From both a collector standpoint and one of my favorite Prince protégé’s Vanity, the “Wild Animal” LP which is her debut solo album is of two fold interest to me. Firstly it holds a special place since it was her solo debut and with complete creative control she managed to create something original both content and visually, when at the end of the day because of her beauty she could of easily just relied on selling sex like a lot of corporate created sex pots that are thin on talent or imagination and solely rely on the label providing a large team of writers, producers, stylists, etc. Secondly, as a collector many years into focusing on my favorite Prince protégé’s I stumbled across the fact that there are apparently two different official covers for “Wild Animal”. The covers are exactly the same the only difference are the graphics to the title and artist name. One being a yellow and blue combo, the other a red and larger font white combo.
First the technical stuff. Vanity quit mid way through filming of Purple Rain to sign not only a record deal with Motown’s Berry Gordy as a solo act, but was also offered a film deal and that film would turn out to be the cult classic “The Last Dragon”. The stunning beauty took on the character of a charismatic, and alluring t.v. video show host. Debuting in 1984, “Wild Animal” may have not done the numbers one would hope for, but it certainly didn’t seem to affect her ascent in success music or film. The two singles that made the most noise chart wise were “Pretty Mess” and “Mechanical Emotion” which is a co-lead with Morris Day of The Time. Although I personally have always loved the title song “Wild Animal” myself, it was never released as a single. Many numbers on the album are penned by Vanity or she had creative control in most of the content, as well as the image she curated post Vanity 6, and her time with Prince. Having total creative control over her image and material allowed her to create a solely unique, stunning yet completely new take on the mysterious but beautiful pop artist that to this day, I don’t think anyone has been able to create a more original image so uniquely their own, authentic and not the typical manufactured sex-pot trope. Her voice may have been thin or airy, but her stage presence, and uniqueness more than made up for it.
I don’t know if I haven’t surfed through enough vinyl sites, stores, or fan forums but I have yet to hear anyone else mention this, and more to that if there was a number associated with one or the other colours/variations or was it merely a advertising gimmick to sell more copies and they were both commercially available in equal numbers?
I tend to think that the Wild Animal LP cover with Vanity written in yellow, and wild animal in smaller bold type in blue seems to be the more common, or at least is the more promoted cover on sites that talk about Vanity’s discography, or have it for sale. The variation is the same exact photography but with Vanity written in Red, and wild animal written in a larger same font type white instead of blue Wild Animal.
I have a copy of each with original inserts, bar code numbers and everything is exactly the same. I found the alternative copy browsing a reputable foreign site many years ago. Because it was such a long time ago, I don’t remember if it was the “red” or “yellow” that I purchased.
The only slight clue, or commentary I can add to this, or have noticed is that all Promo copies of Wild Animal that I have seen online or otherwise have been the “yellow and blue graphic” cover stamped with the prototypical gold “promo only/use” stamp, the Motown label was white instead of their standard purple/white on all Motown albums. There are both Japan and US original “red” or “yellow” copies so it isn’t a regional difference.
If anyone out there in Vinyl land who is a Vanity fan can add to this or answer if one or the other are more limited, or if it was just a advertising gimmick to entice people to buy two copies instead of just one? I would love to know the answer to this mystery, as I’m sure many others have come across both copies and may have missed the differences as they are subtle, or assumed one version or the other was a bootleg, when in fact neither are not.