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Classic Covers: Music Critics

The Fat Lady Sings by Dick Sargent

The Fat Lady Sings by Dick Sargent

The Fat Lady Sings
Dick Sargent
December 16, 1961

American Idol wannabes, take note: When everyone is wincing, get a clue. Everybody but the pretty blond at the piano, that is, who still has fun even if the lady in blue is drowning everyone out. The male quartet is not happy. Make that a quintet – Beethoven is apparently in pain.

The Trumpeter by Norman Rockwell

The Trumpeter by Norman Rockwell

The Trumpeter
Norman Rockwell
November 18, 1950

This is not the musician’s posture a teacher would demand. The idea for the painting came when Post editor Ben Hibbs talked to Norman Rockwell about the contortionistic body positions of his son playing the instrument. The dog’s expression is either terror at the strange sounds emitting from that thing or concern that the instrument is somehow hurting the kid (or vice versa).

Rockwell’s incredible eye for detail certainly shows in the chair’s slipcover. Does the charming pattern look familiar? Rockwell fashioned the fabric from a painting done by Grandma Moses, a good friend of his. Oh, and love the socks!

Making Music by Alfred E. Orr

Making Music by Alfred E. Orr

Making Music
Alfred E. Orr
June 25, 1921

Everyone’s a critic! This dog has a definite opinion about the clarinet. Artist Alfred E. Orr did six Saturday Evening Post covers, including this delight from 1921.

Offkey Harpist by E.M. Jackson


Offkey Harpist by E.M. Jackson

Offkey Harpist
E.M. Jackson
April 4, 1925

It’s bad enough when the bust of Beethoven winces, but when the instrument itself covers its ears, you are really off-key. Artist E.M. Jackson did 58 covers for the Post and her sister publication, Country Gentleman with subjects from sad to glamorous to downright whimsical, like this one.

Jamming with Dad by John Falter


Jamming with Dad by John Falter

Jamming with Dad
John Falter
December 1, 1956

Jazz greats like Louie Armstrong adorn the walls and pops is sure getting into it, but the tunes just don’t click with the teens. This 1956 generation gap cover was by one of our most beloved artists, John Falter.

Thank you for your comments and suggestions on cover features, like “could you show us some covers people often mistake for Rockwells?” We’ll be glad to do it in the next installment.

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  • Bob McGowan

    Every single one of these covers represent the magic and beauty of regular Americans (and their dogs!) doing their very best to make beautiful music, even if they stumble a bit along the way as only The Saturday Evening Post could depict it. I only wish Benjamin Franklin were here to enjoy what he himself put into motion back in 1728. Surely he’d be thrilled, and so very proud.