How The 'Whipped Cream' Girl Sold 6 Million Herb Alpert Records
The 1965 album Whipped Cream & Other Delights by Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass was a hot seller, moving over 6 million units. It's a good album, without a doubt, but it also benefited from Dolores Erickson, the model who appears on the cover slathered in "whipped cream," licking the index finger of one hand and holding a rose in her other. Dolores Erickson's Whipped Cream & Other Delights album cover is one of the most recognizable of the '60s, and has been the subject of numerous tributes and parodies over the years. For Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Whipped Cream & Other Delights was the first of three consecutive #1 albums, and kicked off a period in which Alpert consistently outsold the Beatles. At one point in 1966, Alpert had five albums in the top 20 of the Billboard chart, something nobody else has ever done. The explosion of Herb Alpert's career in the mid-'60s can be traced to Whipped Cream & Other Delights, and cover girl Dolores Erickson.
It has been called the raciest album cover of all time.
In 1965, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass were nearly finished recording their sixth album, Whipped Cream & Other Delights, when the art director for the record label, A&M Records, showed Alpert the photo he intended to use on the cover of the album. It was a salacious image of a beautiful girl who appeared to be nude, covered only in strategically-place whipped cream. Alpert recalled later that his first reaction was, “Wow, that’s too much. Too racy.” But the band ultimately decided to use the photo and the iconic image of the model, Dolores Erickson, became legendary. Here’s the story of Dolores Erickson, the whipped cream girl, and more pictures of her through the years.
Dolores Erickson Had A Successful Modeling Career Before 'Whipped Cream & Other Delights'
Dolores Erickson began modeling at the age of 14. She won a modeling contest and moved to Seattle as a teen to model for Frederick & Nelson in downtown Seattle. From there, she moved to San Francisco to be a staff model for Macy’s and then to Los Angeles and New York City.
A Max Factor Model
In New York City, Erickson signed with Eileen Ford Modeling and appeared in a series of ads for Max Factor that ran in various women’s magazines. At 5 feet, 7 inches, she wasn’t the most statuesque model in the city, but her slim, attractive figure and sparkling green eyes helped her get consistent work.
Album Cover Work
Erickson had worked with photographer Peter Whorf on previous album covers so when he asked her to fly to LA to pose for an album cover for A&M Records, the label owned by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, she agreed. Erickson said she was hesitant to do the cover because she was 29 years old—and beginning to feel her age—and she was three months pregnant!
Peter Whorf Had A Vision For The Album Cover
Photographer Peter Whorf had a clear vision for the album cover. He had been told that the title of the Tijuana Brass album would be Whipped Cream & Other Delights, so he knew immediately what he wanted to do. In his home studio, he asked Erickson to don a strapless bikini. She sat on a stool covered with a fluffy white blanket he used for Christmas snow shots. Then Whorf sprayed her with can after can of shaving cream. Whorf quickly discovered that real whipped cream melted too quickly under the hot studio lights, but shaving cream held up longer. Real whipped cream was used on Erickson’s head and on her finger…the one she is seductively pressing to her lips.
Erickson Called The Photo Shoot “A Lovely Time”
As a model, Dolores Erickson didn’t find it strange that she was asked to pose with whipped cream. She had stranger modeling gigs before. Besides, working with Peter Whorf was like working with an old friend. She recalls, “We just had a lovely time.” Erickson was paid about $1,500, plus expenses for the job. In today’s dollars, that would be around $11,000.
Erickson Was Shocked When She Saw the Photos
Several months later, Peter Whorf mailed a few of the pics from the photo shoot to Dolores Erickson and she was shocked at the seductive nature of the images. She later said, “I was shocked. I screamed. I was a Christian girl.” Erickson was so stunned by the pics that she hid them from her then-husband, who was much more conservative than she was. A year later, she destroyed one of the pics because she felt it was too revealing.
Erickson Stopped Modeling to Raise Her Young Son
The Whipped Cream photo was one of Erickson’s last shoots as a professional model. She gave birth to her son, then divorced her husband and moved to the Seattle area to be closer to family. The Whipped Cream & Other Delights album was a huge success for Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, in part because of the tantalizing cover photo. The album spent a whopping 141 weeks on the Top 40 album chart. Alpert often quipped at concerts, “Sorry, but I can’t play the cover for you.”
Today, Erickson Runs An Art Studio
Dolores Erickson is a beautiful 79 years old and lives in Washington where she runs an art studio. She is often surprised that the Whipped Cream & Other Delights album is still highly-regarded. “It’s fabulous,” she said.
The 'Whipped Cream' Album Cover Has Been Parodied -- A Lot
The Whipped Cream & Other Delights album cover has been parodied again and again over the years. One early example was by comedian Pat Cooper, who posed under a mound of pasta for Spaghetti Sauce & Other Delights (1967). The funk band Sweet Cream might not have named themselves after Herb Alpert's album, but when it came time to release their debut LP, in 1978, Sweet Cream & Other Delights seemed like a good idea. And fans of '80s alternative rock might have been puzzled by Soul Asylum's Clam Dip & Other Delights (1988) -- unless they'd spent a lot of time rooting around in their parents' record collection.
Tags: Album Covers | Dolores Erickson | Herb Alpert | Then And Now
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