The Oxo Tower Wharf on London’s Southbank is currently holding an exhibition called ‘The Art Of The Album’, where you can view and purchase original photographic art from some of the most iconic album art sleeves. Click through the gallery for a preview of some of the pieces. This photograph by Michael Spencer Jones served as the cover for ‘Be Here Now’ by Oasis.
Norfolk-based illustrator Terry Pastor designed this cover for David Bowie’s ‘Hunky Dory’. Based on a black-and-white photograph taken by Brian Wood during one of Bowie’s cigarette breaks, Pastor then applied colour using photo-dyes with a DeVilbiss Super 93 airbrush. Bowie later commissioned the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ cover to be made using the same techniques.
Robert Fraser directed the famous album artwork for The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. Designed by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth and photographed by Michael Cooper, it was made using life-sized cardboard models of the band’s influences and heroes, though several people who were intended for inclusion never made it (including Elvis, Hitler and Jesus).
The cover for ‘Bummed’ by the Happy Mondays features a painting of frontman Shaun Ryder. Central Station Design said the image was made with “a combination of silk screen, oil and acrylic paint on canvas” and that “the reason for the tight crop on the sleeve was to make the image more ambiguous. We wanted to create a new visual identity.”
Storm Thorgerson produced this cover for Biffy Clyro’s ‘Only Revolutions’. “Flags play a strong revolutionary role,” he says. “Enormous flags for enormous music; enormous flags to represent the enormous inner feelings of couples in conflict, the subject of many of the songs. Huge flags make great shapes and literally wonderful sounds when flapping in the wind.”
Chris Gabrin says of Ian Drury’s ‘All New Boots And Panties’: “We started with some uninspiring shots outside his flat. He had his son with him. After Ian’s death in 2000, a tribute album was released. Peter Blake did a painting of Ian for the front cover and requested that we use my photo on the back of the sleeve. The subsequent artwork is both a tribute and a fond farewell from both of us.”
The album artwork for Peter Gabriel’s ‘Security’ comes from an experimental video directed by Malcolm Poynter, and features a distorted image of Peter. “My memory of this project, which was crucially pre-Photoshop, was us dragging around Flexi Mirrors and Fresnel Lenses, and some sculptures, and then having a very creative (if chaotic) time,” says Poynter.
The cover for Peter Gabriel’s ‘Scratch’ was taken in downtown New York by Peter Christopherson. “It was cold and snowy. Storm [Thorgerson] had the idea of the nails tearing away at the paper of the image.” This effect was achieved by gluing strips of torn paper to the image and then using Tippex to complete it.
Peter Gabriel’s ‘Melt’ by Storm Thorgerson was made using Krimsography (morphing Polaroid photographs before they developed). The results were then re-photographed with black and white film for the vinyl cover (yet this was the original image, of which Thorgerson says, “In later years we came to prefer it). Click here for more information on the exhibition.