Meet The Residents(1974)
Subtitled The First Album by North Louisiana's Phenomenal Pop Combo, Meet the Residents was released on April 1st, 1974, with a striking cover -- a defaced version of the cover of Meet the Beatles, the Beatles' first album from Capitol Records.
The album had been recorded as a break from the huge Vileness Fats project. Like the band's first release, the 1972 single Santa Dog, this album was produced at home, creating sounds with tape effects and instruments -- which the band still didn't really know how to play. The Residents were not using synthesizers yet. Meet the Residents is more organized than Santa Dog, though, and demonstrated a little more skill with the instruments. The album was fairly close to the traditional album format: a series of songs, some seguÃ©ing into the next.
The Residents put a lot of attention into the packaging as well as the music, though the defaced Beatles cover upset Capitol Records greatly. John Lennon proudly displayed his own copy at home. The cover also became the favorite piece of evidence for the old "The Beatles are the Residents" theory.
In addition to the infamous cover art, the record included liner notes on N. Senada's Theory of Phonetic Organization and a promotion for the Vileness Fats film. 1050 disks were made, though 200 had to be scrapped. These barely sold, so the band made 4000 seven-minute 7" flexy-disk samplers which were included in an issue of the February '74 issue of the Canadian art magazine,File, along with a blurb advertising the album at $1.99 per copy. It still didn't sell -- people thought it was a joke. An ad in the May 17, 1974 issue of Friday, a college magazine from San Francisco, offered a free sample, but even so The Residents only sold 40 copies of Meet the Residents in the first year of its release.
Later, as the band became better known, sales of this first album started to pick up. In 1977, The Residents re-worked the tapes, cutting about seven minutes from the playtime, and released a new version. This release had a new cover, to keep Capitol happy, which depicted four figures with non-human heads: three with prawn-heads, the fourth with a starfish. These were identified as George, John, and Paul Crawfish and Ringo Starfish.