After letting the poll for Best Album Name of All Time sit for over a week, the winner was the aptly titled Woke Up This Morning and Found Myself Dead by Jimi Hendrix. I am not surprised this particular album title won, because, well, it’s a pretty awesome album title. But, it’s not my choice. There were a lot of albums to choose from; some complex and other’s remarkably simple. My favorite two albums of all time Dark Side of the Moon and In The Court of the Crimson King were potential choices. Yet, they could not beat one album title that has always struck a chord with me (and no, not because it is the predecessor of a movie where Mena Suvari does a provocative dance).
Do you want a few cool facts about American Beauty by the Grateful Dead? And, this is only about the album name (no music here). It has a working ambigram right on the cover. The title can also be read as “American Reality.” Also, apparently if you look at the album upside down and through a mirror it reads “Devils Kingdom .” So, yes, the Dead’s use of ambigrams is impressive, but it is just one reason why I think it is the best album name of all time.
I am a fan of simplicity; in music, in album names and in life. American Beauty is just that: simple. It does not attempt to do too much in its name. It may seem like a possibly overused album name, but, at the time it was quite original. The Dead are able to present a feeling of a contradictory America at the time of the album’s release. American Beauty can easily transform into American Reality. The Dead create a juxtaposition between an idealistic America with rolling fields and freedom and a real America right down to the bare bones of the drugged cities and fighting inhabitants. Are we America the Beautiful or The Devil’s Kingdom.
Let’s let the Dead decide that.