From Abbey Road to Paul’s Boutique, some seemingly innocuous places have been so immortalised by the iconic record sleeves that bear their image that they’ve become destinations in their own right. We hopped on Google Maps to bring you 28 real life locales that adorn some of your favourite records, and where to find them.
Led Zeppelin, ‘Physical Graffiti’ – 96 and 98 St. Mark’s Place, East Village NYC: “I had come up [with] a concept for the band based on the tenement, people living there and moving in and out,” said album designer Peter Corriston. The location he finally chose happened to be the same two buildings featured in the Rolling Stones vid for ‘Waiting For A Friend’.
Bob Dylan, ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ – Jones Street/ West 4th Street, NYC: A candid photo taken at the corner of the West Village’s Jones St. and West 4th St. by photographer Dean Hunstein, this sleeve shows Dylan and then-partner Suze Rotolo walking down the road near their apartment. It’s a sweet and simple shot, but if you’re on a Dylan pilgrimage then it’s a must-visit.
Elliott Smith, ‘Figure 8’ – Solutions Audio Visual Repair, 4334 W. Sunset Boulevard: The wall that Elliott Smith was photographed standing in front of (located on the side of a tech repair shop) has since been made into a memorial for the singer, with messages and lyrics frequently daubed on the surface. Touchingly, the wall has been restored to its original form by fans each time.
Oasis, ‘What’s The Story (Morning Glory)?’ – Berwick St, Soho, London: Taken on Soho’s record shop mecca Berwick Street, the cover of ‘What’s The Story…’ showed two men crossing paths – DJ Sean Rowley and album producer Owen Morris. These days, Berwick Street is still home to a number of store including old favourite and veritable indie treasure chest, Sister Ray.
David Bowie, ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust’ – 23 Heddon St, London: Taken under a sign reading ‘K.West’ on the London street, the album’s cover is a simple shot but one that’s been analysed and canonised to the nth degree. Was ‘K.West’ a code?! What’s the importance of the phone box?! The cult of Bowie continues.
The Streets, ‘Original Pirate Material’ – Kestrel House, City Road, London: Hotfooting it to a tower block in Islington might not be the most picturesque pilgrimage, but that’s where you’ll have to head to have a peek at the cover of 2002’s ‘Original Pirate Material’. Taken by German snapper Rut Blees Luxembourg, the shot in question is entitled ‘Towering Inferno’.
Beastie Boys, ‘Paul’s Boutique’ – Corner of Ludlow St and Rivington St, New York: Shot by photographer Jeremy Shatan, the cover of Beastie Boys’ 1989 LP bore the image of a gritty area of New York, with its focus on the corner shop owned by Lee’s Sportswear. Nowadays, Wolfnights sandwiches occupy the shop, but a mural depicting the album cover has been daubed on the wall in recognition.
Tame Impala, ‘Lonerism’ – Luxembourg Gardens, Paris: Proving that he truly is an artistic polymath, the cover art for ‘Lonerism’ was actually taken by Kevin Parker himself (and then edited by Aussie artist Leif Podhajsky, but still…) The shot is of the exterior of the rather lovely Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, with the separating fence emphasising the lonely themes of the record. Clever.
The Beatles, ‘Abbey Road’ – Abbey Road, London: Arguably the most iconic cover shot location of them all, Abbey Road’s zebra crossing (situated outside Abbey Road studios in St John’s Wood) has become the go to spot of traffic-halting tourists re-enacting The Beatles’ walk ever since. Also, an amusing site to idle through Trip Advisor reviews of.
Eminem, ‘Marshall Mathers’ – 19446 Dresden St, Detroit: While you can still try and find the location of Eminem’s childhood home in Detroit, you won’t find much of the actual building left. Following reports that the house was listed for auction with a starting bid of $1 in the early part of 2013, the building then burnt down in a mystery blaze several months later.
Kiss, ‘Dressed to Kill’ – 23rd St & Eighth Avenue, New York: The cover shot of Kiss’ 1975 LP (the band’s third) is an unusual one, partly because of their formal attire and partly because of its average location. In case you were wondering, it’s on the southwest corner of 23rd Street and 8th Avenue, looking – and this bit’s important – north.
Nas, ‘Illmatic’ – 10th & 41st, Long Island: Taken outside a housing estate located at the intersection between 10th Street and 41st Ave in Long Island, the scene is superimposed with a picture of a seven year-old Nas staring out at us. It’s reportedly influenced by the sleeve art of ’74 jazz record ‘A Child IS Born’ and also references the rapper’s own Brooklyn upbringing.
Mumford & Sons, ‘Sigh No More’ – Pimpernel & Partners, King’s Road London: Well, you didn’t think Marcus and co would have shot their sleeve down a Walthamstow back alley, did you? Proving their ever-so-fancy credentials, a trip to recreate the ‘Sigh No More’ sleeve would lead you to posh furniture shop Pimpernel & Partners in Chelsea hotspot, the King’s Road. Naturally.
Beach Boys, ‘Surfin’ Safari’ – Paradise Cove, Malibu: Back in the early ’60s, bands were a literal bunch. Take the cover of ’62 offering ‘Surfin’ Safari’. What does it depict them doing? Heading on safari from a beach, of course! If you want to recreate the shot, then get yourself down to Paradise Cove in Malibu and pick up a yellow truck along the way.
LL Cool J, ‘Bigger & Deffer (Bad)’ – Andrew Jackson High School, Queens: Is there a bigger ‘fuck you’ to your former educational detractors than standing outside your high school on the cover of your Top Five record? Screw you, Mr. Davies – who says I won’t amount to anything now, eh?!
DJ Shadow, ‘Entroducing…’ – Records, 1618 Broadway, Sacramento CA: Shot in the basement of the Sacramento vinyl shop Records, the cover of ‘Entroducing…’ (depicting people rifling through piles of records) succinctly captured the inquisitive, pick’n’mix style genre-mashing of its contents.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, ‘Unknown Mortal Orchestra’ – Petrova Gora Monument, Croatia: For the cover of his debut, UMO’s Ruben Nielsen chose an unlikely image – Croatia’s Monument To The Uprising Of The People Of Kordun And Banija, built in 1982 to commemorate the World War II site. “It’s a visual equivalent of what I wanted people to hear when they listened to the album,” said Nielson.
Simon & Garfunkel, ‘Wednesday Morning, 3am’ – New York subway, Fifth & 53rd St, E/F lines: Considering the amount of subways in New York, you’d think Simon & Garfunkel would have just switched location upon realising that the background wall was clearly emblazoned with a big ‘ol F-bomb. Undeterred, they took hundreds of shots before finally settling on the one that would adorn the record.
Pink Floyd, ‘Animals’ – Battersea Power Station: While the location was suggested by vocalist Roger Waters, the most notable element of the cover is the inclusion of one of the band’s famous flying pigs sailing over the top of the building. Battersea Power Station was recently struck by a fire, but the building is currently being restored to its former glory.
Kendrick Lamar, ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ – The White House, Washington DC: You probably won’t have heard of this place, but trust us – in years to come, Washington DC’s White House will have a little place in history as the building that was once on the cover of Kendrick’s critically acclaimed third LP. We all get our 15 minutes of fame, eh.
Madness, ‘Absolutely’ – Chalk Farm Underground: Hailing from Camden, Madness went one step beyond (geddit?) the area into nearby Chalk Farm for the cover of their second LP. If you’ve ever stepped out of Chalk farm tube station en masse, then you’ve inadvertently recreated the sleeve already. Cool?
Black Sabbath, ‘Black Sabbath’ – Mapledurham Watermill: Though the image adorning Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut might look terrifying, it’s actually part of a pretty well known Oxfordshire heritage site that has its own rambling estate and hosts extravagant countryside events. So there you go.
Pink Floyd, ‘Wish You Were Here’ – Warner Bros Studio complex, California: The iconic image that adorns ‘Wish You Were Here’ was taken at Warner Bros. Studios in California, featuring the pretty dangerous effect of a man on fire. On the day, some unruly wind meant that the stunt flames burnt one of the actors’ very real moustache off, but still – the cover stands as one of music’s finest.
U2, ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ – Roissy Hall 2F, Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris: Taken by longterm collaborator (and the man behind stunning Ian Curtis biopic Closer) Anton Corbijn, the image for ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ finds U2 in the departure lounge of Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport. A visual translation of a universal hope that Bono will finally sod off.
The Clash, ‘The Clash’ – Camden Market: The alleyway in Camden Market that housed The Clash’s former rehearsal space dubbed, imaginatively, Rehearsal Rehearsals was where the cover of the band’s first LP was shot. Then-drummer Terry Chimes was absent, however, as he’s already decided to leave the band shortly after.
Jurassic 5, ‘Quality Control’ – San Vincente Blvd and La Brea Ave, LA: Taken next to a very, er… fetching tree stump at the junction between San Vincente Boulevard and La Brea Avenue in their native Los Angeles, Jurassic 5’s second album cover might not be the most glamorous of shoots but hey – they’re just keeping it real, yeah?
Wilco, ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ – Marina City Towers, Chicago: A little piece of hometown pride from the Chicago group, here. Marina City Towers – shot by photographer Sam Jones for the cover – is a residential and commercial block with an evidently striking design and an inevitably considerable renting price tag. The buildings themselves sit on the north bank of the Chicago River.
MGMT, ‘MGMT’ – Stylz Unlimited, Durham, New York State: Yell’s only review of NY hairdressers Stylz Unlimited: “I have been going to Michelle who is the owner for a while but each time I go she uses her cellphone all the time and overall her attitude is awful. I am glad to find a better place and will never return to her” – Elsie C. A glowing tip from MGMT then.