Quotation marks in release name

Searched & couldn’t find a topic on this, so asking. I know the guidance is “the name is what’s on the cover”, but I tend to think of quotation marks around a name or title as a stylistic choice by the label or cover designer, not something that should be reflected as part of the name.

To be clear, I do not mean nested quotes, but something like Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch!, which has as its cover:

This was common for the title of albums, films, novels, and other works in the first half of the 20th C., but I’ve always understood it to be a stylistic choice, not a functional one.

What’s the consensus here?

for ease of seeing a consensus, here’s a poll

  • include quotes: ‘Out to Lunch!’
  • exclude quotes: Out to Lunch!
  • other (specify below)
0 voters

I personally read the guidance to include these quotes, so that’s how I would add the example above, as ‘Out to Lunch!’, especially if it’s presented that way in multiple places on the release (the spine, back cover, etc.)

In this particular case, the title is rendered two ways on the original 1964 vinyl release (per the images attached here at MusicBrainz):

  • 'OUT TO LUNCH!' (front cover, shown here as monospace type to force straight quotes)
  • OUT TO LUNCH (back cover & disc labels)

Unsure of the spine on the original, but my new reissue (2021 Blue Note vinyl reissue, not actually entered here in MB so I’ll fix that shortly, here it is at Discogs) has the spine as


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I have an older Blue Note CD release which omits the quotation marks, as well as the exclamation point, on spine, back cover, and medium. Only the front cover has both.

Wikipedia includes the exclamation point, but not the quotes. Likewise the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings. (Not that either of those are definitive, but they do suggest common usage.)

Yeah, I noticed that too: when it’s cited elsewhere, it’s this formatting/style:

Out to Lunch!

Adding a little more to this, Wayne Shorter’s Speak No Evil has similar stylistic quotes that aren’t included in the title for the release group or any releases:

This is another case where it seems more like a designer’s choice than artist intent. On the original LP release and the Blue Note CD reissues, the quotation marks appear only on the front cover; back cover, medium, and CD spine omit them.

My thinking is: when this kind of ambiguity exists, use the more standardized version, which in this case would be without the quotes. That’s not in the guidelines, but I believe it is consistent with the spirit of guidelines on title capitalization and artist intent.


ok consider this. i have an original vinyl of this that has no cover art here, but is largely the same as the release below. it bears a release title of just ‘jazz impressions of black orpheus’. but i’m not convinced the record label couldn’t have, say, kept the same catalog number but slapped a new title on the cover once the single ‘cast your fate to the wind’ got known. i only know what’s in my hand and i don’t trust it. it’s got quotation marks, what i think was the original title is a subtitle… send help

the one i have: (the media card is showing the release cover art here, but the release has none of its own)

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Looks at cover, looks at spine. Slaps Marketing person.

I assume the actual CD disc also has the real title on it?

I’d use Real Title as seen on spine and just alias the alternate for a search.