Sometimes it’s obvious an album cover was shot in New York City—like Physical Graffiti, Billy Joel’s Turnstiles, or that wonderful New York Dolls cover of the band decked out in front of Gem Spa in the East Village.
Other times it’s not so easy to tell. Take the cover for the Who’s The Kids Are Alright, photographed in 1968 by Art Kane.
With the band wrapped in a Union Jack flag, you’d never know they were leaning against the base of the statue of German revolutionary and New York reformer Carl Schurz, located at Morningside Drive and 116th Street.
Neil Young doesn’t come across as a New York kind of guy; he’s more California or Canada. But here he is walking past NYU’s law school building on Sullivan and West Third Streets on the cover of 1970’s After the Gold Rush, captured by Joel Bernstein.
The website popspotsnyc.com has some incredible photos and backstory on After the Gold Rush and other New York–centric albums.
Foghat—does anyone remember Foghat? In any case, the English band shot the front of their 1975 LP Fool for the City in the middle of 11th Street between Second and Third Avenues in the East Village.
The block hasn’t changed much, and the back of St. Mark’s Church is recognizable. Off the Grid, the blog for the Greenwich Village Society of Historical Preservation, has a nice post covering the then and now.