mercy.”
Remerro Trotsky Willams, who in the `80s was using only his middle name, painted “Dancing Couple” in 1986. Dylan might have spotted it while visiting Avatar Studios, which was only a block away, or maybe he’s a fan of Chinese food and liked the egg rolls at Kowk Wah. Whatever the story, Dylan zeroed in on “Dancing Couple” as the cover art he wanted and Columbia went on the hunt for the artist.
Whether commissioned or not, street art — even graffiti — is generally protected by copyright, and in basic terms, needs only to fulfill two qualifications.
- Have a modicum of creativity
- Be fixed into any tangible medium of expression
The “Dancing Couple” mural obviously met both qualifiers and, unlike Parkhurst’s pulp cover art from the 1930s, was definitely still under copyright. Being no fools, and not wanting an infringement suit to appear in the corporate mailbox at some point, Columbia reps located Trotsky, who lived only a couple of blocks away from his mural, and laid $5,000 on him to grant reproduction rights. And thus, the cover of “Oh Mercy” was born.
The “Oh Mercy” cover was Trotsky’s classic big break, with agents and galleries burning up his phone line after the album’s release in 1989. The “Dancing Couple” mural would even be used for one more album cover, Tom Kimmel’s 45, “Tryin’ to Dance.”
Today, “Dancing Couple” exists only in photographs and memory. It was replaced by two new pieces of wall art in 2011.
In 1990, a few months after the release of “Oh Mercy,” Remerro Trotsky Willams was diagnosed as HIV-positive. He continued to paint. His work can be seen at his home page at the Visual Aids website.
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