FREE John Lennon Printable Art

John Lennon would have turned 72 years old today. This year we honor this moptop with his iconic “War Is Over!” campaign. John Lennon and Yoko Ono plastered their faux newspaper campaign across the universe in December of 1969. The simple black condensed font was light on design but heavy in anti-Vietnam War messaging. Half Price Books selected three of John‘s iconic songs and redesigned them as a tribute to this wonderful artist. 

Print, frame and gift these free prints!


 So, let’s hear it, what’s your favorite John Lennon cd and song?

Leave a comment below or tweet us for your chance to win a custom print of your favorite Lennon song – made just for you.

Stephanie is Art Director at Half Price Books Corporate
You can follow Stephanie on Twitter at @saltpepperpress.

Two Sides to Every LP

In this time of the resurgence of vinyl, many LP features have been noted as being superior to the compact disc’s features: warmer sound, bigger and more substantial packaging (sometimes even worthy of a frame), closer identification with an era of great popular music.  One feature that doesn’t necessarily fall into the superior-to-CDs column but that, I think, is worth mentioning is that fact that a record album has two sides.  I grew up in the LP era, and I always think in “record sides.”  I usually have a clear picture of which side of an album a particular song was on, if I played that LP myself.  The song has a particular orientation that fits in on that particular LP side.

So, some music-lovers of my generation do something that listeners of later generations may not do: they recall their favorite album sides.  Here are a few of mine.

Side 2, The Beatles—Abbey Road

This is the one that does come up most often when people talk about favorite album sides.  I probably haven’t listened to side 1 of this record since about 1971.  It’s kind of a hodgepodge of novelty songs, with one classic, George’s ultra-covered “Something,” thrown in.  The last song on that side gets my vote as the worst Beatles song title of all: “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).”  Side 2, on the other hand, starts off with two of the Fab 5-minus-1’s treasures, “Here Comes the Sun” and “Because.”  Then comes the suite of songs that may or may not make cohesive sense together but continue after decades to be a fantastic aural experience, so who cares?

 

Side 2, The Clash—London Calling

All four sides of this album are wonderful (not a common characteristic of the dread double-album).  It was voted Rolling Stone’s best album of the ’80s.  There are lots of standout songs on the record, but for me, side 2 is the one I’ve kept coming back to.  “Spanish Bombs,” Lost in the Supermarket,” “The Right Profile.”  “That’s Montgomery Clift, baby!” 

 

Side 1, Charles Mingus—Mingus Ah Um

I almost hate to give preference to a particular side of this 1959 jazz classic—it’s great from beginning to end.  But side 1 begins with two of the best compositions in all of jazz, a yin and yang opening: the raucous “Better Get It in Yo’ Soul” and the plaintive “Goodbye, Pork Pie Hat” (a tribute to sax player Lester Young).  “Boogie Stop Shuffle” shakes things up again and the rest of the side completes the experience.  So, honor and adore side 1, but don’t ignore side 2’s “Fables of Faubus” and other gems. 

 

Side 1, Harry Nilsson—Nilsson Schmilsson

I’m just wild about Harry, and this breakout record is more consistently great than his later ones, but side 2 starts off with two songs, “Without You” and “The Coconut Song,” that I believe I got my lifetime quota of decades ago.  Side 1 I’ve always thought of as a sort-of “wee hours” suite, from “Gotta Get Up” and “Driving Along” through “Early in the Morning” and the ethereal “The Moonbeam Song.”  “Down” caps it off with a sense of the other end of the wee hours—reckless late-night barroom despair.

 

Side 1, Van Morrison—Moondance

This album is a high point in Van’s copious output and is good all the way through, but side 2, in comparison to the first side, is relatively lightweight and forgettable.  Side 1 contains four of his best songs of all–“And It Stoned Me,” the title song, “Caravan” and “Into the Mystic.”  Right in the middle is “Crazy Love,” which ain’t too bad either.  It’s a line-up that couldn’t be maintained on side 2 and has never been equaled by Mr. Morrison since. 


So, what’s your favorite album side?

Steve is Staffing & Development Manager (aka the “Buy Guy”) at Half Price Books Corporate.

Jim Swayze’s Favorite Section

As you’ve heard me say so many times on the radio, *almost* everything at Half Price Books is half price or less. But here’s a Swayze secret: no matter which store I visit, my first stop is always where I’m pretty sure things won’t be half price … the Collectibles Case! Every store has one under lock and key and it’s a must stop and see, fellow treasure hunters!

Besides the really rare stuff – vintage first editions, out of print goodies and the like, I’ve found autographed copies of Hemingway and Twain, great old vinyl records signed by the artists, and Beatles albums from around the world I’ve never seen (I’m a Beatles freak by the way).

In Austin, Texas, there was an original, yellowed, typewritten report on Charles Whitman and the timeline of UT campus clock tower shooting tragedy back in the 60’s. It was sold to HPB by a descendant of the chief of the campus police at the time. HPB bought it with the intention of donating it to the UT library for their archives, but had it on display among their collectibles for a while and I was able read through it in its entirety. Being the history nut, this was an incredible time warp experience– and it was the first time I truly realized what a fantastic place Half Price Books was. Who knows what may show up when you’re buying from the locals all day, everyday?

While in California on vacation, I found a pristine 45 rpm of Elvis’s first national release, with a perfect dust jacket and not a scratch on The King’s first hit! Now, that was something I had to have … and like most everything at HPB, it was in my price range! It’s now framed in my office. When folks ask if it’s one of those novelty reissues, I’m happy to say, “Nope! It’s certified authentic – another treasure I found at HPB!”

Folks, when you hear me say that you should make as many visits to your local HPB as often as possible, remember that they’re adding to their collectibles almost as often. What a store! Half price? I’m thinking priceless!

 — Jim Swayze