The ever-reliable website knowyourmeme.com defines a ‘sleeveface’ as “a participatory photo meme that involves placing a record sleeve in front of one’s face and taking a profile picture, which reveals a ‘hybrid face’ of the subject and famous person depicted on the vinyl cover”. But which are the best sleevefaces on the internet, and how can you achieve the glory of convincingly transforming into your favourite music icon? We asked the creators of the phenomenon, Sleeveface.com for their very favourite examples.
Using The Smiths’ 1987 single ‘Sheila Take A Bow’, which features Warhol superstar Candy Darling, this is some serious sleeveface. Look at the attention to detail! This dedicated sleevefacer has sourced the appropriate clothes and jewellery to complete the look. A more dour Smiths fan might say that joke isn’t funny any more, but they’d be dead wrong, because we’re just getting started.
Released in 1977, David Bowie’s ‘Low’ was the first instalment of the three albums that would be dubbed the ‘Berlin trilogy’, a series of experimental and avant-garde works produced in the German capital during a period of personal rehabilitation and professional rejuvenation for the star. The point being: he didn’t spend that time watching cartoons in a crap chair.
Bryan Ferry’s second post-Roxy Music solo outing, Another Time, Another Place, this was largely a covers album, which is quite fitting given the nature of sleeveface.
A live record taped at Howard Stein’s Academy of Music in December 1973, Lou Reed’s ‘Rock n Roll Animal’ is a white-hot strut through the former Velvet Underground man’s swaggering back catalogue. But you can also use it for chilling on the sofa in sensible shoes.
As with The Smiths sleeveface that opened this gallery, this effort, featuring Olivia Newton John’s 1977 greatest hits compilation, is an admirably complete affair, with the sweaters matching perfectly. It’s only a shame that Olivia’s head is so big on the sleevefacer’s body that she looks like a Pez dispenser.
A staggering sleeveface. A masterpiece. The scarf, the sweater, the gravity defying sleeve – it’s all inspired. Greek singer Demis Roussos, who was once in prog-rock group Aphrodite’s Child, sold over 60 million records before his death last year and this is a fine tribute to the man who was described in one obituary as “an unlikely kaftan-wearing sex symbol”.
‘Heart Of Glass’ was kicking around as a demo for three years before New York new wavers Blondie turned it into a banging disco track that reached number one in the UK and US. But would Debbie Harry have worn that naff jacket with a cartoon skull-and-crossbones emblazoned on the front? Readers, we put it to you that she would not.
Kylie Minogue released her first Greatest Hits compilation in 1992. That same year, she discussed the changes she’d gone through in the last five years, from soap actress in Neighbours to full-blown pop megastar. And look, she’s inspired this poser to go through a change of their own, albeit a brief one that involves you holding a sheet of cardboard over your face.
The Cure called their 1986 singles collection Standing On A Beach and the cover cleverly depicts a man quite literally standing on a beach. That man was retired fisherman John Button, who said of the band – 10 years into a successful career – “If I can help these youngsters break through, after all, why not?” Who knew he’d be breaking the internet after all this time?
American singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman’s debut album, featuring the single ‘Fast Car’, was a surprise hit in 1988. Her talent had been discovered a year earlier, when fellow Tufts University student Brian Koppelman attended one of Chapman’s gigs and recommended her to his father, co-owner of song publisher SBK Publishing, which led to her getting signed. Looks like you own Brian a pint, Tracy.