Picture sleeves, also known as picture covers or picture bags, are the printed paper sleeves that protected 45 RPM singles. While the use of picture sleeves, as opposed to plain sleeves or ones bearing the logos of record labels, was widespread in the United States and France during the 1950s and beyond, this colorful packaging did not gain popularity in the U.K. until the 1970s. Thus, sleeved copies of Beatles and Rolling Stones 45s from the 1960s were those pressed for the U.S. market.

The biggest American act of the 1950s was Elvis Presley, whose original five 45s and 78s for Sun Records in 1954 and ’55 were protected by “Sunburst” sleeves. Reissues of those records for RCA, as well as new recordings, featured photographs of the young singing star.

Other classic picture sleeves from the 1950s includes those printed for 45s by Ricky Nelson, as he was known in 1957, when his single for Imperial, “Stood Up,” featured a dreamy, teen-heartthrob portrait on its cover. That same year, an equally handsome Johnny Mathis released “Chances Are” on Columbia.

The Beatles landed in the United States in February of 1964, but their sleeved 45s preceded them. The earliest examples are “She Loves You” on the Swan label and “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” backed by “I Saw Her Standing There,” for Capitol. The Rolling Stones responded with a blues rocker popularized by Bo Diddley called “Not Fade Away” on London Records, but their big U.S. hit would not come until 1965 with the release of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

Home-grown bands had their hits and classic, vintage, picture sleeves, too. In 1964, the Beach Boys released “Fun, Fun, Fun” for Capitol, followed in 1965 by “California Girls” and then “Good Vibrations” in 1966. The Supremes had a string of chart-toppers for Motown Records during those same years, many of which featured the same trio of portraits of Florence Ballard, Diana Ross, and Mary Wilson on their picture sleeves. An especially rare picture sleeve from 1967 is the one for “Break On Through” by the Doors.

Other musicians whose pictures sleeves have visual appeal, if not extraordinary value, are those for country stars Merle Haggard, whose “Sing Me Back Home” features a shot of the singer/songwriter looking over his shoulder. As for Johnny Cash, the black-and-white photograph from 1968 of him leaning against the wall of Folsom Prison is a classic.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]

317X

317X

Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Mybeatles.net

Mybeatles.net

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

The Beatles "why" Mgm Promotional 45 With Picture SleeveThe Beatles;can't Buy Me Love On 45 + Pic SleeveThe Beatles "ain't She Sweet" Atco Picture Sleeve Only No RecordThe Jam,sound Affects Pink Vinyl L.p,sealed!! 12" Disc,picture Sleeve.tesco OnlyThe Mama's & The Papa's 45 Dunhill California Dreamin W/ Ps Sleeve Promo 1965The Beatles "my Bonnie" Mgm Promotional 45 With Picture SleevePunk Record Collection Lot X 24 Vinyl 7" Ps Singles Chelsea/devo/clash/buzzcocksThe Beatles Picture Sleeve~can't Buy Me Love/you Can't Do That~w/ 45The Supremes "your Heart Belongs To Me" Motown 45 With Picture SleeveGenesis. Counting Out Time 7" Ps ItalyThe Risk Why Do You Lie Private Ca Powerpop Punk Kbd 45 W/picture Sleeve 7" NmDamned Dozen Girls 7" Single Ps Bolivia Unique PressingPrince -paisley Park- Very Rare Uk Shaped Picture Disc With Stickered SleeveThe Beatles "she Loves You" Swan 45 With Picture Sleeve (white Label)Dow Jones And The Indus$trial$ 1980 Can't Stand The Midwest 33 Ep Ps Punk Nos NmX-ray Spex. Let's Submerge Blue Vinyl Demo E.p. 7" Ps ItalyThe Beatles "and I Love Here" Capitol 45 With Picture SleeveProtex Don't Ring Me Up 45 Uk Rough Trade 1978 Picture Sleeve Punk Power PopThe Beatles "i'll Cry Instead" Capitol 45 With Picture SleeveThe Beatles "ticket To Ride" Capitol 45 With Picture SleeveJob Lot 23 Queen 45s / Singles - Bohemian Rhapsody Picture Sleeve Flash Save MeThe Smiths Record Collection Lot X 7 Vinyl 7" Ps Singles Clean CopiesThe Jam - Going Underground - Ultra Rare Fully Signed 7"single Picture Sleeve Foreigner Ac/dc "promo" Foreigner Vs Ac/dc Ps205 Lp Ew1163X-ray Spex. I Am A Cliche 7" Ps GermanyThe Byrds "mr. Tambourine Man" Columbia Red Vinyl Wlp 45 With Picture SleeveWolf Alice. Giant Peach 7" Ps UkThe Beatles "do You Want To Know A Secret?" Vee-jay 45 With Picture SleeveThe Beatles "love Me Do" Tollie 45 With Picture SleeveThe Beatles. Cant' Buy Me Love E.p. 7" Ps SwedenThe Smiths This Charming Man 12" 45 Uk Rough Trade 1983 Picture SleeveThe Smiths What Difference Does It Make 12" 45 Uk Rough Trade '84 Picture SleeveShelley Fabares Wlp Cp 631 What Did They Do Before R &r/ Very Unlikely & PsDancing Cigarettes 1980 S/t 4 Song 7" Ep Gulcher 007 Ps Rare Indiana Punk Nos NmJoy Division. Transmission. 7" Ps UkRitchie Valens Sings~ep Dfep-111~ltd Memorial Series~card Picture SleeveKeith Relf Shapes In My Mind Epic Red Vinyl Wlp 45 With Picture Sleeve YardbirdsThe Who. Baba O'riley. 7" Ps BelgiumNirvana,incesticide,rare Yellow Vinyl Dutch L.p,12" Disc,picture Sleeve,cobain.The Beatles Mexican 7'' Gatefold Picture Sleeve Ep Ex/ex Con George Harrison Got My Mind Set On 45 7" Nm Us Error Pressing W/ps Vinyl BeatlesT.rex. Dandy In The Underworld Demo 7" Ps UkSmall Faces. Sha La La La Lee 7" Ps ItalyKylie Minogue. In My Arms Can't Get You Out Of My Head Pink Vinyl 7" Ps UkT.rex. Zip Gun Boogie 7" Ps JapanX-ray Spex. Artificial Blue Vinyl 7" Ps GermanyX-ray Spex. Oh Bondage Up Yours. 7" Ps AustraliaThe Smiths. Ask 7" Ps GermanyThe Remains "diddy Wah Diddy" Epic Red Vinyl Wlp 45 With Picture SleeveKate Bush. Them Heavy People 7" Ps JapanFour Tops Northern Soul 45 Ask The Lonely / Where Did You~ Motown Picture SleeveDonna Brooks 45 Ep Bethlehem 104 Soft And Slow 1954 Original W/ Ps SleeveLed Zeppelin. Black Dog 7" Ps GermanyThe Stranglers-skin Deep/here & There-uk Epic+ps+rare Free Tattoo TransferThe Zombies "she's Coming Home" Parrot 45 With Picture Sleeve The Cure - Boys Don't Cry 7" Original Uk 1st Press 1979 Fiction Punk Pic SleeveRadiohead Creep Ltd Edn Numbered Live Ep Uk Parlophone Picture SleeveThe Honeycombs "colour Slide" Interphon 45 With Picture Sleeve The Zombies "tell Her No" Parrot Promotional 45 With Picture Sleeve The Beatles. Les Beatles E.p. 7" Ps France