Saturday, 6 February 2010
This is an interesting development as it is an instance of the cover art being celebrated in its own right rather than in conjunction with the music contained on the record within. The 10 covers thought worthy of inclusion in the set are:
1. Rolling Stones/Let It Bleed (1969) - Designed by Robert Brownjohn (with cake created by the then unknown Delia Smith).
2. Led Zeppelin/’IV’ (1971) - The painting of the faggot-bearing old man was, it is said, found by singer Robert Plant in a Reading junk shop. For the cover it was nailed to a demolished house in Dudley.
3. David Bowie/The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972) - Designed by George Underwood with artwork by Terry Pastor.
4. Mike Oldfield/Tubular Bells (1973) – Designed by photographer Trevor Key
5. The Clash/London Calling (1979) - Ray Lowry designed the artwork around Pennie Smith’s iconic shot of bassist Paul Simonon.
6. New Order/Power, Corruption and Lies (1983) - Peter Saville’s design juxtaposed French impressionist Henri Fantin-Latour’s painting with a colour-coded strip.
7. Primal Scream/Screamadelica (1991) – Designed by Paul Cannell.
8. Pink Floyd/The Division Bell (1994) – Designed by long-time collaborator Storm Thorgerson.
9. Blur/Parklife (1994) - The racing greyhounds were captured by photographer Bob Thomas, and the sleeve designed by Chris Thomson and Rob O'Connor of London design firm Stylorouge.
10. Coldplay/A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002) - The work of Norwegian photographer Solve Sundsbo, and the result of medical imaging technology.
Predictably, 6 out of the 10 hail from the great era of the twelve inch record sleeve when cover art was displayed to its best advantage. Although the remaining four are memorable, they have that diminished CD jewelcase aura about them that somehow detracts from the effect. There is nothing quite like a ‘proper’ record sleeve. Twenty years after their final demise twelve inch sleeves suddenly seem overlarge and in-your-face – almost startlingly so. I have on the wall in my ‘music’ room (read: spare bedroom) some of those picture frames that you can display album covers in and change them around every few weeks. Each one holds great memories in its slightly garish glory.
Will CD inserts be revered like this in the future? Clearly four already have but generally I suspect not.