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A gatefold is a type of fold used for advertising around a magazine or section, and for packaging of media such as the phonographic industry.
A gatefold cover or gatefold LP is a form of packaging for LP records which became popular in the mid-1960s. A gatefold cover, when folded, is the same size as a standard LP cover (i.e. a 12½ inch, or 32.7 centimetre, square). The larger gatefold cover provided a means of including artwork, liner notes, and/or song lyrics which would otherwise not have fit on a standard record cover. It became famous as an extension of progressive rock, as the expansive, transient gatefolds by Roger Dean or H. R. Giger became associated with concept albums. Gatefold sleeves were also used when an album contained more than one record; for example, a double album would include one record in each half of the cover.
Starting in the early 1950s, RCA used gatefold packaging for some of their deluxe 45 RPM single releases, such as Nat King Cole's 8-song "Unforgettable" EP with two 45s, released in 1952. Gatefold packaging for LPs was popularized in the late 1950s by band leader and stereophonic studio recording pioneer Enoch Light, so he could fit liner notes he had written describing the sounds in each song on the album sleeve. The first gatefold LP packaging used with a traditional 33⅓ LP may have been the Verve release Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook, issued in late 1956, featuring 32 songs on two long-playing monophonic records, on Verve MGV-4001-2.
Notable gatefold releases
The technique has been used for many notable LPs; in particular:
- The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
- The Beatles - The Beatles (The White Album)
- John Lennon - Some Time in New York City
- David Bowie - Aladdin Sane
- David Bowie - Diamond Dogs
- The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet
- The Kinks - Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
- Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II
- Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV
- Cream - Wheels of Fire
- Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon
- Pink Floyd - The Wall
- Roxy Music - Roxy Music
- Public Image Ltd - Metal Box (Second Edition)
- Siouxsie and the Banshees - Join Hands
- The Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace
- The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
- The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico
- Bob Dylan - Blonde On Blonde
- Bob Dylan and The Band - The Basement Tapes
- The Mothers of Invention - Freak Out!
- The Mothers of Invention - We're Only in It for the Money
- Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Trout Mask Replica
- The Doors - Morrison Hotel
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Axis: Bold as Love
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland
- MC5 - Kick Out the Jams
- The Stooges - Fun House
- The Jackson 5 - Maybe Tomorrow
- Michael Jackson - Off the Wall
- Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
- Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
- The Allman Brothers Band - Eat a Peach
- Carole King - Tapestry
In other publishing
Gatefold ads and highlights are often used as extensions of the covers of publications, folded either outside to overlap the cover or inside to unfold when the cover is opened. Similar folds include the split gatefold and the spadea.
See Folded leaflets for more types of folding.