Liner notes is a phrase describing a written description on the cover of an LP record. What is the origin of this phrase?
Inside the LP cover there would usually be a thinner paper cover protecting the LP. This is the liner.
I suspect at one time appreciative or informational notes on the LP would have been written or printed on that liner? –
edit: wikipedia confirms my suspicion:
Liner notes were printed on the thin paper sleeve (the "liner") a vinyl record is placed inside, sometimes before placing inside a cardboard outer sleeve.
The first quotation of liner notes in the OED is from 1955 and as an abbreviated liner in a 1953 definition, but I found an earlier example in a Billboard magazine album review from 10 April 1948 (page 37):
A batch of reissued boogie disks including some of the classics in this idiom with some of the all-time B.W. greats featured. Neatly packaged with concise liner notes by Dave Dexter. Should find a place in retailer catalogs since the eight beat stuff is hardly dated. But sale will probably be restricted to aficionados and jazz lovers.